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Free testing today for COPD

Do you have a cough that will not go away or are you coughing up phlegm or mucous regularly?

Have you noticed that you are easily out of breath with regular physical activity, like taking the stairs, walking your dog, or even going shopping?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions you may want to stop by the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute this evening on your way home for a quick test of your lungs.

It could be that you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Many people do. In fact, worldwide, more women die of COPD than breast cancer and it claims the lives of more men than prostate cancer.

“Many people have COPD and don’t know it,” said Debbie Barboza, Bermuda Hospitals Board nurse educator for the Asthma Education Centre. “Some think their symptoms are just a natural part of the ageing process however COPD is a life-threatening disease that will get worse if not treated.”

COPD develops slowly over years. Symptoms often worsen over time and can limit your ability to do routine activities for many years.

Severe COPD may prevent you from doing even basic activities like walking, cooking, travelling, or even taking care of yourself.

Most of the time, COPD is diagnosed in middle-aged or older people. The disease is not infectious you can’t catch it from someone else.

“COPD has no cure yet and doctors don’t know how to reverse the damage to the airways and lungs,” said Ms Barboza. “However, treatments and lifestyle changes can help you feel better, stay more active, and slow the progress of the disease.”

COPD is usually caused by smoking or exposure to fumes or very dusty places. Symptoms include coughing, bringing up phlegm or mucus and getting short of breath.

A simple breathing test called spirometry is used to diagnose the disease. It’s a simple painless test which takes only a few minutes and involves blowing into a small cylinder (a spirometer).

Free spirometry testing will be given to members of the public this evening at BUEI starting at 5.15pm.

If you need more information or want to get tested at the hospital, call Ms Barboza on 239-1652 or e-mail asthma.centre[AT] bhb.bm.

COPD can be prevented. For smokers, the best way to avoid the disease is to quite smoking.

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Published November 15, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 15, 2011 at 7:50 am)

Free testing today for COPD

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