Nov
2
2018

Islanders encouraged to get screened for COPD

November is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Awareness Month and Islanders are encouraged to take advantage of free screening clinics being offered across the province. 

Health PEI is holding a series of COPD screening clinics from November 6 to 29 in communities across the province – visit www.healthpei.ca/copdanddiabetesclincis for a complete listing.

COPD is a lung disease that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The condition, which causes coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and fatigue, has no cure. In Canada, COPD affects approximately 1.5 million people, including 8,000 Islanders. 

“Chronic diseases such as COPD have an immense impact on our health care system, not to mention the toll it takes on patients and their family members,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell. “The clinics being offered this month will support a healthier population and improve outcomes for Islanders through increased screening and earlier detection.”

The clinics will provide information about COPD and appropriate participants will be encouraged to take the Canadian Lung Health Test. If an individual has findings inconsistent for someone of their age, they will be recommended for further testing and possible diagnosis.

“Many Islanders living with COPD are not aware of their condition, and this leads to a significant delay in diagnosis, treatment and supports,” said Carolyn MacPhail, manager of Chronic Disease Prevention and Management. “Early detection is so important to being able to provide Islanders with timely access to right care and supports that will help improve their quality of life, allowing them to lead more active lives without complications.”

For individuals living with COPD, frequent care and appropriate health management are essential. Resources and supports offered through the COPD Program, including clinics, educate Islanders about their disease and teach them how to proactively manage their symptoms to improve their quality of life.

In addition, the clinics will provide information about diabetes and appropriate persons will be offered the CANRISK questionnaire to help identify if they are at risk of pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

For more information about the Provincial COPD Program, visit www.healthpei.ca/COPD

For more information about the Provincial Diabetes Program, visit www.heathpei.ca/diabetes

Media contact: 
Amanda Hamel
Senior Communications Officer
Health PEI 
(902) 368-6135
ajhamel@gov.pe.ca

Backgrounder:
About COPD
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a term for multiple chronic respiratory diseases that include chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Many people don't experience symptoms of COPD until later stages of the disease. It's important to recognize these signs and talk to your primary care provider: 
•    Chronic cough
•    Shortness of breath while doing everyday activities (dyspnea)
•    Frequent respiratory infections
•    Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds (cyanosis)
•    Fatigue
•    Producing a lot of mucus (also called phlegm or sputum)
•    Wheezing

The main cause of COPD is smoking; however, non-smokers can get COPD too. Long-term exposure to air pollution, second-hand smoke and dust, fumes and chemicals (which are often work-related) can also cause COPD.

General Inquiries

Health PEI
16 Garfield Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: (902) 368-6130
Fax: (902) 368-6136

healthpei@gov.pe.ca

Your Health Privacy

Media Inquiries
Phone: (902) 368-6135

Health PEI Board of Directors
Phone: (902) 368-4637

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department.

If you are unsure what to do about a health issue or if you need health information, call 8-1-1.

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