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Doctors are Missing Chances to Diagnose COPD Earlier
A retrospective study of almost 39,000 patients shows that opportunities to diagnose chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at an earlier stage are frequently being missed in both primary and secondary care in the UK. The findings, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, reveal missed opportunities to diagnose COPD occurred in up to 85 percent of people. 
 
"The substantial numbers of patients misdiagnosed and under diagnosed in this study is a cause for concern. It is important that COPD is diagnosed as early as possible so effective treatment can be used to try to reduce lung damage, improve quality of life, and even life expectancy", explains author Dr Rupert Jones from Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth, UK.
 
"The first signs of lung disease should prompt appropriate investigations such as pulmonary function tests (spirometry). However, both general practitioners (GPs) and patients are failing to recognize the significance of symptoms."
 
The UK Department of Health estimates that around 2.2 million people in the UK are undiagnosed and state that earlier diagnosis and treatment could save the National Health Service more than £1 billion over 10 years.
 
Using data from the General Practice and Optimum Patient Care Research databases, the researchers assessed whether a COPD diagnosis might have been made in an earlier primary or secondary care visit. They identified 38 859 patients aged 40 years or older who had received a COPD diagnosis between 1990and 2009 and for whom data was available for at least two years before and one year after diagnosis.
 
Results showed that in the 5 years before diagnosis, 85% of patients had visited their GP or a secondary care clinic at least once with lower respiratory symptoms. These consultations represent missed opportunities to further investigate patients for a possible diagnosis of COPD. Opportunities for diagnosis were missed in 58% of patients in the 6–10 years before diagnosis and 42% in the 11–15 years before diagnosis.
 
Over the 20 year study, a significant increase in the number of chest x-rays in the 2 years before diagnosis was noted, but only a third of these patients were also given spirometry testing.
 
They researchers say, "Although we have seen small improvements in earlier diagnosis over the past 20 years, many patients are still being diagnosed with severe or very severe airway...
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Secondhand Smoke Could Cancel out Asthma Treatment
It isn’t rocket science that parents should not be smoking at home with children that suffer from asthma.  A new study finds, that secondhand smoke may be counteracting the effects of the child’s asthma treatment.
 
The study, published in the journal Chest, finds that the oxidants in cigarette smoke were shown to be capable of destroying key anti-inflammatory enzymes in asthma medicine.  Great.
 
“Passive smoking in the home and in cars is damaging to the lungs,” lead researcher Professor Peter Barnes told Medical Daily. “What our study shows is that it can stop a key asthma treatment — inhaled steroids — from working properly, so it means that asthma is not as well-controlled.”
 
Because asthma is characterized by chronic inflammation in a person’s airways that makes breathing difficult, asthmatics rely on inhalers to deliver corticosteroid, which helps to stop the abnormal inflammation signal.  Children that live in homes where smoking transpires, Barnes explains, were shown to have the same resistance to these steroids as adults who actively smoke.
 
For more information on Smoking Cessation and integrating it into your practice, to help save the children in smoking homes, visit MD Spiro’s Breath CO section today.
 
References:
 
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Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas.  It is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, such as coal, wood, oil, propane, and natural gas.  Other sources of CO are products and equipment such as cars, lawn mowers, portable generators and power washers.  In addition, Smokers and Firefighters have extreme exposure rates.
 
Symptoms:
 
Because CO is colorless and odorless, some people may not know they are being exposed to the deadly gas.  
Symptoms of poisoning are similar to the flu:
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
High levels of poisoning result in more severe symptoms:
  • Mental confusion
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Death
The duration and level of exposure is directly related to the symptoms of someone exposed to CO.  
 
Testing and Measuring for CO:
 
Breath carbon monoxide is the level of CO in a person’s exhalation.  It can be measured by testing using a Breath CO monitor.  The test is design to be a clinical aid in assessing CO poisoning.  CO breath monitors are used by emergency services to help identify patients who are suspected of having CO poisoning.  Because of its make-up, odorless, colorless, and tasteless, it is very difficult to detect.
 
There is an outstanding product on the market that can monitor CO:
 
The MicroCO Breath CO Monitor is designed to be an essential tool for CO monitoring, smoking cessation, and firefighter rehab.  Some of the features are fast response time, 1ppm resolution, immediate display of CO levels in ppm and %COHb, breath-hold countdown timer and color light indicators.
 
If you or a loved one feel you have symptoms that are associated with CO poisoning, seek out a practitioner that carries these products.  To learn more, visit www.mdspiro.com.
 
References:
 
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According to a September, 2012 report by the American Lung Association (ALA), 7.1 million children had asthma in 2011, with the prevalence being between the ages of 5-11.  The report additionally showed that boys were 16% more likely to develop asthma than girls.  Why is that and what does it mean for parents and practitioners, alike?
 
Why asthma is harder on boys than girls remains a bit of a mystery, although one theory suggests that boys’ lungs are less fully developed and their air passages are smaller than that of a girl.  Another theory is that boys tend to be more into sports, or more likely to play in areas that are dirtier which in turn increases their exposure to mold, dust, and other asthma triggers.
 
Parents need to create living environments that are conducive to helping support the respiratory health of their child, boy or girl.   Keeping track of daily symptoms of the child’s asthma, peak flow values, and medicine intake are key components to respiratory health.
 
