Want to imrove your breathing and wellbeing?

Can Yoga Help When You Have COPD?

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Many people who suffer from COPD find it hard to exercise. But not exercising worsens their lung condition rapidly, which makes it even more difficult to perform any kind of activity. This way they find themselves in a vicious circle where they feel there is no escape from. Especially for these people yoga is the best exercise, as it is a low impact activity that improves your physical as well as your emotional health. It reduces stress and anxiety, increases relaxation and self-confidence, and improves fitness in general.

Yoga can help relieve the symptoms of COPD

Yoga has its roots in Eastern philosophy, and many people still think it is mainly a spiritual and religious experience. But most yoga classes for people with health problems do not focus on this at all. It is mainly a “mind-body practice”, as the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine describes it., which is especially beneficial for people with COPD. The American Journal of Therapeutics published a study performed in 2012, that showed these benefits clearly. In this study a group of 33 COPD patients followed a yoga class given by a certified yoga therapist for six weeks in sessions of one hour, three times a week. They were taught yoga postures, breathing exercises and meditation techniques. After the six weeks, the medical tests showed an improvement in lung function and the patients themselves reported that their overall quality of life had improved significantly.

Yoga offers various benefits for people with COPD

First of all, it is an easy way to exercise. Most exercises are stationary and performed sitting or standing. These physical postures, also called asanas, encourage your flexibility and build up your physical strength, thus helping you to increase your exercise tolerance. Yoga classes set up for COPD patients do not contain complicated poses, but just gentle stretching and bending exercises, designed especially with the health needs of people with COPD in mind. Together with the breathing exercises, the so-called pranayamas, which will teach you how to manage attacks of breathlessness, they will give you all the tools you need to effectively manage both your physical and your emotional well-being. All the techniques are normally easy enough to also practice at home.

Second, there is the social interaction you will be able to build up with your fellow students. You can exchange experiences with others in the same or similar condition as you are, so the feeling of isolation, being one of a kind, will reduce. And the mere fact of spending time with other people on a regular basis will undoubtedly help improve your overall mood, as it does to all of us. This makes it a fun sociable activity, which should be easy to keep up!

And last, but may be not least, it can be a big help to those COPD patients that, despite their disease, cannot manage to quit smoking. Trying to stop this habit can lead to stress and anxiety, which does not help the condition of especially COPD patients, and may even have an adverse effect. Practicing yoga can be a big help in relieving these stress symptoms caused by smoking cessation and increase the chance of a successful attempt to quit. This is a suggestion endorsed by the American Lung Association.

Yoga is a safe way of exercise for people with lung diseases

Especially for people suffering from emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other lung diseases that are generally known as COPD, yoga is one of the best ways to keep a health condition as good as possible through exercise. Of course, before you begin, consult with your doctor and ask his advice. Maybe he or she will also know certified yoga teachers in your neighbourhood with good credentials for training COPD patients. And always remember to keep your inhaler at hand, just in case. With these precautions taken, nothing stands in your way to improve your physical and mental wellbeing with the aid of yoga!

 

 

 

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.

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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

 

Man’s best friend could help with your mobility 24/7

For many people with a lung disease like COPD it can become so restrictive and isolating. Many people get to a stage in their condition where they require oxygen 24/7, which means they are linked to an oxygen canister via tubing permanently, greatly restricting their mobility.  It can result in people not wanting to go outside or exercise due to having to deal with the hassle of tubing and concentrators and feeling conspicuous. It is especially difficult for children that have respiratory problems who would normally want to run around and play games.

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A child in America has a rare lung disease and she has a specially-trained dog who has been with her since she was little. He carries her oxygen concentrator around and always ensures he doesn’t tangle up the tubing and stays within a certain proximity to her. This has meant that not only does the child have a long-term companion to help prevent the feeling of being alone caused by long-term illness, but also allows the child to go out and about, play, exercise and go to school more easily which benefits their health and social development.

This idea of an ‘oxygen dog’ could be rolled out to people of all ages who require assistance, especially those who are elderly, alone and finding it difficult to cope and get out and about due to their need for 24/7 oxygen. A smaller dog could only carry a portable concentrator however a larger dog would be able to carry a small oxygen tank.

