Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lung Disease: Leading Health Concern in Ontario Often Underdiagnosed

A simple breathing test called spirometry could fast track diagnosis, improve treatment and save lives

TORONTO, June 26, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Leading up to World Spirometry Day, June 27, Ontario Lung Association and Women's College Hospital are promoting a simple, but underused diagnostic tool called spirometry. Spirometry can be done in a physician's office or clinic, and is an easy and effective tool to help diagnose asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

According to the Ontario Lung Association, more than 2 million people in Ontario have a serious lung disease such as asthma and COPD, i and could benefit from earlier diagnosis.

"The earlier we are able to accurately diagnose lung disease in a patient, the more treatment options we have to offer," says Dr. Anna Day, Respirologist at Toronto's Women's College Hospital. "Too often we see patients with advanced lung disease because spirometry was not available to them. This simple test could dramatically improve patients' clinical outcomes and quality of life."

To mark World Spirometry Day, Women's College Hospital, supported by the Ontario Lung Association, is presenting a series of interactive information sessions for health-care providers covering topics such as spirometry indication and utilization, as well as interpretation.

To see a spirometry demonstration, view this Ontario Lung Association video...

"Spirometry is a simple breathing test that can be done in a physician's office or clinic to help diagnose COPD," says Carole Madeley, RRT, Director Respiratory Health Programs, Ontario Lung Association. "Patients are asked to take in a big breath, and then blow as hard and long as they can into a machine. The machine measures how much air they can blow out from their lungs and how fast they can blow it out."

In its 2011 research report, Your Lungs, Your Life: Insight and Solutions into Lung Health in Ontario, The Lung Association identified spirometry as one of the leading interventions that could be easily implemented more widely across the province, affecting considerable improvements for both patients and the Ontario economy. The report shows that if all Ontarians at risk or suspected of having COPD had access to a spirometry test, in 10 years there would be significantly fewer people living with the disease, saving the province more than $2.6 billion in health and related costs.

About the Ontario Lung Association

The Lung Association is a registered charity that provides information, education and funding for research to improve lung health. The organization focuses on the prevention and control of asthma, chronic lung disease, tobacco control as well as healthy air and the effects of pollution on lung health. For information on lung health, call 1-888-344-LUNG (5864), which is staffed by certified respiratory educators, or visit You can also follow it on Twitter @OntarioLung and Facebook.

About Women's College Hospital

For more than 100 years, Women's College Hospital has been dedicated to groundbreaking advances in the health of women. Women's College Hospital collaborated in the invention of the Pap test, opened Ontario's first regional Sexual Assault Care Centre and was the first hospital in the province to use mammography. Today Women's College Hospital is Ontario's preeminent ambulatory care centre and is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto focused on state-of-the-art care, research and education. Women's College Research Institute is the only one in a Canadian hospital devoted to women's health and innovations in ambulatory care.

For more information about Women's College Hospital or the Research Institute, visit

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