Pineapple juice has been shown to be 5 times more effective than cough syrup. It fights infection, kills bacteria, loosens mucus and suppresses coughs.


Pineapple juice contains an enzyme called bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory properties and is effective to combat lung inflammation. It is used to treat arthritis and is also used in the treatment of inflammation and swelling in the nose and sinuses. 1 cup also contains half of your daily requirement of Vitamin C intake. Vitamin C is essential because as well as many other uses, it also enables your body to metabolize certain vital enzymes that regulate your metabolism and manage energy. Pineapple juice also contains manganese, which is a mineral that helps form healthy connective tissue and bones. It also works to absorb more calcium, metabolize carbohydrates and fats and increases regular nerve function. Pineapple juice helps to soothe sore throats and helps to loosen and expel mucus from your lungs more easily.

The study also indicates that the bromelain naturally present in pineapple may provide similar effects if the cough you suffer from is due to asthma. Pineapple juice has also been used to treat other respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, hay fever, asthma and pneumonia. It’s even being tested as a possible treatment for cancer and HIV.

Drinking pineapple juice instead of cough syrup is less expensive and has no toxic chemicals. Also a study also showed that when using pineapple juice patients recovered nearly 5 times faster from their ailments and exhibited a decrease in other symptoms related to coughing such as hacking.

If you suffer from persistent coughing from respiratory conditions such as COPD and asthma then by drinking pineapple juice not only does it soothe related ailments from persistent coughing but it suppresses the cough and helps to loosen mucus build-up and also aids in combating lung inflammation. This in itself can hugely improve your quality of life, help you to breathe better and help to reduce your symptoms and improve your condition. The naturally-occuring components also have other health benefits to aid in your overall health.

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Tips to help you get through the flu season

The Flu season is upon us and is generally considered to be the worst time of year for COPD patients and others that suffer from respiratory conditions. Because COPD often affects the immune system, as well as the ability to recover from common illnesses, you need to be vigilant to try and protect yourself from catching colds and the flu. Sometimes its difficult to tell whether you’ve just got a cold or the flu, but as both can exacerbate COPD it’s important to be able to distinguish between the two.


A cold usually begins with a sore throat followed by clear, watery nasal drainage, sneezing, fatigue and sometimes a slight fever. A mild cough is a common cold symptom and usually lasts into the second week of the cold. If you are coughing up dark mucus then you may have a bacterial infection and should see your doctor. A more severe fever or other symptoms would indicate that it is more likely to be the flu. With the flu your symptoms are more severe and you can feel very weak and fatigued for up to three weeks.

Each year the typical adult can expect to contract a cold twice and 50% risk of catching the flu. When you have conditions such as COPD your immune system is compromised and the damage to your lungs and airways and reduce the normal effect that the body has at naturally protecting itself from germs. There are lots of tips on how to prevent yourself from getting ill, to avoid exacerbations and to cut short the duration and reduce symptoms of your illness.

Eat yogurt for breakfast

The same live cultures that help ease digestive distress can help stave off a cold. Scientists found that people who consumed probiotics had 12 percent fewer upper respiratory infections. Research also showed that the group that took a probiotic supplement with Lactobacillus rhamnosus recovered two days earlier and had symptoms that were 34 percent less severe.

Open a window

Spending the day in a stuffy room with anyone who’s under the weather raises your risk of catching a bug. Letting a little fresh air circulate keeps airborne viral particles on the move, making them harder to pick up.

Turn away from sneezers

Moving out of firing range is crucial as germs carried in sneeze particles can travel 20 feet.

Stop touching your lips

Not touching your face greatly reduces your odds of getting sick. The average person puts a hand on her mouth or nose more than three times an hour. To break the habit, try sitting on your hands when they’re idle.

Get regular sleep

A study found that subjects who slept for fewer than seven hours were nearly three times as susceptible to colds as people who slept for at least eight hours.

Flush out your nose

Throughout cold season, add this to your night-time routine: Rinse your nose using an over-the-counter nasal irrigator or saline solution as it will help clear out viral particles you’ve breathed in during the day before they take root in your system.

Zinc lozenges

Try taking these within 24hrs of the onset of a cold and it will reduce the duration. You can also eat zinc-rich foods. Zinc is a mineral essential to the cells of the immune system and can boost your libido, help wound healing and prevent excessive inflammation.

