World COPD Day: It's not too late to get help

Today marks the fourteenth annual World COPD Day, which aims to raise awareness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) worldwide. This year’s theme, “It’s not too late,” emphasizes the meaningful actions people can take to improve their respiratory health, at any stage before or after a COPD diagnosis.

This week, the McGill University Health Centre joins with patients, health care professionals, non-profit organizations, and government agencies to help raise awareness of COPD through public and healthcare professionals.

On Tuesday, November 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., a group of specialists and a representative from the Quebec Lung Association hosted a well-attended information booth where they offered spirometry and a carbon monoxide tests.

On Thursday, November 19 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Research Institute Atrium, Dr. Jean Bourbeau, Director of the MUHC COPD Clinic and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, will give a presentation on COPD prevention, detection and rehabilitation for healthcare professionals. According to respirologist and clinic Director Dr. Jean Bourbeau, lung damage is already developed when COPD symptoms appear, so the condition is usually diagnosed late. “By this time, the patient is already suffering from breathlessness and losing autonomy. World COPD Day is a well-needed effort effort to create awareness of COPD and improve diagnosis as well as optimize treatment therapies."

COPD is a non-communicable lung disease that progressively robs sufferers of breath. It is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, causing more than 3 million deaths annually. As many as half those living with COPD do not know they have the disease. COPD is diagnosed using a breathing test called spirometry, which is painless and takes only a few minutes. Symptoms of the early stages of COPD include breathlessness, chronic cough, and phlegm. Patients may be able to slow or even stop the progress of COPD by reducing their exposure to risk factors for the disease, such as quitting cigarettes. Treatment is most effective when begun early in the course of the disease. However, at all stages of disease, treatments are available that reduce symptoms and enable people to participate more fully in daily life.

-30 –

About the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)

One of the world’s foremost academic health centres, the MUHC offers exceptional and integrated patient-centric care, research, teaching and technology assessment. Affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University and part of the RUIS-McGill, the MUHC has a mandate to focus on complex care and is highly committed to working with partner organizations to ensure continuum of care in its community. The partner hospitals of the MUHC—the Lachine Hospital, the Montreal Chest Institute, the Montreal General Hospital, the Montreal Neurological Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Montreal Children's Hospital—value multidisciplinary service throughout the lifespan, innovative technologies and practices, strategic partnerships and leadership in knowledge transfer. The MUHC is currently carrying out a $2.355-billion Redevelopment Project on three sites - the Glen, the Montreal General and Lachine hospitals. The project will support environments that ensure patients and their families receive the best care possible, now and for many generations to come. The sites are also anchored in best sustainable-development practices, including LEED® and BOMA BESt guidelines.