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The Babies Have Cause to say, ‘Thanks!’

The long awaited FIRST INTERNATIONAL COPD/Patient CONFERENCE in Rome, Italy is over, but the results and benefits of the conference are bound to reach generations yet to be born.

Hosted by the Italian Ministry of Health, more than 100 delegates from around the world – the Who’s Who folks of the medical lung world and leading patient advocates were there in force to join the fourth GARD (Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases) annual General Meeting. Disease never stops at borders and for those who wonder, GARD officially began in Beijing, the Peoples Republic of China, March 2006.

“…a world where all PEOPLE can breathe FREELY.”

In part, last week-end’s meeting was an attempt to fit the GARD Action Plan for 2008 – 2013 into the same timeframe of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) plan to prevent and control noncommunicable diseases worldwide.

“Leading respiratory expert, Jean Bousquet, Professor of Pulmonary Medicine at the University of Montpellier and Chairman of WHO GARD: “The burden of allergy, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Europe and the rest of world is such that the cost of inaction is unacceptable and the WHO has recognized the enormous human suffering from chronic respiratory diseases, and are therefore making CRD one of its priorities between 2008-13.”

On a local note, no agency I know about, not Harrison Medical Center, nor our Kitsap County Health Department offers early detection Spirometry tests to the public. For a disease taking about twenty years to develop symptoms enough to take to the doctor, not to offer the test is unacceptable.

Left unchecked, by the slow twenty-year mark, most folks have already lost about fifty percent of their lungs. The cost of health care for respiratory patients is enormous over time and much, if not most such costs might be avoided with early detection.

The results of the fast Spirometry test will show if full Pulmonary Function Testing is needed.

I enjoy the TV COPD ads, but they give a false picture – no COPDer I know is out dancing, though early detection would allow such a thing.

Patients must take charge of their own health – speak up, ask the doctor about a Spirometry test if you have the slightest breathing concern.

A tip for smokers: Smoking indoor, in a confined area, forces your lungs to continue to inhale the toxins you just inhaled. Smoke if you must, but be smart about it.

If your spouse smokes inside, either move or divorce the spouse. He/she is helping destroy your lungs and life as well as their own.

More later…

Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD)
Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion
World Health Organization
20, Avenue Appia
CH-1211 Geneva 27
Tel: +41 22 791 3960/2578
Fax: +41 22 791 4769

6 thoughts on “The Babies Have Cause to say, ‘Thanks!’

  1. Spirometry tests sounds like an important step in an individuals wellness. Do you know why these tests are not offered locally? Does this test require expensive equipment?

  2. Julie Thanks for asking.

    The test is simply blowing into a tube – nothing fancy. I have three, each under $100.

    It is not definitive – all it does is indicate if further testing is needed. Trained technicians in hospitals or pulmonary medicine offices do expensive testing and the Pulmonary Function Testing. All teaching hospitals offer the service…in Washington that would be the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle – Spokane may well have facilities for testing over there.
    In Denver that would be National Jewish (leading pulmonary hospital in the US)

    Doctors are not agreed that Spirometry testing is beneficial…some going so far as to say that patients are not interested in doing what they must do to improve their life quality, or, in this case…if a person tested early for COPD and smoked, some doctors I’ve talked with do not believe the patient would not stop smoking to avoid further development of COPD.

    I disagree.

    No person, knowing what was ahead if they did not stop smoking would continue inhaling the poison. However, we cannot just ‘tell’ people – they need to SEE firsthand what is likely ahead for them. The Spirometry test gives them a chance to decide for themselves.

    In my view, the Spirometry test should be part of annual physicals.

    Edna Thanks for bringing up the American Lung Association. They do good work and I feel a special connection with the Seattle office. Their Trek Tri Island, three-day bike ride is an incredible experience and my contacts with the people and volunteers in that office have been stellar.
    Unfortunately, they do not offer Spirometry testing in my area or anywhere in the US. I just got off the phone with the main office and left a message for the Seattle office.

    Thanks to both of you for caring enough to take the time to respond.

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