The benefits of having the dog as a puppy when the child is also young is that they can grow and develop together. Different lung diseases at different stages will affect the individual differently so having the dog training at a young age with the patient means that the dog can learn how to deal with different situations and develop with the owner and know how to assist them better and predict movement based on behaviour patterns.

Having a dog is not cheap however and is by no means about to become readily available via the NHS, however it is an avenue that some people may be able to afford or raise funds for as a way to help them enjoy a better quality of life.

 

References: http://www.stuff.co.nz

Vegetables can help you breathe easy

Lung disease kills over 60,000 British people every year, with Lung cancer, COPD and asthma being the biggest killers. A healthy diet can slow the damaging effects of smoking and prevent lung cancer from spreading. Lung cancer and COPD are mostly caused by the effects of smoking but a healthy diet of fruit and vegetables may help to prevent the DNA-damaging effects of tobacco smoke as well as helping to prevent cancer from spreading, slow down the progression of COPD and improve lung function. Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that weaken the body’s immune system, making it more susceptible to disease and handicapping its ability to destroy cancer cells. But the smoke can also damage cell DNA, increasing the chance of cancer cells forming and flourishing in the first place.

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WALK YOUR WAY TO A LONGER LIFE:

The government recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity spread across the week plus exercise to improve muscle strength at least twice a week.

Walking for 150 minutes a week reduces your mortality rate by 7% compared to being sedentary. Walking for 300 minutes a week reduces it by 14% and an hour-long walk each day reduces it by 24%.

THE POWER OF BROCCOLI:

Researchers asked some long-term smokers to eat a single stalk of broccoli a day. It was found that they suffered 41% fewer DNA mutations during the study. Compounds in broccoli also have the potential to suppress the spread of cancer by preventing the cancer cells from grouping-up together.

THE FEAR OF FRYING:

It is thought that a quarter of lung cancer cases may be caused by carcinogens in the fumes when you are frying. When any fat is heated to frying temperature toxic chemicals are released, which can cause genetic mutations. A study of women in China found that smokers who stir-fried meat every day had nearly three times the odds of lung cancer compared with smokers who stir-fried non-meat foods.

The fumes produced by frying bacon contain carcinogens called nitrosamines. Though all meat may release potentially carcinogenic fumes, processed meat such as bacon may be the worst. A study found bacon fumes cause four times more DNA mutations than the fumes from beef burgers fried at similar temperatures. If you must fry, use a barbecue. Studies show that the number of particles deposited into the lungs increases tenfold when frying indoors as opposed to outdoors.

EATING KALE IS AS GOOD AS RUNNING:

Researchers asked men with high cholesterol to take 3 shots of kale juice a day for 3 months and the kale lowered their bad cholesterol (LDL) and boosted their good cholesterol levels (HDL) to the same levels as if they had run 300 miles. It also increased the levels of antioxidants in the subject’s blood. Except in the smoking group as cigarettes create free radicals which counteract this and deplete the body of antioxidants.

MEAT VS VEGETABLES:

One study has found that consumption of cured meat such as bacon, ham, sausage and salami may increase the risk of COPD due to the nitrate preservatives in meat.

In 2010 another study monitored 2 groups; one group kept their normal diet and the other group boosted their fruit and vegetable consumption. Over the next couple of years the first group found that their COPD grew progressively worse whereas the second group found that their disease progression was halted and their lung function had improved. The researchers suggested this could be due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the fruit and veg, along with a reduced consumption of meat, which is thought to act as a pro-oxidant.

TACKLING ASTHMA

A study of more than 100,000 adults in India found that those who consumed meat daily, or even occasionally, were more likely to suffer from asthma than those who excluded meat and eggs from their diets altogether. Researchers removed fruits and vegetables from asthma patients’ diets to see what would happen and within two weeks their symptoms worsened. In contrast when they increased fruit and vegetable consumption to seven servings a day the subjects’ exacerbation rate halved.

Researchers in Sweden decided to test out a plant-based diet on a group of 35 severe asthmatics who weren’t getting better despite the best medical therapies. Of the 24 patients who stuck with the plant-based diet, 70% improved considerably after four months and 90% improved within a year.

