General · 3rd January 2014
Island Health is introducing a new, quick screening test for a lung disease called chronic obstructive lung disease or COPD. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are both forms of COPD. This disease is common among smokers over forty, but can also develop for genetic reasons, as a results of untreated asthma, or due to exposure to air pollution. All smokers are urged to quit because of the many health problems associated with smoking. However, researchers have found that when early lung disease is detected, smokers may be more willing to consider quitting and finally make the effort and succeed.
The new test is simple, easy, and kind of fun. It is called the COPD-6 and is provided by Island Health. It is a small, handheld plastic device with internal electronics. "Lung age" is estimated by blowing into the device for 6 secs. If you are age 50 with the same lung age, you are doing great! But what if you are 50 and have the lung age of an 80 year old. Would you think harder about quitting smoking? We hope so!
Everyone on Quadra is invited to make an appointment or drop into the Quadra Island Medical Clinic to be tested. You don't have to be a patient; your results can be forwarded to your family practitioner. For those whose screening tests show a potential problem, referral can be made for more extensive testing in Campbell River. If COPD is diagnosed, early treatments and lifestyle changes can prevent disease progression and help your breathe easier.