Educational programs empower patients with lung diseases

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2012

(ARA) – Complications associated with lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis (CF) account for millions of emergency room visits each year. Many of these complications occur because the diseases are not being properly managed, which many – including several advocacy groups — believe may be related to a lack of understanding and knowledge on behalf of the patient. For this reason, patient education has become increasingly important in managing lung diseases.

Lung, or pulmonary, disease is any disease or disorder that occurs in the lungs or that causes the lungs to not work properly, including asthma, COPD and CF. When not properly managed through regular measurement and monitoring, symptoms associated with these diseases sometimes become life threatening.

“Asthma is a controllable disease. When asthmatics start experiencing symptoms, it’s a clear indication their asthma is not in good control,” said Carol Jones, registered nurse and certified asthma educator, a consultant for the Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA). “However, proper management is dependent on patients having the necessary self assessment information and monitoring tools. Asthma education is critical to help those living with the condition learn how to keep their disease under control and avoid urgent doctor visits or trips to the emergency department.”

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Research shows that communication between doctors and patients has an impact on health outcomes and that patients who are informed are able to take a more active role and have better results.

“It’s my belief that you can’t be too knowledgeable about your illness,” said Laura Tillman, president of the United States Adult Cystic Fibrosis Association (USACFA), publisher of CF Roundtable, a newsletter for adults who have cystic fibrosis. “Patient education programs are a great resource to help those living with diseases further understand their illnesses. In order to be your own advocate, you have to be informed.”

Healthcare companies, such as PMD Healthcare, are also taking note of the importance of education. The company, who manufacturers Spiro PD personal spirometer, a novel new lung health monitoring device, is hosting a series of webinars to provide those living with lung diseases, including patients and caregivers, with valuable information about how to manage these illnesses. Jones and Tillman will serve as co-hosts of two upcoming online seminars, also known as webinars, discussing the impact of allergies on asthma and growing older with CF, respectively.

“PMD Healthcare, through Spiro PD, a personal spirometer, helps patients manage their diseases by allowing them to monitor lung function and medication therapy anytime and anywhere and improves doctor-patient communication because data can be uploaded and directly shared with a physician,” said Rebecca Russell, patient education specialist at PMD Healthcare. “However, we recognize there are still additional components necessary for proper disease management and that it is critical for patients to understand all aspects of controlling their disease. Through our free patient educational webinars, we hope to help empower patients living with these chronic illnesses and equip them with the knowledge to anticipate and prevent life threatening exacerbations.”

For more information about PMD Healthcare’s upcoming educational webinars, or to learn more about Spiro PD visit