Keep hydrated

Fluids help to thin out the mucus that your body makes when you’re sick and makes it easier to clear out of your system.

Try elderberry extract

A syrup made from these berries has long been used as a folk remedy for viral infections. The berries’ nutrients seem to offer some relief from congestion, aches and pains and can cut short flu symptoms by four days.

Switch on a humidifier

Dry indoor air makes a sore throat and cough even worse. A humidifier helps these symptoms become more bearable by filling the air you breathe with moisture.

Inhale essential oils

Several times a day, add a few drops of thyme or eucalyptus oil to boiling water, then breathe in the aromatic steam. The menthol-like smell should make your airways feel as if they’re opening up. It’s also thought that antimicrobial particles in these essential oils coat the mucous membrane lining the nasal cavity.

Don’t over-exercise

A bit of light exercise such as walking or yoga can make you feel better and boost your circulation but don’t overdo it as your body needs to conserve energy to fight off the virus.

Gargle with warm salt water

Salt helps kill pathogens and by coating your throat with a salt solution (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) will ease inflammation and loosen mucus, which helps flush out germs.

Heat up chicken soup

The steam helps open stuffed-up nasal passages, and the salty broth can soothe a sore throat. Research published found that chicken soup has properties that slow the movement of infection-fighting white blood cells; when they move more slowly, they spend more time in the areas of the body that need them most.

Have a spoonful of honey

Honey is believed to be antimicrobial, and its thick, syrupy consistency coats and soothes an irritated throat.

Prop yourself up

When you lie on your back, mucus collects in your sinus cavities, which can lead to secondary infections or chronic sinusitis. Instead, try resting and sleeping at a 45-degree angle. Sitting up slightly will also help blood flow away from the head reducing inflammation of the sinuses and nose.

General tips this flu season include:

  • Washing your hands regularly. Something as simple as a shopping trolley handle, or even a doorknob, can harbour germs. These germs are then entered into our respiratory tract when we touch our face. Washing your hands regularly will reduce the likelihood of catching an illness.
  • Avoid people who are sick. Avoid being in crowded places in public where possible, perhaps go shopping in quieter periods. Consider wearing a surgical masks when you are around large groups of people during peak cold and flu seasons.
  • Diet is very important in COPD management. Aa person with COPD uses a large amount of calories just to breathe and it is important that you get enough “healthy” calories each day to offset this deficit. You should be eating balanced meals and they should also be smaller and more frequent throughout the day. Large meals can actually cause breathlessness (if you use oxygen, wear it while you eat) and digesting large meals actually consumes a large amount of calories that you need to breathe.
  • Get into a regular exercise Doing a little bit each day will improve your health and medical conditions and help to prevent contracting any more illnesses however ensure it is an exercise routine that is safe, comfortable and effective for you. Talk to your doctor for suggested exercise types that would suit you.

References: and http://edition

Low oxygen levels affect your dna

dna and low oxygen
dna and low oxygen

When cells are functioning normally the DNA structure within them is open in order for molecules to be able to access parts of the genetic code that it contains. This is so that important proteins can be instructed to be made and allow the cell to function.

A new study has found that when a cell is starved of oxygen it results in the DNA strand coiling up and compacting itself into tight clusters. This means that molecules cannot access the DNA strand, the genes cannot be read as easily and the cell’s activity is reduced and the cell effectively shuts down resulting in cell death.

This starved state is seen in common diseases like heart attacks, stroke and cancer. However it is also important for those that suffer from any condition that results in low oxygen levels in the body such as COPD, sleep apnoea and asthma. Low levels of oxygen trying to circulate around the body tend to be prioritised to the more important organs and other areas see low/starved oxygen levels. It highlights the importance of monitoring your oxygen levels and ensuring that you use your supplemental oxygen to ensure that you have adequate levels of oxygen in your body.

If low oxygen results in DNA compaction and cell death then it could help to explain why COPD sufferers often experience a combination of various other health conditions and diseases.

When a person suffers a heart attack or stroke, it can cause long-term damage because the restricted blood supply to the heart and brain starves the affected cells of oxygen and nutrients (ischemia). Oxygen starvation (hypoxia) can also result from other disease conditions, such as in cancer tumours. When this happens to cells in the heart, it leads to a heart attack and when it happens in the brain, it leads to a stroke.

