Get stronger lungs with these exercises!!

Exercise is a fanastic way to help strengthen muscles and improve heart function all at the same time. It will also give a person overall health benefits and motivation to feel good.



So how does this help you if you have a condition like asthma?

There are breathing exercises that, like aerobic exercises, can strengthen the lungs to relieve asthma symptoms or, in some cases, even prevent the recurrence of asthma attacks.

To make up for the lessened functionality of the lungs through asthma, the body uses other muscles for breathing – such as your neck, back and chest. This, however, doesn’t assist with breathing; it only adds more stress to your body, which is not good for people living with asthma.

With the following breathing exercises, asthma patients can strengthen their lungs and, thus, improve their breathing.

Pursed-Lip Breathing
With a pursed lip, breathe into your nose and breathe out at least twice through your mouth.

Belly Breathing
Breathe into your nose and breathe out through you mouth at least two times. Make sure that each exhale is as long as your inhale. This helps with training your diaphragm to do most of the work while breathing, which builds up the strength to fill and empty your lungs.

If you begin to feel dizzy while practicing any of these exercises, stop immediately.Once you feel better, try again. If the dizziness continues, you should contact your doctor for help.

 

refernce : Jason Hughes, tricounty

OxygenWorldwide supplies medical oxygen in Dubai

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As Dubai is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination, OxygenWorldwide has set up a local depot with medical oxygen equipment. From today (March 2016) we can arrange oxygen for you in aluminium cylinders as small as 2 ltr. If you need to be mobile these small light cylinders are an alternative to the portable oxygen concentrator (POC) that we are hoping to be able to have available soon in Dubai too. Please check with our call centre (24/7 in 5 languages) by e-mail info@oxygenworldwide.com or call (+34) 96 688 28 73 to see if we have POC’s available yet in Dubai.

We have also larger cylinders like a 4,5 Ltr., 9 Ltr. and 45 Ltr. Available, which can be delivered with a trolley if needed.

Many people use Dubai as a stopover for longer flights such as to other places in the southern hemisphere. Dubai is great for shopping and of course as an oxygen patient/user you will need to be mobile. Our main objective is therefore to organise for you predominantly mobile equipment in Dubai. The fantastic climate in Dubai gives you the opportunity to spend lots of time on the beach, even if you are using oxygen.

With 22 years of experience we at OxygenWorldwide understand the needs of oxygen users and we will do our utmost to meet your requirements. If you are travelling with your own portable oxygen concentrator but you need a back-up provision in case your POC has broken down or you do not want to rely 24 hours on your POC (as not all POC’s can be used on a 24 hour basis) we can of course arrange a back-up cylinder in your hotel, resort etc.

OxygenWorldwide is active in more than 100 countries. In a number of these countries do we provide a Airport Service (A.S.). This means that we will have, on your arrival, someone at the door of the aircraft to hand you over a portable oxygen device so you can make your way to your hotel etc. with oxygen. On your departure we will again have someone at the door of the aircraft, who will collect the equipment again from you. If there are cases, due to custom regulations, that we cannot meet you at the door of the aircraft then we will have someone meet you in another place within the airport. Please contact us to find out what possibilities there are in Dubai and in other countries. We hope you will have a great stay in Dubai.

Working with COPD

COPD can have a devastating impact upon your personal life but if you are also aged 45-65 it can also have an even greater impact on your job.  Work-loss for COPD patients is not just due to COPD alone but also due to the other associated medical problems that coexist with COPD. Not being able to work has an impact on the rest of your life, from financial worries to personal fulfillment.

What-is-COPD

Results from a cross-sectional survey of 2,426 people with COPD living and working in 6 countries around the world (Brazil, China, Germany, Turkey, United States and United Kingdom) revealed the following:
•    80% were unable to maintain their previous lifestyle.
•    One in four felt they could not continue to care for their children or other members of their family as they once did.
•    One in five felt they had become a burden to family members and friends.
•    41% felt they could no longer plan for their future.
•    37% reported their income had dropped since being diagnosed.
However some people still manage to continue working until retirement. It depends on your job role; will it make your condition worse by continuing to work in that role or is there an option to change roles or career so that you can still work? If this is not possible then you can claim long-term disability which will give you some income.
If however you feel that you can continue employment then there are things that you and your employer can do to make your work life less of a burden on your disease. The employer will welcome that a few changes will help to ensure that you don’t take as many days off from work for being ill.

