New Lung Association Research: Millions More May Have COPD Than Previously Estimated



    Findings show deadly breathing disease remains seriously under-diagnosed

    OTTAWA, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - Startling research findings released today by The
Lung Association demonstrate that as many as three million Canadians may have
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Canada's fourth leading cause of
death. This is nearly double previous estimates and includes over one and a
half million (1.6 million) undiagnosed Canadians(1) and one and a half million
(1.5 million) who say they currently suffer from this chronic lung disease.
    The research also shows that the disease is highly prevalent among
younger Canadian baby boomers - one in seven Canadians aged 45 to 49 (375,000)
may have COPD.
    This research confirms recent global prevalence data published in The
Lancet which states "...evidence suggests that rates of disease (COPD) are
generally underestimated."(2)
    "Smoking is the number one cause of COPD and it is astounding that
millions of Canadians who may have COPD haven't been tested," said Dr. Anna
Day, Director of the Gender Asthma and COPD Program at Women's College
Hospital in Toronto. "It is essential that those who think they may have COPD
talk to their physician about spirometry, a breathing test for COPD."
    Updated COPD guidelines released in September by the Canadian Thoracic
Society (CTS), the medical section of The Lung Association, indicate that,
"Early diagnosis, when coupled with successful smoking cessation
interventions, will provide substantial long-term health benefits."
    A simple breathing test, called Spirometry, is used to diagnose COPD.
When this test is performed in the disease's early stages, outcomes of COPD
can be improved. Spirometry involves blowing into a tube to calculate the
amount of air the lungs can hold and the rate at which the air is expelled.

    
    November is COPD awareness month and The Lung Association is issuing two
calls to action to Canadians:

    1)  If you think you may be at risk for COPD, talk to your doctor about a
        spirometry test
    2)  Be informed about COPD. Visit www.lung.ca or call the COPD
        'BreathWorks' hotline 1-866-717-COPD (2673).
    

    "The statistics that show the large number of younger Canadian baby
boomers with this disease underscores the need to both educate Canadians and
advocate on behalf of current COPD patients," said Nora Sobolov President &
CEO of the Canadian Lung Association. "Current and former smokers who have yet
to get themselves tested for this disease, must take action - the devastating
impact of COPD must be taken seriously."
    Smoking is the main cause of COPD. Fifty-six per cent of all Canadian
adults are current or ex-smokers: nearly five million (4.9 million) who
currently smoke and nine and a half million ex-smokers. More men than woman
currently smoke (20 per cent versus 17 per cent, respectively)(3); however
women are catching up to men,(4) confirming projections that COPD is rapidly
becoming a serious women's health issue.

    About COPD

    COPD is a potentially devastating breathing disease that causes lung
damage and obstructs, or 'blocks' the airways. COPD is sometimes called
emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

    
    -   The main symptoms experienced by patients with COPD are shortness of
        breath and limitation of activity

    -   Symptoms progress slowly and may not be recognized or even passed off
        as due to being 'just out of shape' or 'just getting older'.

    -   Symptoms are often severe before they are acknowledged. Once symptoms
        are recognized the disease may be well advanced

    -   COPD is primarily caused by smoking. A small percentage of COPD
        patients have the disease due to other factors

    -   COPD does have treatment options that can improve the quality of
        people's lives
    

    COPD awareness still very low

    The research demonstrated that COPD awareness among Canadians continues
to be low. Only fifty-nine per cent of Canadians have heard of Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and only thirty-three per cent have heard of the
acronym COPD - the more common way to refer to the disease. Compared to other
major causes of death in Canada such as cancer or heart attack or stroke,
awareness remains far too low.

    About the Report

    November is COPD awareness month. For the third successive year, The Lung
Association in collaboration with the CTS and Canadian Respiratory Health
Professionals and supported through an unrestricted educational grant from
Boehringer Ingelheim Canada Ltd. and Pfizer Canada Inc., is releasing new COPD
research results.
    Leger Marketing conducted this study via 1,500 online surveys and 500
telephone interviews. The margin of error for a sample of this size is
+/-2.1%, 19 times out of 20.

    The Lung Association

    For more than 100 years, The Lung Association has been the voice and
primary resource for lung health in Canada. The Lung Association was first
established to control the spread of tuberculosis and provide better services
for tuberculosis patients. Today, it leads national and international
initiatives that improve lung health through research, prevention, and
education.

    Canadian Thoracic Society

    The CTS is the medical section of The Lung Association. It advises the
Association on scientific matters and programs, including policies regarding
support for research and education. The CTS provides a forum whereby medical
practitioners and investigators may join in the study of lung diseases,
develop clinical practice guidelines based on best science, and provide
continuing education to medical and healthcare professionals.
    The CTS aims to maintain the highest professional and scientific
standards in all aspects of respiratory diseases through leadership,
education, research and communication.

    Canadian Respiratory Health Professionals

    The Canadian Respiratory Health Professionals (CRHP) is a
multidisciplinary group of health professionals which includes nurses,
physical therapists, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and other
professionals devoted to promoting a high quality of respiratory care by
advancing respiratory education, practice and research. CRHP advises the Lung
Association on scientific programs, research, and public education.

    The full report is available at www.lung.ca and a b-roll will be released
at 1:00 PM Tuesday, November 20, 2007. The coordinates for the b-roll are:

    
    DATE OF FEED:      Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    TIME OF FEED:      1:00 PM - 1:30 PM ET

    CO ORDINATES:      Anik F2 C

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                       Audio subcarrier 6.2 and 6.8

                       Downlink frequency 3980 vertical


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    For further information about COPD individuals can call The Lung
Association's COPD hotline at 1-866-717-COPD (2673).

    
    --------------------------------
    (1) Undiagnosed COPD patients were identified according to standardized
        disease predictors endorsed by Canadian physicians and the Lung
        Association known as the Lung Health Test (available at www.lung.ca).
    (2) SA Buist, M McBurnie, W Vollmer, et al. International variation in
        the prevalence of COPD (The BOLD Study): a population-based
        prevalence study. The Lancet September 2007; Vol 307.
    (3) Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-
        vs/tobac-tabac/research-recherche/stat/ctums-esutc/2006/index_e.html
        Accessed October 22, 2007
    (4) Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-
        vs/tobac-tabac/research-recherche/stat/ctums-esutc/index_e.html
        accessed October 22, 2007
    





For further information:

For further information: Kate Morrison, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, (416)
645-8201, kate.morrison@fleishman.ca; Nicholas Schulz, Fleishman-Hillard
Canada, (416) 598-5799, nicholas.schulz@fleishman.ca

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THE CANADIAN LUNG ASSOCIATION

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