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News Tribune
April 30, 2003

Physicians urged to test for lung disease
From our readers

Dear Editor:

Lung disease can happen to anyone, anywhere from work related illness, to secondhand smoke, to toxic chemicals we've probably all been exposed to at one time or another. Not only is lung disease the fourth largest killer of United States citizens, it is the second-greatest cause of disability.

No one really knows why some people get COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and others don't. Asthma is on the rise in our children, as is emphysema and chronic bronchitis in adults. More and more individuals are being diagnosed with COPD than ever before and younger than ever before. It is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only one of the top killers that continues to increase.

In Missouri alone, according to the 1999 Vital Statistics, 3,063 Missourians lost their lives to COPD. It is estimated that anywhere from 16 million to as many as 40 million people in the United States alone have COPD, but the majority are undiagnosed until their breathing is so bad and their lungs are so damaged that they are beyond repair and the only hope is for a lung transplant. Drugs for this disease are almost non-existent and funding is much lower than most of the other top diseases.

 

As a sufferer of this devastating illness, I can tell you first-hand that it affects each and every thing I do from the time I get up in the morning until I go to bed at night. I am urging our medical professionals to please begin including a spirometry check when giving physicals and at health fairs. This quick, painless test only takes a few minutes and can be the difference in whether or not a person is diagnosed early.

Valuable information about this disease can be found at the EFFORTS (Emphysema Foundation For Our Right To Survive). If you would like to learn more about this disease, please feel free to visit our website at http://www.emphysema.net.

Pat Crowe, Missouri chapter leader
EFFORTS executive board
Jefferson City

 

News Tribune