Alternatives that may help copd.

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There is little doubt that each one of us is hunting the holy grail. That magic pill that will make us better. Lead us to boundless energy. To go about our day without breathlessness. And that is very normal. After all many of us have had to change our entire lives because of our illness. A lot of us have become disabled, and we yearn for that magic pill that will rid us of bad lungs.

I have to tell you that there is not. At least at this present time. That I know of anything that will make us better. But. There are things out there that can help to stabilise us. To make us feel better. And even to prolonging our lives. But be warned. There is the good. And the bad. There are lots of people out there willing to take your cash for their benefit while offering you a service that they know will not do anything good at all. Most these potions will claim they can cure just about any ailment you have heard of. Because those selling these products know. If it would make us better. We would take the most vile, expensive medication it was possible to find.

After much searching and testing I have found three that I can recommend. I make no promises for you. But I firmly believe they help me.

Vitamin D3 supplement. I read a research paper some years ago that stated it was believed vitamin D would help poorly lungs. And that it was found most with COPD had low levels of D3. More research concluded D raised the immune system and was important to many functions of the body including protecting the bones. In reality D is a hormone essential to not only our well being. But our general health too. After reading this research I started taking a 5,000 iu capsule of D3 a day and have continued to every day of the year since. My wife has also takes the same and it seems to have improved her health. I still get exacerbations at times caused by lung inflammation. But I don’t get colds. I have not had flu. My general health if you exclude my lungs is good. And my FEV1 is stable.

The good news is vitamin D is very inexpensive and easily obtainable in all countries. If you live in a place where this is not ample sunshine. Or where there is but you do not go out much. D could help you. It takes a couple of months to get the full value of this sunshine capsule. But believe me. This is one I will not leave out. Before I started to take vitamin D I used to also suffer from SAD. The winter seasonal depressive disorder caused by lack of sunshine. Since taking this supplement I have not suffered from SAD. Which is amazing in itself.

Late last year after doing more research. Don’t I love my research papers. I came across Hemp seed oil. Yes OK. Oil made from cannabis seeds. When I first heard of it I was amused. Was I now about to become a junkie to help in my quest for that magic potion. I had no need to worry as quickly learned it is impossible to get high from the oil. And is legal in Europe. Reading further I was amazed with the qualities Hemp seed oil offered. Better omega -3 qualities than fish oil, Sterols that lower cholesterol, rich in minerals like phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulfur and calcium and containing an excellent balance of polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is easy to see how it helps protect your heart and cardiovascular system. Also supporting the immune system while being good for skin and nails. With other claims Hemp seed oil aids us with lung problems. Including lowering inflammation this was one that had to be tried.

I ordered hemp seed oil from Amazon, and started to take 2 teaspoons a day. Most noticeable is arms that were bruised often because of steroids taken are no longer covered in bruises. And my nails and skin seem more healthy. When I used to wake in the morning I would hear a sound like a very fast heartbeat as I lay on my right side on the pillow, a bit like the sound of a fast train. That is no more. Whatever that was seems to have been stopped by the hemp seed oil. Strange but true.

The latest for my test is a 600mg day capsule of NAC. (N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine ). This gained my attention because a prescribed medication to thin mucus called Mucodyne gave me stomach problems. Often I felt queasy, or had pain when using it. After learning that NAC thinned mucus, and NAC was reputed to reduce inflammation I decided there was little to lose. Amazingly this was another product available on Amazon so quickly ordered it. I can say it does thin the mucus. And I feel fine. Another that will as long as it continues to do this that will be kept on my list. I cannot comment on reduction of inflammation in the lungs. But have had little problems other than weather related breathless this last few months.

All three of these products are inexpensive. I have covered only a little about each one, so you may like to Google each to read about claimed benefits yourself. Yes I still get breathless. No I am not cured. But can claim to not have had the awful problem that have beset many others that have copd this winter. I am not going to claim any of these will help you. We are all different even though I believe they have each benefited me. But you may decide they are worth a try. If you do don’t forget to let me know if any of these helped you.

