Lung Health for All

“The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.” Now take a moment to look at all of the fall colors blending in to create a magical scenic picture.  The “ber” months have arrived and our beautiful fall season is upon us.  In addition, fall brings with it the season of allergies.  Dust blowing in that cool breeze, mold and mildew forming in that pile of colorful leaves lying on the ground and the fluctuation of temperatures bringing on the cold and flu time of year. Fall also brings World Lung Day on September 25, 2022, with the theme “Lung Health for All,” which is a day for lung health advocacy and action to promote better lung health globally.

Being in a part of the world where healthcare is more readily available, a person can get the help needed to manage their breathing to get through this fall season, and year round.

In so many other parts of the world resources, prevention and management of healthcare are scarce or not available.  The lack of effective training for healthcare professionals and having the diagnostic tools and medications available in a lot of areas in the world has a serious impact on respiratory health in general.  Without awareness and early detection for respiratory diseases, it may lead to a correct diagnosis being made but no access to affordable treatments, immunizations and medication.  There is definitely a need for better access to basic affordable medications for asthma, COPD, lung cancer and pulmonary infections.

Major lung diseases that are among the most common causes of illness, disability, and death worldwide, known as “The Big Five” include:

  •             Asthma
  •             Chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD)
  •             Acute lower respiratory tract infections (pneumonia)
  •             Lung cancer
  •             Tuberculosis

Respiratory diseases can range from an acute illness, such as pneumonia or a lower respiratory tract infection, to a chronic lung disease such as COPD.  Nearly 200 million people (4% of the world’s population) have COPD and close to 3.2 million people die of COPD each year making it the 3rd leading cause of death worldwide.  Asthma is the most common chronic lung disease, especially in children worldwide.  Lung cancer is the deadliest of all cancers and kills near 1.8 million people each year.  Unfortunately, these statistics can be underestimated considering the lack of access to healthcare in lower income countries throughout the world.  Pneumonia still remains one of the most common causes of an acute illness and is the leading cause of death among children under the age of 5 outside the neonatal period and adults older than 65 years. (Source)

With World Lung Day, there is a continued need to move forward to create an infrastructure and resources needed to help manage and prevent the next worldwide emergency, whether it be from a pandemic or a climate catastrophe, plus addressing the existing large burden of acute and chronic respiratory diseases so the world can come closer to better “Lung Health for All.”

If you have concerns about your lung health such as shortness of breath or becoming easily winded, speak to your provider today or to get additional information reach out to Respiratory Services at Windom Area Health by calling 507-831-0647.

By Rhonda Wahl, RRT, Respiratory Therapy Coordinator

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