Here are just a few accommodations that employers can make that are not overly imposing:
•    Providing an accessible parking space that is close to the door.
•    Moving your workstation closer to the entrance of the building.
•    Allowing you to work from home at least a couple of days a week, if not every day.
•    Providing a smoke-free, dust-free, fume-free environment. This can even mean asking other employees not to wear heavy colognes or perfumes.
•    Providing adequate ventilation.
•    Allowing you a flexible schedule so that you don’t miss your doctor appointments or perhaps letting you come in later on certain days.
•    Giving you advanced notification of any construction work or cleaning that will be going on in your particular work area.
•    Allowing you to use a scooter or motorized cart to increase your mobility while in the workplace or to move from one office building to the next during work hours.
If your employer makes changes to help you then you must try to ensure that you are as productive as possible in return:
•    Doing everything you can to prevent COPD exacerbation. An exacerbation can cause you to miss more days of work, or worse yet, land you in the hospital. Frequent hand-washing, staying away from crowds and sick people and getting your vaccinations will all help.
•    Wearing your oxygen at work. Oxygen therapy helps prevent breathlessness, improves your mental alertness and increases your stamina so you can get through your work day. If you feel conspicuous with your nasal canula then there are oxygen glasses you can try or tracheal oxygen may be an option as you can hide the tubes with a scarf or a high-neckline top.

People with COPD are more likely to accept early retirement than those who do not have COPD and this can negatively impact your pension benefits and have a dramatic affect on your financial well-being, as well as that of your family.
Before deciding on retirement you should ensure you have explored with your doctor and your employer all possible avenues of adapting your workplace environment and tried different medications before giving up on work completely.  You can also talk to a financial adviser to see what else you could do to ensure that you and your family are well taken care of.

References: http://copd.about.com

PINEAPPLE JUICE COULD HELP WITH YOUR COUGH

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

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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.

References: http://preventdisease.com and http://www.survivalmagazine.org

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.

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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.

HYPERVENTILATION:

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.

DYSFUNCTIONAL BREATHING:

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.

HOW TO BREATHE BETTER:

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: http://articles.mercola.com and http://www.buteykoclinic.com

Good bacteria could be the key to curing asthma‏

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Asthma is caused by your airways being more sensitive to irritants and becoming inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. Cases are on the increase and one in every 11 children in the UK are now diagnosed with Asthma. One explanation for the rise in Asthma is the ‘Hygiene Hypothesis’, which has been discussed for many years. This suggests that children are no longer exposed to enough bacteria at an early age, which normally would help to build the immune system to be able to tell the difference between friend and foe bacteria. This results in the immune system believing that pollen and other triggers are harmful resulting in the airways becoming inflamed as the immune system attacks.

On the back of these discussions a team analysed the billions of bugs that naturally occur within the human body. Microbes, bacteria and fungi outnumber human cells 10 to one and this ‘microbiome’ is thought to be key to our health. They found that if there were four main groups of bugs missing then the risk of developing asthma was very high. The types of bacteria are faecalibacterium, Lachnospira, Veillonella and Rothia. The team looked for the presence of these bacteria in children aged 3 months and one year and then looked to see if they developed asthma by the age of 3. The lack of these bacteria in both age groups resulted in a high risk of developing asthma by the age of 3.

It appears that the first year of life is crucial and that the ‘right bugs at the right time‘ could be the best way of preventing asthma and other allergies. Exposing children in the first year of life to a wide variety of bacteria could help to ensure that their immune system is calibrated correctly and prevent later development of asthma.

Further experiments, which looked into the ‘passing down of immunity’ from mother to child involved giving a bacterial cocktail to mice who then had offspring with reduced inflammation in their lungs. Other suggestions involve the fact that giving birth by Caesarean section and not breast feeding may both limit the bacteria from being passed from mother to child and hinder immune system development.