From all the studies being carried out, all the evidence seems to point to the fact that a plant-based diet is immensely good for you, if you have lung conditions such as cancer, COPD and asthma and that potentially reducing meat and egg consumption may also be beneficial to your health and aid in halting disease progression, reducing exacerbations, improving lung function and preventing the spread of cancer.

References: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

PARENTAL SMOKING WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG CAN INCREASE RISK OF COPD IN LATER LIFE

A new study has shown how people whose mothers smoked when they were young have a significantly increased risk of breathing problems and developing COPD later on life. The pulmonary disease consists of a group of lung disorders including chronic bronchitis and emphysema that harmfully affects airflow and breathing, to the point where the patient needs artificial oxygen supplement in order to breathe normally. The study was based on 50 years of follow-up on 8,000 youngsters and their parents which included lung function tests and questionnaires about their smoking habits.

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There was no link between mothers who smoked less than 20 cigarettes a day, nor with whether the fathers smoked or not. However parents whose mothers smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day had nearly 3 times the risk of airflow obstruction in middle age compared to those who were not exposed as a child. Men seem more susceptible however and have nearly 4 times the risk of developing COPD compared to women who have 2 times the risk. Also interesting was that these figures are not impacted by the individual’s smoking habits as they grew up.

It suggests that mothers smoking is linked to a reduced lung function in offspring when they get to middle-age and that a reduction in lung function in childhood may predispose to having a lesser lung function in adulthood.

The efficiency of oxygen transfer to the blood is also more significantly impaired in smokers who had mothers that smoked heavily.

It was already known that smoking when pregnant resulted in the baby having smaller lungs and that your maximum achieved lung function usually developed by 25 years is lower if parents smoked. The lungs continue to grow for a few years after birth, the number of alveoli increases and smoking exposure limits this growth. This study shows that in addition to affecting growth, parental smoking also leads to lung disease in later life for the offspring.

In addition second-hand smoke causes irritation and inflammation in the airways and chronic scarring of the airways makes them stiffer and smaller contributing to the development of COPD. Children who had parents who smoked are also more likely to be frequent smokers later on in adulthood, which also significantly increases the risk of lung damage and developing respiratory diseases like COPD.

It is becoming even more important that pregnant women and mothers do not smoke around their children as it harms their lungs from the start and predisposes them to a greater risk of lung disease in the future.

References: http://www.foxnews.com and http://www.pulseheadlines.com

Bronchiectasis is making a come-back

This lung disease from the 1800’s has begun to reappear again, especially among the elderly. Historically cases were due to untreated chest infections where antibiotics weren’t readily available and the poorer part of the community suffered with it more.

Bronchiectasis

Research data from the NHS shows that of the 12000 patients admitted with Bronchiectasis in 2013-2014 most of them were over 60 years of age. Cases have doubled in the last decade among those aged 70 and over and now more than 1 in every 100 in this category will be affected.

Bronchiectasis occurs when the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened, which results in chronic inflammation due to the inability to clear mucus secretions in the airway passages leading to a build-up of mucus. The excess mucus also harbours bacteria which can lead to worsening of the condition due to frequent infections. Symptoms typically include a chronic cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, fatigue, coughing up blood, and chest pain, along with worsening respiratory function. Inhaled antibiotics, bronchodilators, physical methods of dislodging mucus and oxygen therapy are all part of the treatment for this disease.

Experts agree that bronchiectasis may occur in people who suffered an infection in childhood such as pneumonia or whooping cough, which damage the lung. Underlying problems with the immune system and allergies are also thought to play a role. This is a main factor as to why the elderly are susceptible as with age comes a compromised immune system.

Bronchiectasis tends to occur as an after-effect of a chest infection such as whooping cough, tuberculosis, pneumonia or measles – particularly if the infection was not treated with antibiotics. Damage to the bronchi takes years to build up and symptoms don’t tend to start until middle age, even if the original infection was years earlier.
‘Antibiotics only really came in on a regular basis in the Sixties and Seventies,’ says Professor Brown.’But we also see people who had antibiotics and despite that have bronchiectasis. Even if you treat it, the infection can still cause scarring, it’s just less likely.’

