WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: Protecting Young Canadians from the Harmful Effects of Cannibas

Toronto Star HEADLINE: We must warn young people that cannabis will damage their lungs; Published November 23, 2017

With less than 8 months counting until marijuana is legalized in Canada, more than half of Canadians 18-24 say they will try smoking this soon-to-be-legal psychoactive drug and our governments need to be preparedUntitled design (3) to properly educate them and make them aware of all the risks they can potentially face.

Canada’s young adults must be able to make an informed decision, as many already believe smoking pot is a low-risk activity. It is now, more than ever, the responsibility of the government to ensure they have that information in hand.

Cannabis smoking has been linked to a greater incidence of aggravation of asthma, chest tightness and shortness of breath. It can increase your risk of lung cancer, as it contains more than 450 chemicals, including many carcinogens. Read more…

Breathing Space – Our Vision for a Lung Transplant Recovery House

Breathing Space A Lung Health & Recovery HouseWatch CTV Alberta Primetime‘s Michael Higgins sit down with our Chief Operations Officer, Nina Snyder to discuss plans for Canada’s first and only lung transplant recovery house in Edmonton.

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: Calgary Researchers Campaign to Detect and Mitigate Radon Exposure

CTV News HEADLINE: U of C researchers launch campaign to “evict radon” from Alberta; Published November 14, 2017

University of Calgary researchers are encouraging all Albertans to test Radon levels in their homes. Radon is a radioactive gas commonly occuring in Western Canada which can pose serious health risks with frequent exposure at high levels. radon

Radon seeps up from the ground and can pass through porous materials, such as concrete foundations. Radon kits can be purchased online and placed in the lowest lived in area of your home to test for Radon. After about 90 days, tests are sent to the lab for evaluation.

Health Canada recommends radon levels found over 200 in the home be remediated to reduce the risk of lung cancer from radon exposure.

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WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: Turning lemons into lemonade

Here’s a reminder for those who are new to reading this blog. “What We’re Reading This Week” (WWETW) is a weekly feature to give our supporters, volunteers and fans of lung health a review of the stories that we are reading this week.

Have you read something that’s worth sharing? Let us know about it by sending us an email.

Duped Volkswagen owner gives to Lung Association

Toshiba Digital Camera

Talk about turning lemons into lemonade. Dr. Mary Graham is giving the credit she earned from Volkswagen to our friends at the BC Lung Association as a result of a scandal that has hounded the German car manufacturer.

Thousands of vehicle owners across Canada — including Graham — were in the crossfire Volkswagen’s recent scandal.  The company admitted to using engine software that shut down its emissions controls when its vehicles were not being tested.

That improved performance and mileage, but meant the vehicles spewed far more than the legal limit of pollutants.

In an effort to help win back its customers, Volkswagen has offered a credit package to Canadian owners — a credit card loaded with $500, a further $500 for use at Volkswagen dealerships and three years of roadside assistance.

Graham — a who owns a late-model station wagon from Volkswagen  — donated her credit to the BC Lung Association after feeling betrayed by the car company.

Check out the rest of the story here.

Yoga is a good workout, especially for asthma patients, suggests study

Metro News Canada, Published April 28, HEADLINE: Yoga could reduce asthma symptoms, study finds

Namaste.

Yoga has a lot of benefits. It’s not only good for your mental health, but it’s also a healthy way to keep your lungs healthy and active.

yoga-relax-1556603-640x650Researchers, as part of a a global study looking into the effects of asthma, say they’ve found a regular practise of the exercise can help asthma patients.

However, health professionals say it is still important for patients to continue using their prescribed treatments to help them maintain their respiratory health.

Yoga is a great way to exercise and there are so many benefits as it promotes breathing, particularly through the nose. That in turn helps you relax as you stretch your muscles to soothing, calming music.

According to the Yoga Journal, there are 38 health benefits of yoga.

Just a reminder, World Asthma Day is on Tuesday, May 3 this year.

 

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: Getting down to business on air pollution

Provincial government targets air pollution in central Alberta

Jeff's leg photoHappy Earth Day! Here’s a timely story we are reading this week:

After Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips announced that Red Deer is on track to have one of the worst air pollution levels in the province last September, the government announced plans this week to change that trend in central Alberta.

Between 2009 and 2013, ambient air quality in the Red Deer region exceeded Canadian standards for fine particulate matter. Government officials say this week the plan would help bring ambient air quality in compliance with national standards.

“Our government is committed to reducing the amount of air pollution across the province and we are taking steps that will improve air quality which is vital to the health of all Albertans,” said Phillips in a press release.

One of the major contributors to the air pollution is burning coal, which is harmful to heath and, according to the government, costs hundreds of millions of dollars to Alberta’s health care system.

The government says in a press release that “decisive steps” are being taken to improve air quality in central Alberta. The plan, which is multi-layered and involves work developed by area stakeholders, builds on and complements local efforts, says government officials.

To ensure those levels reach compliance standards, Alberta’s government gave the Parkland Airshed Management Zone a $250,000-grant to help with a new air monitoring station in Red Deer.

Another $560,000 will be spent to help a current air monitoring station offer more, in-depth particular matter monitoring for central Alberta — something that will result in a more accurate identification of pollution sources.