My next blog is going to be about how weather effects us and how to prepare for being breathless by listening to the weather forecast. For now though Breathe easy. Try to bring a smile to your lips for there is always someone worse off than ourselves, stay active, and most of all be positive..

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Breathe easier. Keep active.

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I hate the approach of winter as the season makes it harder to breathe, and can make mobility harder. Do you? Today’s blog is written to offer some advice I have learned that hopefully will make your life that little better.

The first thing to realise is just like hot days is bad for us, so is cold. Cold constricts your respiratory system making for more laboured breathing. Cold will leave you more open to infection, and worse still, pneumonia. If possible both for your safety and comfort keep your home above about 68F (20c) by day. I often say I don’t do cold. The reason is I know the importance of keeping warm to protect myself. My home is a constant 70F (21c) or a little above by day. With the heat turned down to about 66F (18c) at night.

We have to move our bodies. Even if restricted by outside weather. But before you do any exercise indoors or out you will find you will breathe easier, and your task is more enjoyable, if you take a couple of puffs of your rescue inhaler a few minutes before you are going to do any exercise. Keep your pump with you at all times. And learn the rule for an easier better life.

Another big mistake I made until told the correct way by my respiratory nurse is in the use of oxygen. I use o2 for mobility. I used to rise from my seat at rest, put my cannula on and move. Wrong move. For an easier life put your cannula on with your oxygen flow a couple of minutes before rising to oxygenate your blood first. You will be amazed how much easier this makes life if like me you only use oxygen for mobility.

Another problem we have is breathing becomes harder in winter. Sometimes we feel like our lungs are heavy and we are sucking in lead air. I am sure if you are stage 3 and 4 for sure you know what I mean. There is a reason , and to an extent a cure.

Before I became disabled by emphysema I used to do a lot of walking up mountains, and across very high ground. As proved by a portable barometer I once took with me as you climb, air pressure becomes lower. And lower air pressure means less oxygen. This is plain sometimes when I climb one of my local mountains on a super scooter (cart) that lets me ride rough ground. I don’t need oxygen seated. But quickly found much above 1700 foot I do, seated or not. Less pressure equals less oxygen.

During winter we often get deep depressions with very low air pressure. This air then has lower oxygen content, but with less pressure is harder to get o2 into your bloodstream. This is the reason you may find your breathing harder and sometimes if on oxygen you need more during winter. When there is a storm about be aware.

During winter humidity is higher outdoors. Humidity above 70% is classed as wet air and can be damaging both to your home and health. When you rise in the morning the wet on the inside of your windows is excess moisture inside the home condensed on the cooler window pain.

Hospitals in the UK have low humidity inside their walls for good reason. High humidity causes mould to grow, airborne germs and bacteria to thrive, and dust mites too. Lower the humidity is death to all these as they struggle in humidity below 60%.

Mould is dangerous to us as the spores in damp air can get in our lungs and make us ill. Opening the window will not help a lot as although the humidity in your home maybe 78% – outside it might well be 94%. But will in winter in just about all cases be higher than in the home. Is it any wonder that cold, low pressure, and humidity makes our life so much harder, and more miserable.

You can lower humidity by using a dehumidifier. I have used one for many years now and it makes an amazing difference to my home and comfort. And am often equally amazed by just how much water is sucked out the air. If you can afford to I would recommend you buy a de-humidifier. My home would have a much higher humidity that would make my lungs feel like lead without. I run my machine for an hour in the morning and two in the evening during the cold months, although how much you would need to use yours depends on many factors including build and weather. My home in winter is kept to a comfortable 60% humidity.Remember. Winter is our enemy. But there are ways to fight it.