Senior author Dr. George Reid explains:

“When you have a stroke, when you have a heart attack, this is likely to be what’s happening to your DNA. Now we know that this is what’s going on, we can start to look at ways of preventing this compaction of DNA.”

If drugs for example can be developed to prevent this DNA contraction then it may prevent long-term damage from strokes and heart attacks as well as a host of other medical conditions that afflict suffers of respiratory diseases.


References: and

Breathing is the key to…breathing!

Those that suffer with respiratory conditions such as COPD and Asthma often need supplemental oxygen to aid in delivering more oxygen to the body. However some still find breathing difficult. Struggling to breathe properly may only be noticeable to some when trying to perform strenuous tasks or exercise. Two of the most common problems are over-breathing (hyperventilation) and mouth breathing, which both can have huge health impacts, particularly during exercise.


You may think that you know how to breathe properly, we all do it every day in order to stay alive however many of us breathe in such a way that it puts our health in jeopardy. If we can breathe correctly then we will be able to ensure that the most efficient amount of oxygen possible is reaching our lungs and reduces any related health problems and improves quality of life for those with respiratory conditions.


Over-Breathing is defined as ‘breathing in excess of metabolic requirements of the body at that time’ and traits include:

  • Mouth breathing
  • Frequent sighing
  • Taking a large breath prior to talking
  • Upper chest moves visibly with each breath
  • Regular sniffing
  • Erratic breathing
  • Noticeable or audible breathing during rest
  • Yawning with big breaths
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sleep apnea


Once the pattern of over-breathing has set in it becomes a chronic condition which will require the person to relearn how to breath correctly to break the habit. Chronic over-breathing can lead to various conditions:

  • Heart palpitations and other irregular heart beat conditions
  • Cold hands and feet and numbness
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Panic attacks
  • Bloating and acid reflux
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Sleep disturbances and excess sweating


Over-breathing results in removing too much carbon-dioxide from the body. Carbon-dioxide is seen as just a waste product of breathing however the body does need a small amount as it helps to maintain your blood pH.

Over-breathing results in more air being inhaled but it actually reduces the amount of oxygen being delivered to the body and it can lead to constriction of the arteries.


Those with Asthma and Sleep apnea tend to breath in up to 3 times as much air as those who breathe normally, which happens due to breathing deeper and more frequently.

This dysfunctional breathing can be caused by:

  • Processed foods which form acid
  • Overeating
  • Stress
  • Asthma
  • Thinking that it’s good practise to take big deep breaths
  • Lack of exercise
  • Genetic predisposition
  • High temperature indoors
  • Excessive talking


Stress plays a huge role as many of us suffer this on a frequent basis. If you chronically over-breathe then it does not take much to push your body over the edge, even a minor stressful event can provoke symptoms such as heart problems or a panic attack. It isn’t in fact due to the stress factor but to the chronic over-breathing. A traditional solution to panic attacks was to breathe into a paper bag however a more permanent solution is to address the way you breathe. Conventional advice of deep breathing actually worsens the situation and in fact the best way to address stress is to slow down your breathing and to breathe lightly. This reduces the number of breaths per minute and also the amount of air volume being inhaled.


Ideally your breathing should be light, soft and gentle to the point where the fine hairs in the nostrils remain motionless. Also importantly you should breath through your nose and not your mouth. In fact your nose performs around 30 different functions which are all important linked to your lungs, heart and other organs. Nose breathing is also important as there is nitric oxide in your nose which is carried down to your lungs and it helps to maintain homeostasis in your body and helps to open your airways and blood vessels as well as having antibacterial properties. It also reduces the tendency to take in a bigger breath than is necessary.

The Buteyko Breathing Method:

There is a simple test you can do to measure your levels of carbon dioxide:

  1. Sit straight without crossing your legs and breathe comfortably and steadily.
  2. Take a small, silent breath in and out through your nose. After exhaling, pinch your nose to keep air from entering.
  3. Start counting and hold your breath until you feel the first definite desire to breathe.
  4. When you feel the first urge to breathe, resume breathing and note the time. The urge to breathe may come in the form of involuntary movements of your breathing muscles, or your tummy may jerk or your throat may contract. This is not a breath holding competition — what you’re measuring is how long you can comfortably and naturally hold your breath.
  5. Your inhalation should be calm and controlled, through your nose. If you feel like you must take a big breath, then you held your breath too long.

