• News in Rehabilitation
  • Are you a health care professional in pulmonary rehabilitation? If so, you may be interested in a hard copy of "Pulmonary Rehabilitation: the Critical Outcomes" from the Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, 40(5), Supplement 2, September/October 2003. It is available free-of-charge. E-mail yuhasz@vard.org with your mailing address by December 15, 2003. Full text articles are also available on-line at http://www.vard.org/rehab.htm. The purpose of the single-topic issue is to highlight three outcomes of a comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation program: smoking cessation, symptom relief, and improved functional performance. Contributions are from national and international experts in the field.
  • Q & A
  • Virginia asks what is the meaning of "Test Your Lungs-Know Your Numbers" which she sees printed on Dr. Petty's letters. What a good question to ask at this time, Virginia. This phrase is the theme of NLHEP (National Lung Health Education Program) established by Dr. Petty to promote spirometry. Spirometers measure the airflow and volume of your breathing, which are indicators of lung health. These noninvasive tests can be done in the physician's office. The spirometer measures two important numbers; FEV1 (the forced expiratory volume of air you exhale in one second) and forced vital capacity (FVC). FEV6 (Forced Expiratory Volume in 6 seconds) is now used more often than the FVC since it is easier on the patient and equally informative for testing purposes. These numbers are simple expressions of complex processes, just like blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels measure complex processes. The numbers obtained for FEV1 (air flow) and FEV6 (or FVC) (air volume) by a spirometer are important for the patient and the physician to help diagnose asthma and COPD, to monitor the course of these diseases, and their response to treatment. It is not possible to diagnose COPD without a pulmonary function test or spirometry. Everyone should know the numbers of their FEV1 and their FEV1/FVC ratio, just as they know what their cholesterol levels are. For the record, minimal normal is an FEV1 of 80% of the predicted level with an FEV1/FVC of about 80%. Everyone over the age of 45, with a history of smoking, symptoms of shortness of breath, or chronic cough with sputum, should have a spirometry done. While 14 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with COPD, remember that it is estimated that another 10 to 12 million remain undiagnosed! Don't be one of them! With spirometry, we can identify COPD and start earlier treatment. Thanks for a timely question, Virginia.
  • Happy Holidays
  • All of us at PERF wish all of you the happiest of holiday seasons. We thank you for your generous support, and the donations we are still receiving. We know times are hard, especially for those with big medical bills. If you are unable to contribute, please know that your kind notes are as important to us as financial help. Knowing that we help you helps us to continue volunteering in the cause of COPD. It is wonderful to end the year 2003 on a positive note. It is even better to look forward to what we hope to achieve in 2004. Keep reading the Second Wind to stay informed, and have a very happy and healthy New Year.

  • Do you have a question about respiratory disease that has been bothering you? If so, feel free to write and ask us, either through our web site or by mail. We answer all of your letters.