Breathing in America Aims to Increase Public Awareness of Lung Disease
Lung disease is the third-leading killer in the United States and around the world, yet many lung diseases are under-recognized and research is grossly underfunded. However, a new book, Breathing in America: Diseases, Progress, and Hope, produced by the American Thoracic Society, shines a strong light on lung disease and research, exploring the nature and causes of pulmonary, critical care and sleep disorders, their prevalence and burden, the benefits research has brought and the research challenges that remain.
Breathing in America, which was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is definitive resource for healthcare workers who need to have a succinct source of information about these diseases, as well as for patients and their loved ones, who will find in-depth information as well as well-documented sources for further reading.
said ATS president Dean Schraufnagel, MD, who edited the book.
In addition to sections on pathology, prevalence and the current state of research, each chapter includes a patient perspective that describes the realities of living with pulmonary disease. IT includes well-known diseases such as asthma and COPD as well as lesser-known diseases such as sarcoidosis and pulmonary hypertension. There is also a section on rare lung diseases, which covers diseases such as lymphangioleiomyomatosis and Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome.
The book was envisioned as a tool to educate healthcare providers, policymakers and the public about the significant burden of respiratory diseases, and the importance of promoting research, education and training.
said James Kiley, PhD, director of the NHLBI's Division of Lung Diseases.
Calling it an "important step" toward a broader campaign to inform our political, civic and business leaders, at-risk patients and the general public that lung disease represents a significant threat to the nation's health, former ATS president Jo Rae Wright, PhD, noted that a central theme of the book is that "our collective response has fallen short, but that there is an answer - research - that will help save many lives and greatly improve the quality of many others."
The online version is available for free on the ATS Web site at www.thoracic.org/education/breathing-in-america.
Interview with Dean E Schraufnagel, MD
- immediate-past president of the American Thoracic Society, professor of medicine and pathology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and editor of Breathing in America: Diseases, Progress, and Hope
Q. Dr Schraufnagel, why did the American Thoracic Society publish this book?
Q. It's surprising to think that COPD, a disease many people haven't heard of, could be the fourth-leading killer of Americans. What other statistics stand out about respiratory disease?
Q. The book is very readable. How did you manage to get research and clinical experts to write so plainly?
Q. How can patients and their families use this book?
The information in each chapter represents the most up-to-date information on each disease, and will not only help patients understand their own disease, it will help them communicate knowledgeably with health professionals. The references and Web sites of interest sections will point them to additional resources where they can obtain more information.
Family members and advocates will appreciate the case studies that tell the real story of what it is like to have these diseases. Many case studies in the book demonstrate how often the disease is missed or misdiagnosed. Others emphasize that with proper treatment, patients can live a healthy, normal life. Unfortunately, other cases have sad endings because we simply do not have an effective drug or therapy, highlighting the need for more research.