October 1, 2013

Maury Regional offers free COPD screenings

COLUMBIA, Tenn. —Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) will offer free screenings for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on Saturday, October 19, in the William R. Walter Educational Conference Center inside the medical center’s Annex, located at 1223 ½ Trotwood Avenue, directly across from MRMC. Screenings will follow a brief presentation at 10 a.m.

COPD is a condition that damages the lungs over time and can lead to illness and even death. Early detection can help to minimize damage from COPD.

The term COPD refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and make it increasingly difficult to breathe. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two main conditions associated with COPD. Complications of COPD can include respiratory infections, heart disease, high blood pressure and depression. According to the American Lung Association, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of nearly 134,000 people each year.

“COPD is a life-threatening disease whose symptoms often do not appear until significant lung damage has already occurred. Unfortunately, that damage is not reversible,” said Christy Wright, director of the medical center’s respiratory care department. “It is important to learn about the risk factors for this disease and to be screened.”

Risk factors for COPD include:

  • Current or previous tobacco use
  • Exposure to air pollutants
  • Respiratory infections
  • Genetic factors, including Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD), a genetic form of lung disease that can only be detected through laboratory testing

Among the free screenings to be offered on October 19 is the Alpha-1 test, a finger-stick blood sample used to screen for AATD. Fasting is not required before the screening. Other screening tests will include pulse oximetry to measure the body’s oxygen saturation and spirometry, a simple breathing test.

Dr. Maura Lipp, a pulmonologist on the MRMC medical staff, will present a brief overview of COPD at 10 a.m. with the screenings immediately following.