10 tips for winter

Cold, dry air and an increased risk of upper respiratory infections can worsen asthma symptoms during the winter. Washing your hands frequently, exercising indoors, and taking other healthy steps can help you keep a handle on asthma attacks.

  1. Wash your hands! 
  2. Don’t sit by the fireplace. “The more evidence we have, the more we realize that burning wood is like burning tobacco,” explains Todd Rambasek, MD, of ENT & Allergy Health Services in Cleveland.
  3. Keep your mouth closed. Ideally, you want to breathe through your nose, not your mouth, when you’re out in the cold because the nose warms up the air for the lungs, Dr. Rambasek says.
  4. Replace filters. Your home heating system may blow dust and debris throughout your house, especially when you first start it up for the winter. It’s important to clean and replace filters before turning on your system so as not to release the debris.
  5. Exercise indoors. On days when it’s bitterly cold outside and the wind chill makes it feel like it’s below zero, Li recommends going to the gym instead of exercising outside. “The temperatures and the humidity in the gym are less likely to cause a problem,” she says.
  6. Warm up before working out. A recent study showed that people with asthma recover faster and have greater lung function after exercising when they are warmed up.
  7. Take steps to prevent asthma flares. Take a preventive dose of your asthma medicine before heading outside, whether to exercise, walk the dog, or run errands.
  8. Have an asthma action plan. No matter what the season, you should always know what to do if your asthma symptoms flare.
  9. Take your medications. It’s important to follow your treatment plan regardless of the time of year. Don’t let a busy work or social schedule cause you to ignore your health.

Keeping your asthma under control may take a little more effort in the cold of winter, but these strategies should get you through the season without worsened symptoms.

References: http://www.everydayhealth.com/

Natural ways to keep your oxygen levels up

Lung diseases belong to the most common disorders worldwide, with many varieties, from temporary infections to chronic diseases like chronic asthma and the progressive COPD. Patients suffering from any of these, are often prescribed strong medicines that often have many side effects. Of course these medicines also have their benefits, but for many lung disorders there are also more natural alternatives, that can help keeping your lungs in the best possible condition and ease the breathing without the burden of side effects.


Eucalyptus against acute bronchitis

Everybody catches a cold once in a while. Actually this is a healthy phenomenon, that urges your body to a good clean up. But sometimes you just can’t get rid of it and it results in a persistent dry cough. This could be an acute bronchitis; an infection of the bronchi, the large and medium sized airways in the lungs. A simple but effective remedy for this is Eucalyptus. The active ingredient in Eucalyptus is cineole, also known as eucalyptol, amongst other names. Cineole is expectorant, anti-inflammatory and dilates the bronchi by relaxing them. This was proven in a research program where patients were given pills with cineole or a placebo. The group that received the cineole pills recovered significantly faster than the placebo group. An alternative to cineole pills is eucalyptus oil; a few drops in a bowl of hot water make a wonderful steam bath, that reliefs your symptoms.

Coltsfoot to relief emphysema

Emphysema is an incurable progressive lung disease, causing shortness of breath and cough with sputum production. Coltsfoot, is traditionally used for treating obstruction of the airways. Its scientific name is Tussilago farfara, where Tussilago is derived from the latin tussis meaning cough, and ago meaning to act on. Both flowers and leaves can be used to make an infusion that relieves the coughing. A warning is in its place here, as Tussilago farfara contains tumorigenic pyrrolizidine alkaloids and can cause liver diseases in infants. A new variety called Tussilago farfara ‘Wien’ has been developed and registered, which has no detectable levels of these alkaloids and can be used safely.

Magnesium benefits asthma patients

A well performed study with 55 asthma patients, both male and female, showed that magnesium supplements are beneficial for mild to moderate asthma sufferers. From the two groups, one receiving magnesium and the other receiving a placebo, the first showed a significant improvement in their lung function and general quality of life.

Salt treatment for bronchitis

Bronchitis is a chronic disease characterised by a permanent enlargement of parts of the airways leading to the lungs. Main symptoms are a chronic cough productive of mucus and shortness of breath. There is little treatment for this disease, but lately a completely natural therapy with salt appears very promising. This so called Halotherapy, derived from the Greek ‘halos’, which means salt, has actually been used for millennia in ancient salt caves in Eastern Europe. The atmospheric salt concentrations of these caves are being reproduces in salt chambers, where walls, ceiling and floor are covered with salt. The salty air is said to be beneficial for lungs and airways and can relieve the symptoms of many lung diseases, especially those of bronchiectasis.

Lung infections can be battled with oregano oil

The essential oil of oregano is an effective remedy for both bacterial as fungal infections of the airways. It contains thymol and carvacrol, both substances of which has been scientifically proven that they inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi. In tests on 25 different bacteria strains the essential oil was highly efficacious on all of them. The oil of Origanum syriacum, a species from the mint family native to the Middle East, is especially rich in thymol and carvacol. Supplements containing this oil can be easily obtained. If you want to use the pure essential oil, it is wise to consult a registered natural healer, who can advise you on the best suitable way and dosage. Also keep in mind that essential oils can trigger allergic reactions in some people.