Keeping track of this information will help you and your pediatrician to better monitor the asthmatic child.  Having asthma under control is no easy feat.  But it will be easier if as a parent you are engaged with the day-to-day activities, symptoms, and triggers and be in good communication with the doctor caring for the child.
 
At the heart of respiratory health is good communication, spirometry testing, and eliminating as many triggers to the child as possible.  Talk to your patients and your doctor about next steps in asthma care and have spirometry become an integral part of the care.
 
References
 
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Early Intervention Lowers Asthma in Pregnant Women
In an original study at Monash University, Australia, for Multidisciplinary Approach to Management of Maternal Asthma (MAMMA), it was found that early intervention to better manage the asthmatic condition in a pregnant women can statistically and clinically control their asthma.
 
Intervening through monthly asthma education, monitoring, feedback, and follow-up helped yield better asthma control results after 6-months of care.  
 
“With one in eight pregnant women suffering from asthma, this research is telling us we need to improve management during pregnancy by finding new strategies to improve education and awareness,” says lead investigator Angelina Lim of the Centre for Medicine Use and Safety at Monash University. ”Poorly controlled asthma during pregnancy is hazardous for the health of the mother and the baby and has been associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and pre-eclampsia.
 
“Proper asthma management among pregnant women should be regarded as a leading priority in antenatal care. This is a simple intervention that could be easily implemented in antenatal settings with minimal additional resources.”
 
In the intervention group, no asthma-related oral steroid use, hospital admissions, emergency visits, or days off work were reported during the trial.  The findings of this study are detailed and published in the journal Chest.
 
References
 
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Spirometry is Good Business
Spirometry is the gold standard for the diagnosis and management of both Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD).  The earlier you detect the disease and its state; the easier and faster you can treat your patients.
 
Spirometry is good medicine.  The patients you see every day in your office can be correctly diagnosed and treated more accurately and effectively in the convenience of your office.
 
Spirometry is easy.  Unless the equipment is easy-to-use, it will not be fully embraced and utilized by your staff.  All MD Spiro spirometers are menu-driven via a large, graphic display and testing takes less than five minutes to perform.  The easy-to-read reports, quality checks, and built-in interpretation assist you for an accurate diagnosis.
 
Spirometry is good business. Office spirometry is third-party reimbursable with an average reimbursement of $33.00 for a simple five-minute non-invasive test.  The average primary care physician tests ten patients per week and pays for their equipment in three months or less then generates over $20,000 per year in additional revenue.
 
Facts about Asthma:
  • Asthma accounts for one-quarter of all emergency room visits in the US each year
  • With 2 million emergency room visits, asthma is the number one cause of school absenteeism among children accounting for more than 14M total missed school days.
  • An estimated 26 million Americans suffer from asthma, which equates to 1 in 15 Americans according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
 
Facts about COPD:
  • COPD is the third leading cause of death in the US
  • An individual dies of COPD every 4 minutes in the US
  • The single, best test for detecting early COPD is spirometry
  • Treatment for COPD is more effective if given before symptoms occur
For more information about how MD Spiro can help add spirometry into your practice, visit: www.mdspiro.com. 
 
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Early Diagnosis of COPD Can Make a Huge Difference
Hundreds of thousands of Americans are diagnosed with COPD, but experts believe that the actual number of people affected with this disease is double the official figure reported. 
 
COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a serious lung disease that blocks the airway and can cause extensive damage to the organ. 
 
Most people that are over 40 years old are unaware of COPD but early detection can make a  long-term improvement on the health. The following symptoms are common among COPD patients:
  • Regular cough that often comes with phlegm
  • Simple chores that leaves you short and out of breath
  • Wheezing at night or when you overexert yourself with physical activities
  • Colds that lasts longer and doesn't seem to get treated easily 
Spirometry is a painless and short test, where your patients have to breathe into a machine that measures your lung capacity.  Early diagnosis of COPD can help improve the health of your patients and avoid complications.
 
For more information about how MD Spiro can help add Spirometry into your practice, visit: www.mdspiro.com
 
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Safe Exercises for the Asthmatic Patient
Safe Exercises for the Asthmatic Patient
 
One of the goals of asthma treatment is to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Getting your body in shape and keeping it that way can happen even if you are an asthmatic.  It is important that your patients are getting the right amount and type of exercise to help them to strengthen their hearts and lungs.  A few exercise that can be good to refer your patients to do are:
 
  • Swimming
  • Intermittent Team Sports
  • Weight Training
  • Martial Arts
  • Yoga
  • Biking
  • Walking
  • Hiking
“As an asthmatic, I find that the best exercises that help me stay healthy is yoga and power walking,” says Lyndsay Johnson, asthma patient. “It helps me to strengthen my heart, lungs, and doesn’t make me feel like I am overexerting myself which reduces my stress causing me to not be ‘worried’ about an attack coming on.”
 
Exercise helps build strength to the asthmatic, so living a sedentary life can worsen some asthmatics symptoms.  Work with your asthmatic patients on a healthy exercise plan to help control their asthma today and incorporate spirometry into your practice to diagnose, treat, and control.
 
For more information about how MD Spiro can help add spirometry into your practice, visit: www.mdspiro.com
 
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