Empowering patients to take control of their lung health

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The Asthma Coalition of York Region is a group of dedicated health professionals committed to raising awareness about the most common chronic lung disease Ð asthma. The Coalition’s membership includes:

  • Markham Stouffville Hospital
  • Southlake Regional Health Centre
  • York Central Hospital
  • York Region Health Services
  • The Lung Association, York Area.

Our main focus is on issues regarding primary prevention of asthma in conjunction with healthy and active living initiatives in order to meet the health needs of our community.

The most recent coalition project was part of Ontario’s Asthma Plan of Action put out by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care involving awareness of the link between second-hand smoke and asthma. The original small pilot project in the Town of Georgina has expanded to encompass a poster campaign throughout York Region, with a web site available for campaign sustainability and to access local resources, events and information related to asthma.

There is an estimated 300 million asthma sufferers in the world and that figure is expected to jump to 400 million in 20 years according to a report The Global Burden of Asthma. This report released by the World Health Organization and the Global Initiative for Asthma also stated that the prevalence of asthma is rising 20-50% every 10 years, especially in urbanized communities, and needs greater attention because of its high human and economic costs.

As more people develop asthma, additional strain will be felt directly on our health-care system in the form of frequent doctor and ER visits, hospitalizations, and prescription drugs. That’s bad news in a climate of scarce health-care dollars. Since asthma is a chronic disease, symptoms can persist throughout a person’s life making proper disease management and control a top health priority starting with patient awareness, education and empowerment.

Empowerment is the mantra of health promotion and involves not only educating patients about their disease but also encouraging patients to take an active role in managing their health. Increased knowledge is the key to empowering patients and the main focus of disease management programs found in hospitals.

As health care in Canada continues to evolve to meet the demands of today’s population, health promotion and prevention activities will increasingly become more important to reduce the burden on our already stretched system. It will be up to health-care providers to initiate innovative strategies and partnerships to achieve these goals in the road that lies ahead.

For more information regarding the Asthma Coalition of York Region, please visit www.asthmayork.ca