The Alberta Motor Association has already made steps to educate drivers to reduce idling and the City of Red Deer has already made steps by encouraging people to take transit or ride a bicycle.

These are all steps in the right direction.

Air quality is the biggest challenge facing China, panel hears

forbidden-pollution-1245100-639x426Here’s an interesting story from the Edmonton Journal: A panel discussion at the University of Alberta this week found why issues of air quality in China is far more important than its economy and energy.

The air quality issues are also hitting China’s middle-class hard in their pocketbooks as they are spending roughly $187 million US during each smoggy day to by face-masks.

Junjie Zhang, an associate professor in the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego, says as China’s economy continues to struggle, people who are moving out of the country are not leaving to find better prosperous futures elsewhere. They are leaving to breathe cleaner air elsewhere.

“Air pollution is the major concern,” quoted Zhang in the Edmonton Journal. “It’s one of the many reasons why many Chinese come to Canada and southern California.”

Top 10 ways you can prevent lung disease

It’s true what they say, prevention is always the best medicine. The same can be said with the health of your lungs. We have created Lungs gifa list of 10 ways you can help prevent lung disease:

10. Make a difference. Protect your family by encouraging exercise, eating right and keeping your home free of respiratory triggers. Help spread the word to those around you to increase awareness about lung health. Every day, you can make a difference.

9. Start small. Your best bet for preventing lung disease is by helping children grow up smoke free and by modelling that behaviour. The Lung Association works with government and other organizations to ensure communities are smoke-free. Call us at 1-888-566-LUNG (5864) for free information on the dangers caused by tobacco.

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Supplied photo from FreeImages.com

8. There are more than 300 substances in the workplace known to cause occupational asthma. Know the symptoms of asthma and monitor to see if they appear while at work. Talk to your doctor about workplace risks.

7. Test your home for radon. It’s simple and inexpensive. This coulourless, odourless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer, yet you can easily prevent it from getting into your home. Visit www.YourHealthyHome.ca for more information on how to keep the air in your home healthy.

6. Get involved! Air pollution worsens lung disease and can be divesting for all Canadians, especially for those with chronic lung conditions. Join in the fight for clean air by reducing pollution and supporting clean air laws.

5. Prevent air pollution. Help keep the air in your community clean. Drive less, don’t idle your vehicle, and avoid burning wood, leaves or trash.

4. Know the symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath. Call the Lung Association at 1-888-566-LUNG (5864) and speak to one of our certified respiratory educators if you suspect you or a loved one has asthma. We can help you learn how to get it under control.

3. Recognize the warning signs of lung disease. Chronic cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing blood, chronic mucus production and chronic fatigue are not normal. See your doctor or other health provider for prompt attention.

2. Avoid lung hazards. Protect yourself from air pollution indoors and outdoors. Don’t allow anyone to smoke in your home. Visit www.YourHealthyHome.ca for more tips.

1. Don’t smoke. If you smoke, plan to quit. Call The Lung Association at 1-888-566-LUNG (5864) for the help you need to quit for good. You can also visit www.lung.ca.

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: Spring is here, but so is allergy season

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Don’t fear allergies this spring

dandelion-1187504-638x477Spring is finally here. As this weekend is expected to have warm temperatures and sunny conditions across most parts of Alberta, it’s the perfect time to go outside and enjoy the outdoors.

However, it’s also the start of the season for allergies and asthma triggers.

As the American Lung Association points out, pollen is perhaps the most obvious springtime and allergy offender, and up here in Alberta, you can also count winter mould.

You can avoid being forced to do a Netflix marathon during a sunny weekend by following these steps:

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The American Lung Association also suggests doing yard work and gardening in the evening when pollen counts are usually at its lowest. Keep in mind, fertilizers and freshly cut grass can worsen asthma symptoms. It suggests if you do those outdoor chores consider wearing a partial mask — available at most hardware stores — to avoid breathing in those tiny particles.

Is asthma over-diagnosed?

CBC, HEADLINE: Asthma diagnosis ‘trivialized,’ fuels overdiagnosis, doctors say; Published April 15, 2016.

asthma-inhaler-1419833-639x424Here’s another reason why it is so important to support medical research funding when it comes to lung illnesses like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

As mentioned in last week’s “What We’re Reading This Week” (WWETW) post, British researchers and medical professionals are debating whether or not inhalers are being over-prescribed. Some medical researchers on one side of the conversation say inhalers have become somewhat of “a fashion accessory.”

Now that debate has reached Canada. Dr. Shawn Aaron, a respirologist from Ottawa Hospital, says more than 30 per cent of Canadians diagnosed with asthma don’t in fact have it.

His comments are based on his own research published in 2010. His research involved studies on roughly 500 adults.

However, inhalers — as mentioned in the previous WWETW post — have been credited for saving the lives for millions of people worldwide since is was first created 60 years ago.
With more funding for medical research, health professionals may be able to solve this dilemma soon.

Check out a joint position statement released by the Canadian Thoracic Society and the Canadian Paediatric Society last year on the diagnosis and management of asthma in preschoolers.

—JC—