Dr Marsland from Switzerland has been researching this area for a number of years and believes that diet, microbes and the first year of life are key in preventing or easing Asthma symptoms. He believes that a high fibre diet is important for keeping the gut healthy, as it is the delicate balance of gut bacteria in our bodies that affects our immune system and may play a role in asthma development.

However this is just a step in the right direction, more research needs to be carried out into these four types of bacteria, their role within the body and their relationship with the immune system and conditions like allergies and Asthma. If there is a direct link then new information could be given to new parents about exposing children to bacteria, a bacteria cocktail could potentially be created to be given to pregnant women or young children, there may also be a way of training the immune system at a later stage of development by introducing these bacteria to patients to try and cure or lessen their Asthma.

Scientists urge people not to run out and buy lots of friendly bacteria yogurt drinks and pro-biotic yogurts, as much more research is needed to ascertain the facts and details of what this discovery actually means for the larger population in real life. Doctors urge Asthma patients to continue with their inhalers, medications and oxygen therapy as prescribed, which all help to ease the symptoms.

 

 

References: http://www.nhs.uk and http://www.bbc.co.uk

POLYCYTHEMIA – A LESSER-KNOWN COMPLICATION OF COPD

Polycythemia or Erythrocytosis is where there is a high concentration of red blood cells in your blood.  This makes the blood thicker, less viscous and less able to travel through blood vessels and to organs impeding oxygen delivery. This is obviously a huge problem with those who already suffer with conditions like COPD where oxygen delivery is already hindered.

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Symptoms of mild cases include:
•    Headaches
•    Blurred vision
•    Red skin
•    Tiredness
•    High blood pressure
•    Dizziness
•    Abdomen discomfort
•    Confusion
•    Nose bleeds and bruising
•    Gout
•    Itchy skin (especially after a bath, as a result of the high levels of white blood cells releasing the chemical histamine)
The slow, sluggish blood flow associated with Polycythemia can also cause blood clots, which can put you at risk of heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms (blockages in a vessel), Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or Strokes.

Signs of this include:
•    Pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in your legs
•    a heavy ache in the affected area
•    Warm skin in the area
•    Breathlessness
•    Chest/upper back pain
•    Coughing up blood
•    Feeling dizzy or light-headed
•    Fainting

Apparent Polycythemia is where your red cell count is normal but the concentration of red blood cells is higher due to a lack of plasma in the blood making it thicker. Usually caused by being overweight, smoking, excessive drinking or from certain medications like diuretics.  It can be improved if the underlying condition is treated.

Absolute Polycythemia is where your body is actually producing too many red blood cells. Primary Polycythemia is where your bone marrow is producing too many due to a genetic defect in the JAK2 gene and is known as Polycythemia Vera (PV).  Secondary Polycythemia is where too many red blood cells are produced but is caused by an underlying condition.
Secondary Polycythemia can be caused by kidney disease or tumours but also by COPD and Sleep apnoea which can cause an increase in Erythropoietin to be produced by the kidneys which stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.  This is a reaction to there not being enough oxygen reaching the kidneys.
Treatment:
The treatment aims to prevent symptoms and complications such as blood clots from occurring and to treat any underlying causes so will vary slightly from patient to patient.
Venesection is the quickest and simplest way of reducing the number of red blood cells.  It involves removing about one pint of blood at a time, in a similar way to giving a blood donation. The frequency could be anywhere from one a week to once every 6-8 weeks depending on cause and severity.
Medications such as interferon to reduce red blood cell production and those to prevent blood clots such as aspirin may be administered. Or any medication that treats the underlying cause may be given.

The outlook depends upon the underlying cause but most cases are mild and easily managed, although PV can be more serious.
If you have Polycythemia, it is important to take any medication you are prescribed and keep an eye out for signs of possible blood clots to help reduce your risk of serious complications.
Continuous low-flow oxygen therapy can also help to relieve Polycythemia. As increased oxygen supply to the kidneys will reduce the amount of erythropoietin they release and therefore prevent an increase of red blood cell production in the bone marrow and also helps to relieve associating symptoms.

References: http://www.nhs.uk