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  • Asthma and COPD

    What is COPD? Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

    COPD is a chronic lung disease usually caused by smoking. COPD includes several lung diseases, and the most common are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Many people with COPD have both of these diseases.

    Chronic bronchitis

    Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the airways that makes them narrow and become clogged with mucus. If you have chronic bronchitis, you will cough a lot to get rid of these secretions. Inflammation may become permanent, and over time your lungs may have trouble getting enough air. Chronic bronchitis represents 85% of cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


    A less common disease, emphysema causes the alveoli in the lungs (where gases are exchanged) to lose their elasticity and become deformed or destroyed. When the alveoli are destroyed or damaged, the lack of elasticity makes it impossible for the lungs to easily get rid of air. The tissue starts to develop many holes, which reduces the lungs’ ability to exchange gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide). Breathing then becomes more difficult and ineffective. This creates a lasting feeling of shortness of breath.

    COPD services

    COPD education group
    This program helps users and their families get the information and skills they need to start and maintain behaviour changes to manage COPD on a daily basis. Self-management of the disease is a key part of the program. The education is done in a group format. “Living Well with COPD” is a scientifically validated Quebec program that has 8 modules on different aspects of the disease.
    For more information, see your doctor. 

    RESPIR program (outpatient network for people with respiratory failure)
    This program provides long-term support (with a medical referral) for people with moderate or severe COPD who meet the eligibility criteria. A history of hospitalization for COPD complications is the main RESPIR referral criteria. A nurse clinician will provide you with long-term telephone follow-up at specific intervals based on the severity of your medical and psychological condition and social situation. Notes on your health are regularly updated and given to you. You can also get in touch with the RESPIR program nurse clinician, who acts as your case manager.
    For more information, see your doctor.

    COPD signs and symptoms

    Some people with COPD en/home/glossary/detail/?tx_dpnglossary_glossarydetail[controller]=Term&tx_dpnglossary_glossarydetail[action]=show&tx_dpnglossary_glossarydetail[term]=34&tx_dpnglossary_glossarydetail[pageUid]=1142&cHash=b067500a4828d4ef01dc264843f0b54bsay that it feels like they are breathing through a straw. COPD symptoms include:

    • Shortness of breath
    • Cough
    • Abundant mucus

    Risk factors

    Overall, 90% of COPD cases are caused by smoking. Other causes include:

    • Heredity.
    • Second-hand smoke.
    • Pollution in the air, at the workplace and in the environment (dust or chemicals).
    • History of childhood lung infections.

    Prevent COPD

    COPD is generally preventable. Since it is usually caused by smoking, you can prevent it by not smoking. If you are a smoker, you can reduce your risk of developing COPD by quitting smoking as soon as possible. It’s never too late to quit!

    Recovery and support

    Unfortunately, COPD can’t be cured. However, you can slow its progression by quitting smoking. This is the best way to start feeling better. 

    Other COPD resources

    /typo3conf/l10n/fr/rtehtmlarea/Resources/Private/Language/fr.locallang_accessibilityicons.xlf:external_link_new_window_altText Canadian Lung Association
    /typo3conf/l10n/fr/rtehtmlarea/Resources/Private/Language/fr.locallang_accessibilityicons.xlf:external_link_new_window_altText Quebec Asthma and COPD Network
    /typo3conf/l10n/fr/rtehtmlarea/Resources/Private/Language/fr.locallang_accessibilityicons.xlf:external_link_new_window_altText Réseau québécois d’éducation en santé respiratoire

    Ouvre un lien interne dans la fenêtre couranteCentre d'abandon du tabagisme (CAT)

    What is Asthma?

    Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways. When the mucosa (the inner linings of the airways) become inflamed, they get red, have swelling (called “edema”), and increase secretions.

    If you have asthma and are exposed to a trigger (like an allergen, irritant or pathogen), your airways narrow from the contraction of the airway muscles, and the inner lining becomes inflamed. This inflammation increases secretions that prevent air from flowing through the lungs.


    Asthma symptoms include trouble breathing when your airways get blocked. In some cases:

    • A cough is the only symptom you will have. This cough often occurs at night or early in the morning, with effort or when you are exposed to cold air.
    • Your breathing can become more rapid (shortness of breath).
    • Your breathing can become wheezy.
    • You may feel pressure in your chest.
    • You will probably have increased lung secretions.  

    Asthma services

    The Asthma Education Centre (CEA) educates people with asthma and their families to help you control your disease and improve your quality of life.

    Through one-on-one sessions, our staff will help you and address your various needs. You will also receive telephone follow-up.

    To better cope with your disease, you need to know your symptoms and at which point you have lost control of your asthma. At these meetings, the staff member will discuss your triggers, things to change in your environment, as well as medication and how to use your medication.

    You will then be better able to control your asthma, which means:

    • You can lead a normal life that includes exercise.
    • You can keep your asthma symptoms to a minimum and use as little medication as possible.
    • Your asthma won’t disrupt your sleep.
    • Your breathing will be more stable or as stable as possible.

    Three of our facilities have a CEA:

    Hôpital de la Cité-de-la-Santé
    450-668-1010, extension 23862
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    Ambulatory Care Centre
    450-978-8601, extension 4
    450-978-8301 (pediatrics)
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    CLSC de Sainte-Rose
    450-622-5110, extension 64909
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    An asthmatic woman is holding an inhaler.