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Contact: Sherry Milligan

National COPD Awareness Campaign Comes to Albuquerque and Santa Fe

Respiratory therapists offer free lung screenings to communities

Albuquerque, NM (April 1, 2002) - It's the fourth-leading cause of death in America and most people have never heard of COPD or what they can do about it.

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is more commonly referred to as lung disease and includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic asthma. Millions of Americans with COPD must struggle everyday just to get through the most basic of physical activities.

Early detection can help slow the progress of the disease and allow diagnosed COPD sufferers to better maintain a healthy quality of life. Respiratory therapists perform a routine diagnostic called a spirometry test that can identify early onset of COPD. This simple lung test takes about 5 minutes and measures your lungs' airflow and volume, which are good indicators of lung health.

"Early detection is vital to staving off the ravages of this disease and to ensuring longer and healthier lives for people diagnosed with it," stresses respiratory therapist and New Mexico Society for Respiratory Care (NMSRC) President Brooke Patterson, RRT RPFT. "Anyone who might be at risk should take the time to learn more about COPD and by all means get a spirometry test."

In order to raise awareness about COPD, the AARC, Walgreens Health Initiatives and the National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP) have joined forces for an education campaign.

That campaign hits New Mexico on Monday, April 15. The screenings will take place in selected Walgreens stores in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Walgreens will be working with local respiratory therapists to provide free spirometry tests.

"We are hoping the community will come out and take full advantage of this free screening," says Patterson, one of the organizers of this event. "As respiratory therapists, we know very well how important lung health is to a person's overall quality of life. We want people to get tested and since this screening is free, there's no reason why they shouldn't come in and very good reasons why they should."

For more information, please call 800-645-3099.

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The AARC is a professional membership association for respiratory therapists. Respiratory therapists work under the direction of a physician and assist in the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with pulmonary disorders. The AARC provides educational programs to the respiratory care community and promotes the art and science of respiratory care to healthcare consumers and other healthcare professionals.

The NMSRC's vision is to promote an active, responsive network of expert resources, with accurate information and influential representation for cardiopulmonary professionals and consumers in the health care industry in the state of New Mexico, USA, and internationally.


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