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: Take me out to the ball game tobacco free

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Batting tobacco out of the park

It’s the opening week of major league baseball in the United States and in Canada’s biggest city — the home of the Toronto Blue Jays.

This season is a little different as a handful of baseball cities are coming together to fight tobacco. That movement is creating steam in New York City where its mayor, Bill De Blasio,  signed a bill Wednesday (April 6, 2015) that bans the use of smokeless tobacco products at all ticketed baseball stadiums, sports arenas, and recreation areas.

Similar bans have already been put in place at ball parks in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston.

This has been the result of a campaign that the American Lung Association partnered in, called Knock Tobacco Out of the Park. The campaign was created to make sure sights of seeing players stuff large wads of tobacco into their mouths becomes a thing of the past.

The American Lung Association says MLB players have a major effect on whether kids — especially young boys — start using smokeless tobacco.

Acbaseball-game-1316732-639x852cording to a a September 2015 report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, high school athletes are using smokeless tobacco at close to half the rate of non-athletes. Smokeless tobacco rates among high school athletes also jumped by more than 11 per cent from 2001 to 2013. And the report shows that smokeless tobacco rates among high school athletes are alarming high at 17.3 per cent in 2013.

The American Lung Association cites that smokeless tobacco — which has dangerous risks to health, including oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer — is being marketed to children. Roughly $503.2 million is being spent by smokeless tobacco companies to market their products.

Asthma inhalers celebrate 60th anniversary

The Guardian: Asthma Inhalers Celebrate 60th Anniversary With Debate on Over-Prescription, published April 8, 2015

asthma-inhaler-1419833-639x424The Guardian has helped remind us that an inhaler, an important tool to help those with asthma manage their symptoms, is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Report Harpon Siddique take a look at how the inhaler has  been credited for saving the lives of millions of people, and how a debate is surfacing on how the inhaler has been, in his words, “in a sense, a victim of its own success.”

The entire story is an interesting look into the inhalers that have been around since 1956. Let us know what you think? Do you have a story about how your inhaler helped you? Send us an email.

 

 

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: What happens during a hiccup?

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Have you ever wondered what happens when you have the hiccups?

The American Lung Association, HEADLINE: Inconvenient hiccups, published March 17, 2016

Your diaphragm is an important muscle. It helps with your breathing by expanding and contracting your chest and that movement draws air into your lungs.

And, as our friends at the American Lung Association points out, we don’t really think about how awesome the diaphragm really is when you’re having a bad case of the hiccups.

A hiccup happens when the diaphragm spasms — it snaps your vocal cords causing that squeaky hiccup sound.

Check out the post from the American Lung Association’s blog to learn more about hiccups.

In the meantime, check out how challenging it is for this young seven-year-old who is trying to battle through a bad case of the hiccups while singing Australia’s national anthem. It took our breath away watching this.

For sale: bags of fresh air in China to fight pollution problem

The Mirror, HEADLINE: Bags of fresh air on sale in China to combat pollution problem, published March 26, 2016. 

hazy-day-in-beijing-1536906-640x480Remember that hairy-nose-filled PSA we shared on this blog, which was about reminding people in China to take action against air pollution because “it changes you.”

It seems air pollution in China has already changed some business opportunities for those vendors who cater to tourists looking to escape their smog-filled cities.

Vendors are selling bags of air at touristy hiking locations in China’s mountain parks. The bags of mountain air can then be taken home to enjoy or to be used straight away.

Small bags for sale for $1.88 CDN each and large bags for  sale for $5.63 CDN sometimes come with flower pedals to make the air “more pleasant” in the bag.

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: A need for lung cancer research

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Tributes pour in after loss of legendary father

with_parents2CBC NEWS; Terry Fox’s father, Rolly, dies following battle with lung cancer, posted March 9, 2016 

It has been an incredibly sad week here at The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT — especially after Terry MacInnes lost his battle with his severe lung health condition March 3.

The entire country, us included, is also mourning the loss of Rolly Fox, the father of Terry Fox. Rolly died Tuesday, March 8 “while listening to a little Hank Williams,” according to his family through a statement posted on the Terry Fox Foundation’s website.

“We have witnessed once again the pain cancer causes but we know, oh how we know, that we are not alone,” said the family in the statement.

“We have seen first hand the opportunities to extend life because of our nation’s collective belief and investment in cancer research, yet have been forced to accept that they were not available to Dad/Grandpa.”

With further investment in critically underfunded lung cancer‬ research, we hope that some day announcements like these become a thing of the past.

A radioactive study into radioactive elements

BBC World Service, Elements: The Radio Actives, Published March 9, 2016

Radon Kit Photo

A radon test kit, like this one, can be purchased at http://radonaware.accustarcanada.com.

