Reflections of COPD/Asthma – Set 3 of Outside/Inside of Them Lungs

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I am one of those that has been given the honor of traveling life with the companionship of COPD and severe Asthma.

While the honor is many times pushed by the frustration and battle with those companions, I have over time come to grips that it is what it is and I must make the best of it.

I knew I must learn more about this companion the medical folks call COPD and severe Asthma, so I have read about, ask questions about it and spent time nearly every day scouring the internet for information, articles and more.

I also knew it is good to share, so as a writer I decided what better way to share what I am learning and finding than through informational, inspirational and personal writings about my travels with COPD and severe Asthma.

This is part of an on-going series we call ‘Reflections of COPD/Asthma’ and today we give you set three of a six-part set we refer to as ‘Outside/Inside of Them Lungs’.

Set 3 – – ‘Looking at Your Lungs from the Inside’:

Our previous posting we touched on the upper airway system and how it filtered, humidified and warmed the air as it enters your bodily system. (https://wheezingaway.com/2017/08/23/reflections-of-copdasthma-set-2-of-outsideinside-of-them-lungs/)

Today we discuss the two major pieces to the puzzle of your working lungs on the inside and that would be the bronchial tubes and the alveoli.

When following inward the breathing system of a normal adult a person would find about six inches past the larynx – the windpipe, which then divides into two air passages.  One air passage heads off to the left into the left lung while the other wanders to the right to supply the right lung – these are what we call the ‘Bronchial Tubes’.

As your inhaled air continues the travels through the ‘Bronchial Tubes’ it will continue to pass over more mucous and cilia where the mucous supplies the moisture to keep the air passages humidified while the cilia that continue sweep the mucous upward while trapping dust, bacteria and other substances out of your breathing system.

As the ‘Bronchial Tubes’ progress further down into the lungs they branch out twenty-two more times to form more than 100,000 smaller bronchial tubes where the thinnest tubes are called ‘bronchioles’.

Amazingly at the end of each ‘bronchiole’ you will or should find a cluster of air sacs which are referred to as ‘Alveoli’ is that each ‘Alveoli’ is only about 0.3mm in diameter and just one cell thick or about the same thickness as a soap bubble (or 1/50th the thickness of a normal piece of tissue paper).

And that my friends is ‘Set 3’ of ‘Outside/Inside – Your Lungs’.  Next posting in the series will discuss oxygen exchange.

As always, if you or anyone you know have any symptoms involving lung and breathing functionality, and they linger over and over while disrupting a lifestyle – then please ask questions and get it checked out.

ALWAYS REMEMBER > A person without good breathing, is a person without a good life’, so let’s do what we can, to learn what we can, to improve what we can.

NOTE TO REMEMBER: We only give descriptions and highlights of various aspects of having COPD and/or asthma and no way do we ever want our information to be considered medical treatment type of information, always consult your physician for more, clearer and more medical founded information.

With that I bid to all – smiles, prayers, blessings and steady breathing – Mr. William.

(Copyright@2017, CrossDove Writer – reprint or use by written permission only.)

To follow more postings written by Mr. William, check out either wheezingaway.com or on Facebook at COPD Travels.

(Information used is gathered from a various number of books, magazines and websites followed and read by Mr. William.)

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Words of COPD/Asthma – ‘Diffusion Capacity’

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When you have a disability or chronic illness, one of the most important things you can do is to learn as much as you can about it.  The more you know, the easier it should be to get a handle on those days when you feel like it is a constant battle and you are not sure you are winning.

Knowing the language or words that go with COPD/Asthma is a great way to start or to continue to refresh a person’s knowledge of the ins and outs of the lifelong health companion which we are dealing with.

With that, we discuss some of what we call ‘must know words’ of life with COPD/Asthma – and today we will discuss briefly the importance of knowing the word(s) ‘Diffusion Capacity’.

What is ‘Diffusion Capacity’?

When you have a diagnosis of COPD and/or Asthma, your lungs are unable to transfer oxygen into your blood as easily as it should, and when that is a problem your physician and/or pulmonologist will request a test for your ‘Diffusion Capacity’ that will measure how effectively the gas exchange between your air sacs and your bloodstream is working.

Lung diffusion testing will measure how well the lungs exchange those gases and is an important part of lung testing because the major function of the lungs is to allow oxygen to ‘diffuse’ or pass into the blood from the lungs and to allow carbon dioxide to ‘diffuse’ from the blood into the lungs.

When the test that a patient will be given to check on their ‘diffusion capacity’ is requested, the patient will have clips put on their nose and then they will be given a mouthpiece which will fit tightly around your lips and mouth.  At that point, the patient will be asked to inhale a small (and safe) concentration of carbon monoxide mixed with helium, oxygen and nitrogen.

