Fresh air for lung disease sufferers
Most non-smokers consider themselves in the clear when it comes to lung problems, but that confidence may be misplaced: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death for Canadian men and the seventh for women. Although smoking is a contributing risk factor for the disease, COPD can also be caused by air pollution, occupational dust exposure and certain genetic conditions.
The disease makes it hard for lungs to take in air. As COPD progresses, shortness of breath becomes increasingly pronounced, until daily physical activities—from climbing stairs to simply getting up from a chair—become almost impossible. Left untreated, COPD is deadly.
Dr. Dina Brooks, Canada Research Chair in Rehabilitation for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is seeking new ways to stop, or even reverse, the progression of COPD.
By exploring more effective treatment and rehabilitation plans—from improving physical activity prescriptions for COPD sufferers, to evaluating rehabilitation technologies like wheeled walkers and home oxygen use, to establishing better long-term strategies—Dr. Brooks aims to bring hope to sufferers of this chronic lung disease by ensuring lasting benefits from rehabilitation and helping them maintain quality of life.
Through her work, Dr. Brooks will cut down on costly and resource-intensive COPD hospitalizations and provide specialized training for researchers and practitioners in the healthcare system. Above all, by providing better treatment protocols for COPD symptoms like shortness of breath, Dr. Brooks’ research will make daily life much more manageable for sufferers of the disease.