The disease is incurable and although infections can be treated with antibiotics, there are concerns that the bacteria is becoming resistant to drugs.
Surprisingly more women are affected than men for no known reason other than for the fact that rheumatoid arthritis is a high risk factor for developing Bronchiectasis and this condition is more common in women. Also patients tend to be more affluent. ‘We found the disease has had a resurgence in recent years, particularly among more well-off members of society,’ says Jeremy Brown, a professor of respiratory infection at University College London. ‘It could be partly down to improved diagnosis in these groups, but whatever the reason we need better treatment options.’

The study found that 42% of people with bronchiectasis also had asthma and 36% had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This is an important finding and can help with long-term management of these conditions. A study has found that COPD can be predictive of developing Bronchiectasis but that also this then makes the outcome for the COPD patient a lot graver.
The reasons for this disease increasing in certain groups is being investigated but it could be that it is running alongside the fact that diagnosis for other predictive diseases like COPD has improved in recent years but as to the reason why it is more prevalent in middle-class patients is unknown. With this rise of cases in recent years more research is now underway to improve treatment and to investigate the disease’s coexistence with other diseases such as COPD.

References: http://home.bt.com and http://bronchiectasisnewstoday.com and http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Stem cells and nanoparticles could be the future treatment for lung disease

Malaysian scientists are joining forces with Harvard University experts to help in seeking a safe, more effective way of tackling lung problems including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the progressive, irreversible obstruction of airways causing almost 1 in 10 deaths today and to revolutionize the treatment of lung diseases through the delivery of ‘nanomedicine.’

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Treatment of COPD and lung cancer commonly involves chemotherapeutics and corticosteroids which are misted into a fine spray and inhaled, enabling direct delivery to the lungs and a quick and effective medicinal effect. However, because the particles produced by today’s inhalers are large, most of the medicine is deposited in the upper respiratory tract and does not reach down to lower parts of the airways and lungs.

The Harvard team is working on “smart” nanoparticles, which are tiny particles that deliver the appropriate levels of a medication to the deepest, tiniest sacs of the lung and ensures an even distribution, through the use of magnetic fields.

Malaysia’s role is to help ensure the safety and improve the effectiveness of nanomedicine and in assessing how nanomedicine particles behave in the body, what attaches to them to form a coating, where the drug accumulates and how it interacts with different cells.

Inhaled nanomedicine holds the promise of helping doctors prevent and treat such problems in future, reaching the target area more swiftly than if administered orally or even intravenously. This is particularly true for COPD and lung cancer, says Dr. Brain. “Experiments have demonstrated that a drug dose administered directly to the respiratory tract achieves much higher local drug concentrations at the target site.”

“Nanotechnology is making a significant impact on health care by delivering improvements in disease diagnosis and monitoring, as well as enabling new approaches to regenerative medicine and drug delivery,” says Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Lung regeneration is another key focal point as scientists have found that regardless of their stage in life, lung cells are able to regenerate themselves in order to repair missing or damaged tissue. The team behind the discovery hopes that they will one day be able to replicate this natural behavior in order to help repair tissue damage in patients with conditions such as COPD.

There are two main types of lung cells: type 1 cells, where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged during breathing and type 2, which secrete surfactants, a type of lubricant essential to the breathing process. Type 2 cells have been previously observed to regenerate into type 1 cells in the presence of cell damage, but a team of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Duke University have shown that the opposite also occurs.

“We saw new cells growing back into these new areas of the lung. It’s as if the lung knows it has to grow back and can call into action some type 1 cells to help in that process,” explained cardiologist Rajan Jain and the observation suggests that there is much more flexibility in the pulmonary system than previously thought.

Understanding how and why these mature cells are regenerating into different types of lung tissue may be the key to treating certain types of lung damage caused by conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Although patients may somewhat control the condition, there is currently no cure. The ability to regrow damaged lung tissue on demand, then, could completely change treatment options and possibly offer a cure for COPD patients.

 

References: http://www.news-medical.net and http://www.medicaldaily