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.

lungs

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.

Central Alberta rodeo community rallies together to raise funds for COPD research

 

A group of local barrel racers have helped raise $6,500 for lung health research to remember a passionate rodeo volunteer who gave so much to the sport.

Lyle Norn, a volunteer at Ponoka Stampede grounds, died in February from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at the age of 67.

Lyle Norn

Lyle Norn

In order to remember the well-like volunteer, his granddaughter and a few of her friends and family started a barrel racing series to raise funds for The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT (“TLA”).

The group held the first ever Lyle Norn Memorial Barrel Race Series race on May 14 and held the event every Wednesday at in Ponoka for six straight weeks.

Money raised through door prizes and concession sales during each race will help pay for vital research programs that could help find a cure or a new treatment for lung diseases like COPD — an illness that has killed more Canadian women than breast cancer since 2009.

“During our races, he was always there to help — he was always our tractor guy (during every barrel race). He would drop anything to come and help you,” said Norn’s granddaughter, Kaylee Jo Henkelman, a barrel racer in Ponoka.

“He was such a family man and he supported young kids who were all involved in the rodeo.”

Shayna Dodds, another organizer for the event, says barrel racers in the community wanted to also raise awareness about COPD.

“So many people here came together to honour a man so lived and recognized both in the rodeo community and here in his hometown,” said Dodds.

Henkleman says the local barrel racing community will make the Lyle Norn Memorial Barrel Racing Series an annual tradition every spring.

“We are so thankful for the local barrel racing community to raise these funds that will be used to help advance research into lung disease because we are all powered by breathing,” said Kathleen Badry, TLA’s development coordinator.

“This is such a great tribute to a beloved grandfather who gave so much to central Alberta’s rodeo community.”

Looking for ways to raise money for important lung health research programs or support programs offered by TLA? Click here to learn more about how you can hold your own fundraiser in your community?

Are you ‘powered by breathing?’ Tour continues across the province of Alberta

After touring a handful of communities and cities across the province, we have already heard from you, our supporters and patients, on what you would do if you could breathe better.

The following is a handful of those tweets!:

We have had a busy few months offering free breathing tests to hundreds of Albertans in communities — including Lethbridge, Camrose, and Fort McMurray. The tour is all part of The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT’s (“TLA”) Powered By Breathing campaign — sponsored by Nicorette and Nicoderm.

TLA was also in the small, central-Alberta town of Tofield this summer as dozens of volunteer firefighters helped raise money for important research and support programs offered by TLA.

Check out these tweets from those communities that we visited!:

The Powered By Breathing campaign is still far from over. TLA is still hoping to screen 75,000 Albertans this year for early diagnosis of lung illnesses — like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Early detection is important as doctors can use better treatments to reduce symptoms as well as preventing the illness from getting any worse. More Canadian women have died from COPD than breast cancer since 2009, according to figures from Statistics Canada. COPD is also the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.

You can find TLA staff and volunteers at the Women’s Show in Edmonton Oct. 18 and 19 at the Edmonton Expo Centre or the Women’s Show in Calgary on Oct. 25 and 26 at BMO Centre in Stampede Park.

For residents in Lethbridge, you can also find us at the Alberta Sleep Forum at the Lethbridge Lodge Hotel & Conference Centre on Oct. 22.

Tell us what you would do if you could breathe better? Leave a comment below this post!

Support group needed to help patients with lung disease in Wood Buffalo region

Cindy Petipas, a 57-year-old on a list for a double-lung transplant, doesn’t want other patients like her to feel like they are all alone.

Cindy Petipas

Cindy Petipas

Petipas, who was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 2006, believes patients like her are in need of a patient support group to share information and learn from other patients’ experiences.

“I need something like this and I know Fort McMurray needs something like this,” said Petipas. “A patient support group is a wonderful thing that should be here.”

The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT (“TLA”) is looking for others like Petipas to kick-start a patient support group in the Wood Buffalo region, along with encouraging residents to take a simple breathing test during the Fort McMurray Fall Show & Market this weekend. It’s all part of TLA’s Powered By Breathing campaign generously supported by Nicorette and Nicoderm.

Petipas says a support group would help her share their experiences with other patients “so others don’t feel like they are all alone.”

