It was July 2010 when I wrote my first blog ‘Hello and welcome to all’. Today it is time to look back. Five years is a long time in the world of copd. Many diagnosed each year do not expect to survive five, let alone the 28 years I have. We have to accept we do have a progressive illness although very many of us live on for years with this condition. Most die with copd and not as a result of copd, so if you are new to this blog. Don’t worry. Read on. And please look back on past blogs.
We learn to manage – some through reading blogs written by sufferers such as myself. I have written about many subjects including how I learned to pace so I could breathe better. Learned the simple art of breathing. Many of us simply do not breathe right. Described how my condition deteriorated to having to use oxygen for mobility, while nearly killing myself while in denial.
Yet whatever I have suffered, I have remained an optimist. I have spent ‘bad weather days’ researching copd to see what scientists have done in their quest for anything that may help us. Seeking out small papers as well as large ones. It was a small paper that offered a valuable insight into vitamin D five years ago that led to me deciding to start to take a 5,000 iu capsule of D a day.
It is sometimes hard to quantify what help a product gives. How many exacerbation has taking a D supplement prevented – if any? Would my health have been worse had I not been taking a supplement? These are questions that can never be answered . Even if my inner gut feeling says I would have been much worse if I had not chosen the route I am on now.
I know D3 is produced by the skin when out in bright sunshine, and that the older you are, the harder it is for the body to produce it. I also know that in the UK where I live, the sun is only strong enough for seven months the year to be good for us. Yet often bad weather lasting for days will prevent exposure to strong sunlight. I also know not having enough D serum in the blood is bad for the health. I have often wondered at the high death rates of relatively young people in Scotland, UK, compared to the South of England. There is much less strong sunshine in the far north. Could it be low D levels cause early deaths in our far northern parts? It is known D is good in many ways, that it could be considered dangerous to have very low levels in the blood.
I proved how essential vitamin D is for the bones. Rickets is returning in children in the northern hemisphere. A scourge that was once all but eliminated in the western world. The result of staying in on games machines, or the computer no doubt. Not out playing enough, maybe covered up too much with sun screen. Not enough D and your bones are not strong. And us adults as we grow older? The bones weaken. Become thinner, easier to break. More so if like me you often take steroids for your illness.
When I was in my 20’s I had another lung illness – sarcoidosis. So was prescribed strong steroids for a long period. Later in life after copd had been diagnosed and that progressed I was again prescribed steroids at times. Today I take a maintenance 10mg daily. I simply cannot do without them as without my breathing is so much worse. Quality of life is sometimes more important than worrying too much about later effects We have to breathe – right?
I have taken 5,000 iu of vitamin D daily for five years. Several months ago my doctor asked the hospital to call me in for a bone scan. He wanted to see any damage that may have been wreaked by my prednisolone use. Steroids are known to cause osteoporosis and thinning of the spine. A common side effect which can leave sufferers with fractured hips and damaged spines. During my consultation I informed him I have taken D3 for many years. As I had kept that quiet all them years he was amazed and instantly saw me as a kind of test subject. Far from getting scoffed at or told off he said that decision might have saved me from bone and spinal damage to an extent. And was more than interested to see my results when they returned.
I have to admit to being a little nervous as the results were put onto the computer screen for me to see. There was no need. My bones were on the upper band of normal, as is my spine. No damage has been suffered at all. Indeed not only are they strong, but stronger than normal. Despite a long history of taking steroids. Again my gut instinct was proved right. At the end of my results was the advice to keep taking vitamin D at the dose I take now.
You may like to Google vitamin D to find out more before you decide to embark on taking a supplement yourself. If you are low in the most important of vitamins it take a couple of months to get back to normal. A D supplement is not like taking an aspirin but the effects will become noticeable. You could even ask your doctor to have your blood tested for vitamin D levels.
If you do start to take a supplement, or have because of earlier article I have written on this subject I would love to hear from you to tell me your experience. You can contact me on the contact me tag at the top of this page. For now. Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, keep that smile and the world smiles with you, but most of all, breathe easy.
In the meantime maybe you would like to listen to one of my favorite artists. And songs.