Ref: Medisch dossier, Sept. 2016; Wikipedia


A healthy lifestyle also helps to keep your lungs healthy!

We all know that a healthy lifestyle can help us lose weight, get more energy and give us a better quality of life in general. But it is little known that good exercise and healthy food is especially beneficial for the well-being of your lungs also, both for people who still have healthy lungs as for people who suffer from any lung disease already.


Exercising doesn’t necessarily mean exhausting yourself

For people who have a lung disease, like asthma or COPD, exercising often seems just bridge too far. But exercising does not have to be strenuous. A small research with COPD patients doing mild exercises in a bath filled with warm spring water showed a remarkable reduction of their symptoms and improvement of the condition of their lungs as well as their oxygen saturation. Also special training like yoga or tai chi have seen to be very wholesome for COPD patients, and can even slow down the progression of diseases like emphysema.

For asthma patients, especially those suffering from exercise-induced asthma, a simple exercise as blowing in a bottle regularly, can improve their lung function significantly. This was demonstrated by a research where 212 patients were asked to blow into a bottle every 4 hours, during 4 months. After this period their FEV (Forced Expiratory Volume, which is the amount of air that can be blown out in a one second forced exhalation) showed a stable improvement of their lung function. Apart from that they needed to use their inhalers a lot less during this period. 65-75% of the improvement remained for over half a year, even without blowing in the bottle.

It seems only logical that, if these simple exercises are so beneficial to already damaged lungs, they would be just perfect to keep your still healthy lungs in tip top shape. So don’t wait until it is too late, start exercising and let your lungs absorb the oxygen to energise your body. No need for exhausting exercises, a nice walk in the fresh air, that you can breathe in deeply, is sufficient and may be even the best!

Eat vegetables and fruits to keep your lungs in the best possible condition

More and more scientists and researchers emphasise the importance of eating ample fruit and veggies, around 400 grams daily, to keep our bodies healthy. Specific research has recently shown that especially our lungs also benefit from this kind of diet. A researcher from the section Health & Environment from the University of Washington in Seattle found that frequent consumption of vegetables and fruits reduces the chance to develop COPD or other lung diseases, while for people already suffering from COPD, it improved their lung function significantly. Other research found that eating fruits and vegetables offers protection against lung cancer.

If possible, try to get biological products, as these contain more anti oxidants than the regularly grown vegetables and fruits. Furthermore, the biological varieties contain more polyphenols. Both anti oxidants and polyphenols are known to have anti inflammatory and anti carcinogenic properties.

Ref: Medisch dossier, Sept. 2016; Wikipedia

Great awareness from Star Trek

Julie Nimoy is the daughter of Leonard Nimoy and co-producer of COPD: Highly Illogical—A Special Tribute to Leonard Nimoy, while David Knight is Julie’s husband and co-producer of COPD: Highly Illogical. – See more at: http://www.startrek.com/article/nimoys-copd-doctor-discusses-stars-final-wish#sthash.rBCjgzWf.dpuf



Rheumatoid Arthritis Also Damages Your Lungs

Rheumatoid arthritis is a well-known disease for causing damage to joints, however the disease can also affect your lungs. It can cause damage to the tissue around the joints as well as your eyes, heart and lungs.


“We call it rheumatoid arthritis, but we should really call it rheumatoid disease,” says Elinor Mody, MD, director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Women’s Orthopaedic and Joint Disease Centre in Boston. Besides the joints, the “heart and lungs are the most commonly affected,” Mody says. Doctors aren’t sure how or why rheumatoid arthritis causes other organs to suffer, but lung complications of rheumatoid arthritis can be serious and even cause death.

Interstitial Lung Disease

Rheumatoid arthritis-associated interstitial lung disease, or RA-ILD, is the most serious lung complication for people with rheumatoid arthritis. This illness can be hard to detect, but occurs when lung tissue becomes inflamed and eventually scarred.

* Smoking increases the risk of developing it but non-smokers do develop RA-ILD.

* It causes breathlessness and a dry cough, but in many cases it is symptomless making it difficult to be able to detect it early enough to try and treat it.

* There are trials going on at the moment trialling new drugs to try and treat it but nothing has been very successful so far making the disease difficult to treat, other than treating the symptoms.

Pulmonary Fibrosis

The inflammation and scarring caused by RA-ILD can lead to pulmonary fibrosis and permanent scarring of the lung tissues. The air sacs are gradually replaced by scar tissue reducing the respiratory capability of the lungs and resulting in shortness of breath.

* Supplemental oxygen can be used to help make breathing easier but it cannot reverse the dame done by pulmonary fibrosis.

* Methotrexate is a drug commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, however this drug also causes pulmonary fibrosis. If you are on this drug then your

respiratory status needs to be carefully monitored.


Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause nodules to form in the throat and on the vocal cords, causing complications like hoarseness and other changes. Nodules can develop in the lungs as well, but usually don’t cause symptoms and patients may never notice them.