The BBC World Service’s Business Daily has taken a closer look into a trio of radioactive elements, like uranium, and studies how those elements were once used commercially in the 20th century.

The documentary also looks at what residents in Finland are doing to curb radon levels — a radioactive gas that is the second-leading cause of lung cancer.

When you give it a listen, it is a reminder as to why we encourage home and building owners to test for radon during the winter months.

Download the MP3 file as a podcast to your MP3 device or smartphone from the BBC World Service.

River of trash causing lung health problems in Beirut

The National Post, ER doctors see spike in respiratory illnesses, published March 8

landfill-1543880-639x428.jpgLebanon is in the midst of a trash collection crisis and it is causing alarming problems for emergency room doctors in that country.

The crisis began eight months ago when government officials in Beirut closed down a landfill without providing an alternative.

The city of Beirut is mostly garbage free, but the trash is being hauled to the city’s outskirts, where piles upon piles of trash are seen along the roadside and the banks of the Beirut River.

According to the Association Press, patients coping with serious lung conditions are filling hospitals in Beirut because of burning garbage.

—JC—

 

Meet Calgary’s Catherine Bedford, Alberta’s 61st double-lung transplant patient in 2015

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Catherine Bedford is a 50-year-old resident from Calgary currently recovering from a double-lung transplant she received in December 2015.

Catherine Bedford, a 50-year-old Calgary resident, has been through quite a journey in 2015.

As surgeons in Edmonton’s University Hospital performed a record-shattering 61 lung transplant operations in 2015, Bedford was the last person to receive the life-saving surgery during that extremely busy year.

“I can do whatever I want now — I’ve got my life back,” said Bedford, a former dental hygenist who had to leave her position because of her illness.

“It is so important to sign that donor card and talk about it with your families.”

Bedford first discovered something was wrong with her health during her early 30s when she was unable to do common chores, like shovelling sidewalks. And as someone who was physically fit, she could no longer jog.

‘Problems breathing’

“I just noticed that exertion just gave me problems breathing,” she said during an interview with The Lung Association March 2.

Bedford had two close calls while giving birth to her two children. When she was 32, she gave birth to a 10-week premature baby boy who, she said, “came out blue” because of a lack of oxygen from her lung health condition that wasn’t diagnosed by doctors.

Then, at 33, Bedford gave birth to a tiny, low-weight baby — the result of a lack of oxygen in her body. That is when doctors realized something was wrong.

“I was diagnosed when (my children) were four and five-years-old,” she said.

Doctors discovered that Bedford had Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic form of emphysema.

From the age of 38, right through to her operation in 2015, Bedford had to be on oxygen, carrying large bottles with her 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Doctors also added her to a transplant list when she was 48 when her condition became worse.

Breathing_icon1The whole process was a journey for Bedford, as she was once taken off the list because she had resistant bacteria in her lungs. Doctors then gave her antibiotics for four months to fight the bacteria.

Once she was added back to the list on Dec. 9, 2015, Bedford says she received “the phone call” 20 days later.

Nerves rattled after phone call

That was a nerve-racking experience for Bedford who need medication and an ambulance ride because of an anxiety attack — something that is quite common for transplant patients when they get “the call.”

“The whole process was pretty quick,” said Bedford who also supports The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT every year with Christmas Seals and its other direct mail campaigns.

“You have to help out because it is so important to give to research.”

A long journey

Bedford, who is still getting treated in Edmonton to ensure her body doesn’t reject her new lungs, says she now has a new lease on life. She can now run on the treadmill — something she hasn’t done since her early 20s — along with playing sports she loves like slo-pitch, swimming, and water-polo.

As her recovery from surgery continues, Bedford hopes to meet the family of the person who gave her new set of lungs.

“I would like to say thank you — there is no gift better than the gift of life,” said Bedford.

“I am in the middle of writing a thank you card. It’s unfortunate that one has to pass on to save another person’s life, but that’s the organ donation cycle.”

Bedford now has a taste for adventure as she wants to go travelling with her family, along with horseback riding and skiing.

“I just want to do all of these things that I haven’t been able to do in a long time,” she said.

“It has been a long journey.”

—JC—

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: Fighting air pollution in China

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Change air pollution before it changes you: PSA from China

 

Air pollution in China has been dangerous in recent weeks.

All 366 cities in China — including Beijing — failed to meet World Health Organization air quality standards in 2015. The survey also shows that more than 90 per cent of residents in China are concerned about air pollution.

Obviously, air pollution in China is unavoidable, but in order to get people to take action against air pollution, WildAid‘s GOBlue campaign created an interesting PSA that speculates what residents might do to cope with the dirty air.

