The team at MLHC supports believes that Knowledge is Medicine. We encourage you to seek out information to increase your understanding of your condition, which may help you feel and breathe better, use drug treatments more effectively and safely, and ask better questions.
We recommend the best strategy for internet searches is to type the words “patient information” after your key term. For example, “pulmonary hypertension patient information” or “sleep apnea patient information”.
Health related foundations partnered with national medical organizations are often the best starting point for information. Our clinicians are members of national and international medical societies. We have found the following organizations to host high quality information.
American Thoracic Society – Patient Resources
Breathe – The Canadian Lung Association
Using Google Translate, an entire website (including this one) can be viewed in another language.
Go to Google Translate, click on the tab “websites” enter the complete website address into the box. At the top right, select the target language. Then click the blue arrow.
We also believe that Exercise is Medicine. There are many simple low-cost aerobic, strengthening and breathing exercises that you can include in your daily routine to improve your breathing and lower stress. Countless videos can be found on You Tube with search terms such as:
- COPD exercises
- Breathing exercises
- Belly breathing
- Pulmonary rehabilitation exercises
Here are a couple of specific links:
- Fitness for Breath (Ontario Lung Association)
Links to recommended websites and useful resources on common lung conditions are provided below.
Aerosol drug therapy
- Inhaled aerosol therapies are the mainstay of treatment of obstructive lung diseases. Aerosol devices deliver drugs rapidly and directly into the airways, allowing higher local drug concentrations while limiting systemic toxicity.
- The choice of inhalational drugs, deciding which aerosol device (ie, metered-dose inhaler [MDI], nebulizer, or dry powder inhaler [DPI]) best suits a given patient and clinical setting can seem arbitrary and confusing. For the respiratory specialist, prescribing the correct inhaler is both an art and a science.
- Videos on how to use Inhaler can be found here:
Asthma and severe asthma
- Asthma is a lung disorder characterized by an inflammation and narrowing of the airways leading to shortness of breath, wheezing, and cough. The specific cause of asthma remains unknown, but the condition likely results from either genetic or environmental factors.
Breathlessness (Shortness of breath)
- Breathlessness is an unpleasant sensation of uncomfortable, rapid, or difficult breathing. It may be a normal sensation that occurs when you exercise or are anxious. Often, we are unaware of the underlying stress or anxiety, or that we have gradually become “out of shape” or less physically fit than we once were. When conditions of the lung and heart cause breathlessness, it is important to get right diagnosis and treatment. Although many chronic diseases can be treated to some extent, they may not be fully reversed. Learning how to manage long-term breathlessness, so that you can live as well as possible with it, improves quality of life and reduced hospitalizations.
- Bronchiectasis is a chronic condition where the walls of the bronchi are thickened from inflammation and infection. The condition is not well understood by many patients and healthcare providers, and is often mislabeled as asthma or COPD. However, bronchiectasis may occur together with those conditions.
- Chronic cough is persistently troublesome cough lasting 2 months or longer. This type of cough is often dry and not productive. In severe cases the ‘coughing fit’ can trigger laryngospasm, which results in difficulty breathing. Often chest x-rays, CT scan of the chest and other tests are normal in individuals with longstanding dry chronic cough. Chronic cough can cause considerable physical and psychological distress and impacts quality of life.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), formerly referred to as emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and difficulty or discomfort in breathing. It is treatable but not reversible.
Interstitial Lung Disease
- Interstitial lung disease (ILD) and pulmonary fibrosis are synonymous terms that are used to describe a group of lung diseases that cause scarring of the lung. Causes of ILD include environmental or occupational exposures, connective tissue diseases, medications, prior lung infections, and rare systemic diseases. In some cases, the cause is unknown. The clinical course, treatment options, and prognosis of a specific ILD will depend on its underlying cause. Common symptoms of ILD include shortness of breath and dry cough.
- Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers), accounting for 15% of all cancer cases. Men and women are affected in equal numbers, and it is estimated that 1 in 15 Canadians will develop lung cancer in their lifetimes. Approximately 30 000 Canadians are diagnosed with lung cancer per year.
Nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease
- Pleural disease occurs in the pleural space, a thin, fluid-filled area located between the two membranes that overlay the lungs and chest. Several disorders and complications can occur in the pleural space, such as pneumothorax, pleural effusion, pleural tumors, pneumonia, and pleurisy. To determine the cause and to treat the symptoms of a pleural effusion, a minor procedure called a thoracentesis is often required. Chronic symptomatic effusions may be managed by insertion of an indwelling pleural catheter.
Post-intensive care and post-acute COVID pulmonary evaluation
Pre-operative pulmonary assessment
Sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing
Lung Tests and Procedures
- CT Scan
- Spirometry testing
- Exhaled nitric oxide
- Sleep studies (polysomnogram)
- Thoracentesis and indwelling pleural catheters