TORONTO, Aug. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, the Ontario Lung Association is launching the 2012 COPD Lungevity Tour featuring COPD Ambassadors Brenda Cunningham and Bruce Eyre as they cross the province on their motorcycle, driving awareness into communities across Ontario. Both Brenda and Bruce are living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and although Brenda's disease has progressed to require around the clock oxygen therapy, they are still hitting the road to share their story of hope and inspiration.
The COPD Lungevity Tour, supported by Presenting Sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. and Tour Sponsor Medigas, starts in Burlington and will cross the province until September 14, when Brenda and Bruce make their final stop in Toronto. Their goal is to raise much needed awareness as well as inspire others with COPD to live life to the fullest, and to encourage those at risk to seek early diagnosis.
"Living with COPD can be challenging. Small things we take for granted, like bending down to tie a shoelace or climbing a short flight of stairs can leave you breathless," says Brenda Cunningham, COPD Ambassador. "But when caught early and managed properly, you can live a full and active life with COPD."
COPD is a major respiratory illness in Ontario that is often misunderstood and under diagnosed. There are currently 780,000 Ontarians living with COPD, but it is estimated that an equal number may remain undiagnosed. COPD is a progressive disease that leads to deteriorating lung function and impacts a person's ability to breathe. Unfortunately, awareness about the disease, its symptoms and diagnostic testing remains low. Most Ontarians don't know what COPD is and fewer know what a spirometry test is.
"Most individuals with COPD are not diagnosed until the disease is well advanced," says George Habib, president and CEO of the Ontario Lung Association. "Yet a simple breathing test, called spirometry, that can be done at a physician's office or clinic can help diagnose this breath-taking disease. With early diagnosis and treatment, COPD can be managed so patients can breathe easier and enjoy more of life."
Who should get tested with spirometry?
The Canadian Thoracic Society COPD Guidelines recommend that a spirometry test be undertaken for all current and former smokers, 40 years of age and older, who show respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough with or without phlegm, wheezing, frequent long-lasting colds, and difficulty with regular activities like walking.
For people with COPD, flare-ups or exacerbations can be brought on by something as simple as a common cold, change in weather or poor air quality. If a person is already diagnosed with COPD they should speak to their doctor about how to reduce these flare-ups and gain better management of their disease.
To learn more about Brenda and Bruce, to follow them on the 2012 COPD Lungevity Tour and for a full list of stops, visit www.on.lung.ca/lungevity. Tour updates will be tweeted in real time using hasthtag #LungevityTour on the @ontariolung account. Brenda and Bruce are proud members of Breathers United, a movement sparked by the Ontario Lung Health Alliance's work to ensure that lung health becomes a government priority in Ontario.
About the Ontario Lung Association
The Lung Association is a registered charity that provides information, education and funding for research to improve lung health. It focuses on the prevention and control of asthma, chronic lung disease, tobacco control as well as healthy air and the effects of pollution on lung health. For information on lung health, call its Lung Health Information Line at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864), which is staffed by certified respiratory educators, or visit www.on.lung.ca. You can also follow it on Twitter @OntarioLung and Facebook.
Image with caption: "ONTARIO LUNG ASSOCIATION 2012 COPD LUNGEVITY TOUR: BRUCE AND BREND'S DRIVE ACROSS THE PROVINCE TO RAISE AWARENESS FOR COPD (CNW Group/Ontario Lung Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120816_C7244_PHOTO_EN_16902.jpg
SOURCE: Ontario Lung Association
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