The time you just measured is called the ‘control pause’ or CP, and it reflects the tolerance of your body to carbon dioxide.

  • CP 40 to 60 seconds: Indicates a normal, healthy breathing pattern, and excellent physical endurance
  • CP 20 to 40 seconds: Indicates mild breathing impairment, moderate tolerance to physical exercise, and potential for health problems in the future (most folks fall into this category)
  • CP 10 to 20 seconds: Indicates significant breathing impairment and poor tolerance to physical exercise; nasal breath training and lifestyle modifications are recommended (potential areas are poor diet, overweight, excess stress, excess alcohol, etc.)
  • CP under 10 seconds: Serious breathing impairment, very poor exercise tolerance, and chronic health problems.

The shorter your CP then the more breathless you’ll get during exercise. If it is less than 20 seconds then never breathe your mouth when exercising and especially if you suffer from asthma. By increasing your CP even by 5 seconds will result in you feeling better and improve your exercise tolerance.

To improve your CP you should follow the following breath hold exercise. However if you suffer from cardiac problems, high blood pressure, panic attacks, are pregnant or have Type 1 Diabetes then ensure you do not hold your breath beyond the first urges to breathe.

Repeat the following exercise several times in succession, waiting about 30 to 60 seconds in between rounds, and do the exercise on a regular basis.

  • Sit up straight.
  • Take a small breath in through your nose, and a small breath out.
  • Pinch your nose with your fingers and hold your breath. Keep your mouth closed.
  • Gently nod your head or sway your body until you feel that you cannot hold your breath any longer. (Hold your nose until you feel a strong desire to breathe.)
  • When you need to breathe in, let go of your nose, and breathe gently through it, in and out, with your mouth closed.
  • Calm your breathing as soon as possible.

By retraining yourself to breathe correctly and more efficiently it can have a hugely noticeable impact upon your breathing, oxygen delivery, health, ability to exercise and overall quality of life.


References: and

Facial hair can be dangerous

Millions of people suffer with respiratory problems that require them to utilise home oxygen therapy. A portable device delivers oxygen-rich air via tubing to the nose to aid patients in increasing their oxygen intake.


After a trend was noticed in patients suffering from facial burns, research and studies have been carried out which suggest that men who use home oxygen therapy are at a higher risk of serious facial burns. A major factor involved was the presence of facial hair such as moustaches.

NASA had already investigated the fact that human hair ignites more readily in the presence of higher oxygen concentrations but no-one had previously looked into this within the context of oxygen therapy. To test their theory they used mannequins with nasal tubing and exposed them to a spark. Those mannequins with a moustache ignited whereas those without facial hair did not.

“If you’ve ever tried to start a camp fire, you always start with some dry little twigs and once that starts – and that’s kind of the moustache – then that oxygen tubing lights on fire, it’s like a blow torch shooting up their nose,” said Dr. Andrew Greenlund of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Moustaches and other facial hair can act as kindling for nasal oxygen tubes when a spark joins the mix, even if the spark is just a tiny ember that flies at an oxygen tank user from a match, grill or fireworks.

Avoiding a potential spark in the first place is paramount such as to not smoke whilst using oxygen therapy and to stay away from grinding metal and open flames. Being clean-shaven however would prevent facial burns if there was an accidental spark exposure. If your culture and religion allow it then shaving facial hair would be the main preventative measure in eliminating the risk of facial burns. However if a man decides to keep it then using water-based products rather than oil or alcohol-based ones would help to reduce the risk. Also the poly-vinyl tubing is highly flammable and ideas are being researched into changing the material that the tubing is made from so that it doesn’t burn as easily.

The burns that can occur from a single spark can be very severe and the burns can also travel beyond the external facial skin and cause damage to the inner nose, mouth and airways, causing swelling and tissue death. The degree of the burn can vary but can be serious enough to result in the patient being put on a ventilator whilst the burns heal. They can result in scarring and worsening of their health. The experience of being burnt can be emotionally stressful too, described by one victim as ‘like looking hell in the face.’