I hope this short blog has given you a better understanding of how winter weather hurts us. And ways to combat that. If this blog helps just one person I consider it worth writing.
Whatever you are doing. Remember to be positive. Smile and watch that happiness returned. But most of all. Till my next blog, Breathe easy. ;)

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Interesting scientific results with lots learned.

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I was a little surprised to notice my last blog was written in August. Illness has not stopped me. The only reason being enjoying good weather and photography. I would be less than honest if I were to say that things were no harder than they were a year ago. COPD is progressive, and I do get a little more breathless than I used to. I do have to move slower at times. But as I often say. It is essential we keep moving.

A part of winter I really dislike is the coldest two or three months. The months when in the past I have often been housebound. Too cold,wet,windy, high humidity with lots of dampness in abundance during winter kicks me like a mule, leaving the only answer to stay home in the warm and dry. For that reason, I have ramped up my volunteer work. For some time I have worked with the British Lung Foundation, Wales. But have now extended into our local health board, and scientific studies paid for by the Welsh Government. The advantage is I get to go to meetings in a warm building. While meeting interesting people helping to ‘make a difference’ in our lives. I enjoy doing this as it give me a sense of purpose. Motivation to ‘move my body’. And I can see the results of the work I do.

This last week at a meeting we were told, I was part of a group of people, all with copd, have made medical history in Wales. The meeting was to show the results of scientific test I and others had agreed to be subjected to.

The tests was to check the difference in Arterial stiffness and Cardiovascular risk between copd patients, and those with good lung health. The non invasive procedures were amazing as was the equipment used. The most up to date in the word to test blood pressure in the heart. How long it takes for blood to move from one point to another. Bone density. Lung function. The heart. Aorta and arterial stiffness The tests were many. But non strenuous or taxing.

I learned the body is not made to last over 100 years. Better forget that immortality bit. Given enough time your arteries calcify into something almost as hard as bone. Blood pressure rises with age because of the hardening of the arteries and the aorta. I learned that most people over the age of 50 years have blood pressure higher than younger because of stiffening arteries and many will be classed as hypertensive at that stage. To top that your aorta and heart would wear out eventually anyway. The message is. Sorry but we are all dying. Who wants to live forever anyway. :)

A subject not often talked about is dying. In western society it seems to be something hidden away, as though it never happens. Death has never worried me. I cannot stop it. I am going to die. Although I would like to delay it by a few years. What most want is to live a long life. But not get so old we are infirm. Am I right?

COPD is an inflammatory disease. That is why you are given steroids sometimes. To get rid of some of that bad inflammation during an exacerbation. Some of the problem is that during a flare up the Aorta and arteries also become inflamed. And when that happens the part that was inflamed in the Aorta or arteries will calcify more. It is a slow process but is happening. As you get older your bones soften but your arteries harden. All pretty amazing stuff.

A treatment to help stop some of the extra calcifying us with copd have will be available hopefully soon. The good news is the drugs are already available as the same ones are prescribed for other illnesses. A raised heart beat, which most of us if left untreated with copd will have, when lowered, lessens the calcifying process. Watch this space. I will know when it becomes available generally for us copd patients.

Interestingly tests were taken on those with arterial hardening before and after pulmonary rehabilitation. And it was found that aortic and arterial stiffness improved with regular exercise, and blood pressure lowered at the same time. Proof that if you don’t get any exercise you are more at risk than someone that does. These results mean I will be moving my body more and be ready to huff and to puff more. Getting out of breath is not dangerous as long as your oxygen saturation is ok. If you have an oximeter keep a check to make sure you have a saturation of 90% or above at least. The end game will be we will live longer while having better tolerance to exercise. One piece of bad news is if you smoke your arteries calcify faster. Making smoking and copd end game stuff. Bet you are saying thank god I quit.

I will try to write another at least once a month. Many thanks for the many emails received from you guys over the last few months. I always appreciate them. Take care. Keep that smile. And don’t forget. Exercise is good. As is laughing. Till my next blog. Breathe easy.

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