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 8.39.40 AMFrom its press release, “‘Hairy Nose’ is an eye-catching and thought-provoking concept that projects the issue of air pollution into the distant future. In this world, nose hair has evolved to filter pollution and has led to activities, fashion and culture centered on the now prominent facial features. In the face of this, one man refuses to accept the pollution and shaves his nose hair in defiance. The message for current urban residents is clear: Change air pollution before it changes you.”

A very important message in China, especially since lung cancer deaths have risen by 465 per cent over the last 30 years.

What is it like living in Beijing?

CBC News: A Montrealer experiences Beijing’s notorious air pollution: Published March 3, 2016

hazy-day-in-beijing-1536906-640x480CBC News caught up with a former Montreal resident who now lives in Beijing. He shared about what life is like in a city that has once reached 423 in Beijing’s air quality index — a scale that is out of 500.

Elvis Anber says on days when it is really bad, he can’t see anything outside his apartment window. Residents in China also check out the air quality as much as they check out the weather reports, he says.

He also raises a very interesting point.

“To let in that fresh air, that’s something we take for granted in Canada,” Anber said to CBC News.

“Maybe when it’s about 100 or below, you can open up the window to let in some fresh air. You really shouldn’t be out when the pollution is this high, especially over prolonged periods of time.”

Pack a mask after an apocalypse to help you breathe: American Lung Association

American Lung Association: Forget the Post-Apocalyptic Setting Killing You – What About the Dust? Published Feb. 24, 2016

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© 2015 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

Mad Max: Fury Road cleaned up the 88th Academy Awards last Sunday night by winning the most Oscars with six.

And before movie director George Miller walked on the red carpet that night, our friends at The American Lung Association asked is why those who create post-apocoliptic stories and movies don’t consider risks to lung health.

“Naturally with any scenario like post end-of-the-world, we assume natural resources such as water and gas will be scarce and probably rationed out by a power hungry warlord,” it wrote in this interesting post in its blog.

“What many people probably don’t consider are the risks to lung health. After all, humans need to breathe to survive.”

This is a must read for all lung health fans! And if the world ends, make sure you pack a mask to help you fight through sandstorms.

—JC—

 

Donors, surgeons saved 61 lung transplant patients in Alberta

Organ donationWhat a breath-taking feat.

University of Alberta hospital surgeons — and those who committed to organ donations — saved the lives of 61 patients who were in need of a lung transplant in 2015.

Surgeons performed 61 lung transplants in 2015, smashing the old record of 44 set in 2014. Of those 61 lung transplants, 47 organs were from Alberta donors.

That is on top of the record that was broken by the same staff in liver transplant surgeries. Surgeons performed 83 of those surgeries in 2015 — eclipsing the previous record of 80 set in 2007.

Of course, none of those surgeries would be possible without the gift from living and deceased donors, says Dr. Norman Kneteman, Zone Clinical Section Chief for Transplant Services with Alberta Health Services (AHS).

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Tim Penstone, a double-lung transplant recipient in Edmonton, talks to reporters Feb. 25, 2016 at the University of Alberta hospital about his surgery and how it changed his life.

“These record were made possible thanks to an exemption team, including donor co-ordinators, intensive care staff, nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians, surgeons and staff,” said Kneteman in a press release.

“They care for both organ donors and organ recipients at this site and work tirelessly to support our transplant program.”

All lung and liver transplants are performed at Edmonton’s University of Alberta hospital, along with the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, and the Stollery Children’s Hospital. The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT is also continuing to fund research to help lung transplant patients.

Tim Penstone, a double-lung transplant recipient and an active volunteer with The Lung Association, says his life-saving surgery changed his life.

“I owe my life to my donor,” said Penstone, who took part in a media conference with AHS celebrating the milestone Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016.

Penstone was on a wait list for a lung transplant for four months until he received the call to get a transplant. Since the surgery, his life has improved immensely. He no longer has to carry oxygen with him 24 hours a day and he is back to running his own soil-management company.

“Without a lung transplant, I may not be here today,” said Penstone.

THE NEED IS STILL GREAT

Despite the milestone, however, The Lung Association and AHS urges Albertans to talk to their families and commit to organ and tissue donation as the need still remains high. Alberta has one of the lowest organ and tissue donor rates in the country, according to AHS.

Some who are waiting for a transplant “continue to die” because a suitable donor was not made available, said Kneteman.

“The need for organs is constant,” said Kneteman.

Once deceased organ donor could provide life-saving treatment for seven people, according to AHS

In order to encourage others to commit to organ donation, the provincial government launched the online organ and tissue registry in 2014.

Albertans can also commit to organ and tissue donation at their local registry agent when they to renew their driver’s licenses or other forms of legal ID.

—JC—