The incidence of facial burns have gradually been increasing as more people utilise oxygen therapy and are especially high in the winter, as more men tend to grow beards and moustaches during colder weather. Also the incidence of home fires in general have risen in homes where oxygen therapy is being used and the facial burns can result in a spark from that mini fire on a patient’s face catching other things in the home on fire such as clothing and fabrics.

However as long at users are aware, reduce all risk factors and are careful then there is nothing to worry about.


References: and

Breathe easier with a device that fits on your belt

It has been well researched and proven that higher levels of physical activity translates to a lower mortality rate for those patients with respiratory conditions. The problem to overcome is how to get patients to endure higher levels of exercise when they already have problems breathing as it is. The Non-invasive Open Ventilation (NIOV) device may be able to allow users to increase their physical activity by allowing them to breathe more easily and be portable enough for it to be used during activities.


Previous studies have already shown that dyspnea can be reduced by the device and users’ exercise endurance was improved. A more recent study was a lot larger with a more diverse subject pool. Patients used the device for a few hours each day over 6 months. The average number of ER visits lowered, the average stay in ICU lowered and their respiratory testing results also showed a vast improvement. Another study has shown the benefit of patients exercising with both oxygen and NIOV compared to those just exercising or just exercising with oxygen alone. The study concluded that by adding non-invasive ventilation to oxygen during exercise training in patients with severe COPD improved breathlessness, reduced hyperinflation and rates of depression whilst also improving respiratory muscle strength and quality of life.

NIOV is a light, palm-sized device with an easy to use touchscreen that can be strapped to a belt. It increases the amount that you breathe in and delivers a high mixture of oxygen and air. It can be set to three different activity levels; resting, moderate and exercise and can be used plugged in or on the go with a rechargeable battery life of 4 hours. It is connected to a pillows-style nasal interface which is a hybrid between a nasal cannula and a mask but only covers the nostrils allowing you to speak whilst using it. It has been approved by the FDA for patients who suffer from respiratory insufficiency as a result from conditions such as COPD, Interstitial lung disease, neuromuscular conditions and pre/post lung transplant.

The device helps to unload respiratory muscles and allow the lungs to work more efficiently; to make it less of a struggle for users to breathe to allow them to carry out more activities. Patients have the ability to control it when they feel short of breath as and when they need to use it as it is not a continuous device and can be used in conjunction with other supplemental oxygen systems as an additional tool to help slow down the progression of the disease by enabling users to be more physically active.

The next stage of research will be to see the effectiveness of its use during sleeping.
References: and and and

Taking up the flute could improve your COPD symptoms

flute and COPDFor people suffering from respiratory conditions such as COPD, asthma and emphysema, a major daily trial they face is trying to loosen and remove the thick mucus that can build up in their lungs.

The lung flute is a hand-held device that has been designed to help to loosen, mobilize and eliminate airway secretions and mucus build-up. It is simple to use by just blowing into it, just like you would to blow out a candle. It was designed four years ago and approved as a treatment for COPD and now a study by the university of Buffalo has concluded that it is effective at helping patients to breathe more easily.

Its design is based on vibrations. When you blow into the flute it causes an integrated reed to vibrate, which produces a low-frequency sound waves. These acoustic vibrations travel down to the patients’ lungs and the waves break up the mucus, which can then be cleared more easily by the patient when they exhale.

When the test subjects used the device twice a day they found that they could breathe a lot more easily and their respiratory tests results were far more improved compared to the test group not using the device. They also experienced less coughing and sputum production. The study also suggested that using the flute results in a decreased likelihood of COPD flare-up and that it may be more effective than similar devices currently used by cystic fibrosis sufferers.

This device; so simple in design, based on simple science, is non-invasive and easy to use could make so many patient’s lives so much more bearable, improve their health status and quality of life.

“This study confirms that the Lung Flute improves symptoms and health status in COPD patients, decreasing the impact of the disease on patients and improving their quality of life,” says Sanjay Sethi, MD, principal author of the study. He has led a series of clinical trials demonstrating the safety and efficiency of the Lung Flute, including those that played a key role in the FDA’s approval of the device for diagnostic and therapeutic uses.

The device has also been approved for use by laboratories to obtain deep lung sputum samples for analysis and the flute is currently the focal point of more research into its use for asthma patients and for possible diagnostic use in tuberculosis and lung cancer.


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