Stress can make copd worse as can trying to rush.

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After a three month absence from blogging it is good to sit here at my desk typing another. I was going to write about the weather and copd. But will instead keep you all up to speed about what has happened this last few months.

The past winter was quite uneventful with at least hospital admissions being avoided. I have learned well how to deal with upcoming problems quickly to stop a potential serious situation becoming critical. Constant flare ups every six to eight weeks from early Autumn proved a trial that had to be solved. These being proved to be an inflammation problem. Not surprising given that ours is an inflammatory illness. The NAC capsule I take each morning has really done well in stopping the muck getting on my chest without any side effects. I am sure Hemp seed oil is helping too, and of course the vitamin D3 capsule keeps my bones in good shape, essential if taking any steroids, as well as firing up the immune system to maximum values. I do now take 10mg of prednisolone a day to keep the inflammation down. But am one of the lucky ones as preds do not seem to affect me while definitely stopping this inflammatory cycle I have had. It really does seem to be the devil and the deep blue sea sometimes but in the end have to choose what we feel is best for us.

As you and I know our condition is often one of not knowing if tomorrow will be a good, or bad day. Bad days often arriving without warning, or apparent reason. How I hate them, while also out the blue we can get good days when breathing is better and we can do so much more. Sadly them kind of days are rare.

I have been very busy since my last blog. And have had to keep pushing, keep moving to make things happen. We must always keep moving. Even if at times we don’t feel like doing anything.

During January and February we had an extensive house renovation to the house we have now moved into. Our new home had to be made disabled friendly for me, a complete bathroom refit, stair lift, and other essential work. Work to be done before the move and not after to cut a dust problem. My job was to employ and oversee builders. Fair play to them all, they stopped work if doing anything dusty to allow me to walk around when on site looking at what was being done, knowing how fragile our condition can be, and with me walking around with oxygen.

Mid March we moved into our now refurbished home. After our last move four years ago. And knowing I could now do nothing useful unless sitting at a desk, and having now learned to delegate I decided to become the tea boy for the lads doing the move. Which in my case made this the least stressful moving house experience I have ever had in my life.

We must remember – stress will almost certainly make us with copd more breathless than usual, and trying to push yourself too fast will probably have you gasping for breath. We really do have to learn our limits. And keep to them for a better life. Believe me. I learned these lessons the hard way.

I am hoping for a new venture in the coming months, and have an interview, where I have to give a five minute presentation, for a research organisation in the hope of becoming a Research Champion next week. The strange thing is that since I started to do work for different organisations wearing a canulla and using oxygen, even more doors have opened. Opportunities seem to bounce at me. The message here for you guys that are given oxygen for mobility but refuse to go out the door for fear of what others may think is, get out there. You will be admired for doing so. And like me you will enjoy life more while finding a reason to, as I say, get your body moving. And if like me you have a skill you can use in a volunteer capacity. You will find doors opened for you very willingly. Even though like me you move slow, and use oxygen. For those of you not at the severe stage and needing oxygen. I cannot stress enough. If you do not work make sure you keep active. Because by keeping active you will help to slow the progress down and add many more years to your life.

Next month I am looking forward to a holiday (vacation) where I will be hiring a few trampers and roaming around some very pretty coastal and country locations. As usual my camera’s will be with me so hopefully will be able to share some photo’s with you when I return.

Many thanks to you guys that have written to me this last couple of months, and to those asking after me. Keep a smile. Keep moving. And best of all. Till my next blog, Breathe Easy.

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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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