In honor of last week's COPD day - Hadassah doctors conducted various lung-related tests for the public, sharing information and raising awareness of the risks of smoking and lung diseases
The annual International Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Day was marked just last week. At Hadassah – doctors from our Pulmonology Institute hit the streets of Jerusalem and conducted pulmonary function tests for shoppers and shopkeepers of Jerusalem's famous Mahane Yehuda market. The test, which is tailored to the general public and specifically to those who smoke, or are regularly exposed to cigarette smoke, is a quick and simple test designed to detect early signs of COPD.
COPD is a chronic lung disease and is commonly found in people directly by cigarette smoke – either as smokers or by continuous exposure to secondhand smoke. The Hadassah pulmonologists explained to those who were tested that the disease is characterized by an abnormal accumulation of phlegm, prolonged coughing, fatigue, muscle depletion, increased shortness of breath and sleep disturbances. In addition, there is a higher incidence of comorbidities such as heart disease, various tumor diseases (including lung cancer), osteoporosis and depression.
Prof. Neville Berkman, director of the Hadassah's Pulmonology Institute, stressed that "the disease, which affects over 300,000 Israelis, is the result of prolonged smoking among those we call 'chain smokers'. There are various treatments for the disease, but it is very important to diagnose it in its early stages, in order to prevent continuous, irreversible damage to the lungs that may even result in death. Tests to help diagnose COPD are quite easy – all it takes is a simple breath test that lasts only a few seconds."
At Mahane Yehuda Market – pulmonology function tests were performed for everyone who desired. Those who tested received immediate results, as well as additional information and a referral (as needed). The on-site staff of the Pulmonology Institute included doctors, nurses and respiratory technicians, who, apart from the examination and the explanations, also distributed a variety of written material on COPD and smoking risks.
This is the fourth year in a row that Hadassah's pulmonologists took their talents to the streets of Jerusalem's busiest marketplace. As in previous years, the overall feedback was extremely positive – specifically from the hundreds of smokers, including market shopkeepers, who found the availability of the test to be convenient and efficient. This year, various populations will participate in an extensive survey to examine the awareness of smoking damage and COPD.