“People who don’t know about this illness — or don’t have this illness — don’t understand what you are going through,” said Petipas.

This year TLA is celebrating its 75th anniversary with its Powered By Breathing campaign. The campaign hopes to screen 75,000 Albertans for early diagnosis of lung illnesses –– like COPD. Early detection is important as doctors can use better treatments to reduce symptoms as well as preventing the illness from getting any worse. More Canadian women have died from COPD than breast cancer since 2009, according to figures from Statistics Canada. COPD is also the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.

Volunteers with TLA during the Fall Show and Market will also ask residents “what they would do if they could breathe better” to spread awareness about lung disease as part of the campaign.

Since 1939, TLA has been the primary information source for lung health. The organization continues to raise funds for critical research and patient support programs and advocates for changes in public policy.

What would you do if you could breathe better? Let us know by leaving a comment below, or tweet us at @lungabnwt, using the hashtag #PoweredByBreathing.

For more information about TLA, check out its website.

Support group needed to help patients with lung disease in Camrose, Alberta

CAMROSE, ALTA. — Joan Branscombe doesn’t want patients who are coping with debilitating lung diseases to feel like they are all alone.

Joan and Alfred Branscombe

Joan and Alfred Branscombe

“Coping with a lung illness is not an easy road for a loved one and for their caregivers –– you sometimes feel like you are walking on a tightrope,” said Branscombe who is taking care of her 83-year-old husband, Alfred –– a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patient in Kingman, a small hamlet 26 km north of Camrose.

The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT (“TLA”) is looking for others, like the Branscombes, to kick-start a support group in Camrose, along with encouraging residents to take a simple breathing test during Community Registration Night Thursday (tomorrow) at the Camrose Field House (4516 54 St.) as part of its Powered By Breathing campaign generously supported by Nicorette and Nicoderm.

Branscombe says a support group would help her share their experiences with other patients “so others don’t feel like they are all alone.” It would also help caregivers on how to better support patients as they learn from others in the support group, she said.

“My husband and I know what it is like to be all alone when it comes to dealing with lung disease” said Branscombe. “Just to be with other people is really important for those patients.”

This year TLA is celebrating its 75th anniversary with its Powered By Breathing campaign. The campaign hopes to screen 75,000 Albertans for early diagnosis of lung illnesses –– like COPD. Early detection is important as doctors can use better treatments to reduce symptoms as well as preventing the illness from getting any worse.

More Canadian women have died from COPD than breast cancer since 2009, according to figures from Statistics Canada. COPD is also the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.

Volunteers with TLA at Community Registration Night in Camrose will also ask residents “what they would do if they could breathe better” to spread awareness about lung disease as part of the campaign.

Since 1939, TLA has been the primary information source for lung health. The organization continues to raise funds for critical research and patient support programs and advocates for changes in public policy.

What would you do if you could breathe better? Let us know by tweeting us using the hashtag #PoweredByBreathing, sending a Facebook message, emailing carol@ab.lung.ca or by filling your answer below!

 

University of Calgary’s Dr. Mark Giembycz is ‘powered by breathing’

 

Important work is continuing in Dr. Mark Giembycz’s lab at the University of Calgary.

Giembycz is studying how drugs that are currently available — or potentially new drugs — can help treat asthma, an illness that is the leading cause of emergency room visits for children in Alberta and Canada.

He is also studying how those drugs will also benefit patients who are suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), along with other lung diseases. His work is also being financially supported by those who have generously donated to The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT (“TLA”).

“It may seem kind of bizarre, but even though drug companies make drugs and are effective for certain individuals, many of the drugs seem to work without us understanding the mechanizm,” said Giembycz.

“What we do is try to pin down how these drugs actually work in hopes that we could make those new drugs better drugs in the future.”

Without the funding from charities like TLA, Giembycz said his team would face extreme challenges in finding improved treatments for lung diseases like COPD and asthma.

“Funding for research across the board is difficult to get, despite having very important questions to ask or more problems to actually solve,” said the Calgary-based lung health researcher.

“Some of the research would suffer without The Lung Association.”

Donate today to support other important research projects like Giembycz’s work. Click here to donate today!