Prevention of Respiratory Issues

Because of the high risk of complications due to rheumatoid arthritis-associated lung disease and the fact that there is little treatment available, prevention is key. To help reduce your risk:

* Don’t smoke. If you do, ask your doctor for suggestions about how to quit smoking immediately. Chemicals found in cigarettes can irritate already delicate lung tissue, leading to further complications.

* Have regular check-ups. Your doctor should listen to your lungs and monitor your breathing at each visit as lung problems that are detected early can be easier to treat. Talk to your doctor about any shortness of breath you’re experiencing and ask about changing medications or starting supplemental oxygen therapy to help ease symptoms.

References: http://www.everydayhealth.com

Exercise table could help alleviate COPD symptoms

A team of researchers in America have developed and are currently testing out a table that may be able to help patients that suffer from the effects of COPD.

COPD Research helped in the creation of the Exhale Fully Table as demonstrated by Jared Kerr & David Giordano PHOTO BY: BRADLEY PEARCE/UNCW
COPD Research helped in the creation of the Exhale Fully Table as demonstrated by Jared Kerr & David Giordano PHOTO BY: BRADLEY PEARCE/UNCW

The team consists of people from all disciplines that have come together to pool their knowledge of COPD and patient’s pulmonary care and treatment to help these patients to improve their breathing.

The table is based on a gravity-powered approach to improve ventilation as well as helping to clear mucus. The table appears stable but in fact rocks forward and backwards with weight. The person on the exercise table lifts and pulls a bar while rocking the table forward

As the person pushes away the table then rocks backward resulting in the person’s feet being higher than their head. This movement forces air out of the lungs, which is normally difficult for a COPD patient to do and therefore reduces the difficulty of breathing for the patient. This approach also uses gravity to help the tiny hairs in the lungs to move the mucus along the trachea as well as the gravity also helping to move the lymphatic fluid out of the lungs. The movement of the abdominal viscera also moves the diaphragm which also reduces the effort of breathing.

The table not only aids the lungs and breathing but also benefits the rest of the body. The gravity effect on the body results in the drainage of lymphatic fluid from the arms and legs, improving circulation and reducing swelling.

One of the founders of the company is himself a COPD sufferer and says that the table has alleviated his symptoms greatly but the table is currently being vigorously tested in trials.

References: http://copdnewstoday.com

Using opioids worsens your COPD

COPD patients are often prescribed opioids such as codeine, oxycodone and morphine to provide relief from common symptoms such as muscoskeletal pain, insomnia and respiratory issues. However it has been shown by researchers in Toronto, Canada that opioids can induce additional respiratory side effects and that new opioid users have 5 times a greater risk of death compared to non-opioid users. These results raise serious safety concerns about the use of opioids for older adults with COPD.


“This is a population that has a chronic lung disease, with symptoms that can sometimes be challenging to manage,” said Dr. Nicholas Vozoris, lead author of the study. “This class of drugs may offer some relief; however, there is also evidence suggesting that opioids can adversely affect breathing and lung health in people who already have chronically compromised lungs.”

Previous studies reported that opioids were safe for patients with advanced COPD but the results were not reliable due to study limitations.

In this new study over 130,000 patient records were examined from multiple healthcare databases to try to ensure the results were more generally applicable and reliable.

“Previous research has shown about three-quarters of older adults with COPD have been prescribed opioids, which is an incredibly high rate of new use in a population that is potentially more sensitive to narcotics,” Vozoris said. “Our new findings show there are not only increased risks for respiratory-related death associated with new opioid use, but also increased risk of visits to emergency rooms, hospitalizations and needing antibiotics or steroid pills.”

The team found that those who used opioids had an increased risk of 14% or ending up in the emergency department and nearly 3 times the risk of COPD or pneumonia-related mortality. They even have an overall mortality risk of 76% compared to non-opioid users. Opioids were however found to decrease the risk of respiratory exacerbations by 12%.

The higher risks were found in patients using stronger or higher dosage opioids however many risks were unaffected by dosage if you were a new user.

Opioids can impact COPD patients in several ways such as respiratory depression, reduced mucous clearance from cough suppression, and immunosuppressive effect.

To lower the risks of adverse events doctors may prescribe less potent or lower dosage opioids but the results of the current study showed increased risk of complications and even death regardless of dose amount among new opioid users. Vosoriz said the finding is important because lower doses were long considered safe.

“Sometimes patients are looking for a quick fix for chronic pain or breathing issues and physicians may believe opioids can offer them some relief,” he added. “The trade-off becomes explaining that there are risks to patients and making sure they understand that potentially alleviating their symptoms could come at a higher cost to their health.”

An individual multi-disciplinary approach is better as a treatment plan rather than just prescribing opioids. Making use of pulmonary rehabilitation, supplemental oxygen therapy, exercise and lifestyle changes in conjunction with medication is best way forward for COPD patients.

References: http://copdnewstoday.com and http://lungdiseasenews.com