The announcement of a new club in Newton may come as a breath of fresh air to those struggling with asthma, emphysema or other chronic respiration problems.
Registered respiratory therapist Cindy Bartz is helping to organize a local chapter of the Better Breathers Club, and she encourages community members with breathing problems to get involved.
“We hope to educate and hopefully get them to more of a normal quality of life experience than maybe they had previously,” she said.
The Better Breathers Club is a national organization sponsored by the American Lung Association. The club is for those with a variety of chronic breathing problems, such as asthma and emphysema.
The Harvey County chapter of the Better Breathers Club had its first meeting in May, and about 40 people showed up, Bartz said. The club will meet quarterly, and the next session will be at 2 p.m. Aug. 1 at Newton Medical Center.
The club is free to join, and meetings typically last one and a half to two hours.
Bartz said the club functions as a support group and an
educational avenue: Club members have a chance to hear special guest speakers, ask questions, and interact with other people who struggle with chronic breathing problems.
Bartz works with the respiratory therapy department at Newton Medical Center, which helps patients (ranging in age from newborns to the elderly) relieve breathing problems and open up airways. The department also does diagnostic testing and sleep studies. Some of the most frequent breathing problems Bartz sees locally are COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and asthma.
She said the goal of the club is to help people learn to cope with their disease and improve their quality of life.
“I think people with chronic breathing issues can really lead a very normal life,” she said.
For more information about the Harvey County chapter of the Better Breathers Club, call 804-6070.