After inhaling the concentrated mixture, the patient will hold their breath for approximately 10 seconds before rapidly exhaling the concentrated mixture out.  When exhaling, the patient will be sending the concentrated mixture into a machine that will measure the flow and volume of your breath as well as how much of the carbon monoxide was absorbed into your bloodstream during your breath and how much remains in the air that you exhaled.

The results of this test will give your physician and/or pulmonologist an idea of how easy or difficult it is currently for your lungs to transfer gases from the inhaled air into the blood stream.

When low diffusion capacity is found, it can indicate the presence of severe emphysema, as well as several other possible lung diseases.  The test will also determine the level of damage the alveoli or lung structures responsible for gas exchange in the lungs have at the time of the test.

Your physician and/or pulmonologist will also get an idea of the severity of damage to the airways with this test.

One other note, the ‘diffusion capacity’ test normally does not affect those with asthma and will help in a physician and/or pulmonologist distinguish between the asthma and different types of COPD – even when symptoms are similar.

With that, we always like to ask a QUESTION OF OUR READERS, and today we ask, “When was the last time you had a diffusion capacity test done and what were the results?”.

As always – if you or anyone you know have any symptoms involving lung and breathing functionality, and they linger over and over while disrupting a lifestyle – then please ask questions and get it checked out.

Remember – ‘a person without good breathing, is a person without a good life’, so let’s do what we can, to learn what we can, to improve what we can.

With that I bid to all – smiles, prayers, blessings and steady breathing – Mr. William.

(Copyright@2017, CrossDove Writer, reprinting or reuse of this article is restricted without written permission.)

NOTE TO REMEMBER: We only give descriptions and highlights of various aspects of having COPD and/or asthma and no way do we ever want our information to be considered medical treatment type of information, always consult your physician for more, clearer and more medical founded information.

Know that you can follow all the writings by CrossDove Writer pertaining to COPD/Asthma by following at wheezingaway.com or on Facebook at COPD Travels.

(Information gathered from various books and internet sources discussing COPD, Asthma and other lung diseases)

Words of COPD/Asthma – ‘Controlled Coughing’

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When you have a disability or chronic illness, one of the most important things you can do is to learn as much as you can about it.  The more you know, the easier it should be to get a handle on those days when you feel like it is a constant battle and you are not sure you are winning.

Knowing the language or words that go with COPD/Asthma is a great way to start or to continue to refresh a person’s knowledge of the ins and outs of the lifelong health companion which we are dealing with.

With that, we discuss some of what we call ‘must know words’ of life with COPD/Asthma – and today we will discuss briefly the importance of knowing the word(s) ‘Controlled Coughing’.

What is ‘Controlled Coughing’?

Controlled Coughing is a technique that helps clear the airways of mucus, but saves energy and oxygen by using only the force needed to loosen and move the mucus.  COPD/Asthma patients learn the controlled coughing technique in pulmonary rehabilitation programs.

Many times, when you have COPD, the disease itself can cause your lungs to produce excess mucus which leads to frequent coughing.  Not all coughs will be effective in clearing excess mucus from your lungs and explosive or uncontrolled coughing causes airways to collapse and spasm, which traps mucus.

With the controlled or effective cough, it comes from deep within the lungs and will have just the right amount of force to loosen and carry mucus through the airways, and do it without causing the airways to narrow or collapse.  When controlled coughing saves energy, the person also saves oxygen.

The effective cough should have similar steps like the following:

  1. Sit on a chair or on the edge of your bed, with both feet on the floor. Lean slightly forward and relax.
  2. Fold your arms across your abdomen and breathe in slowly through your nose. (The power of the cough comes from moving air.)
  3. To exhale you should lean forward, pressing your arms against your abdomen. You should then cough 2-3 times through a slightly open mouth, while keeping the coughs short and sharp.

One thing to note is that the first cough loosens the mucus and moves it through your airways, while the second and third cough should enable you to cough the mucus up and out.

  1. At this point you should breathe in again by ‘sniffing’ slowly and gently through your nose. Doing this gentle breath should help prevent mucus from moving back down your airways.
  2. REST!!
  3. Perform again as needed.

Some tips to follow along with the controlled breathing process would be:

Be sure to avoid breathing in quickly and deeply through your mouth after coughing, as quick breaths will interfere with the movement process of mucus coming up and out of the lungs.  Plus, the quick breathing can cause a problem with uncontrolled coughing.

Unless your physician has advised you to watch your fluid intake, it is advisable to drink at least six to eight glasses of fluid per day, as this will help keep your mucus thinned out which in turn will make coughing much easier.

You should consider using the controlled coughing technique after you use your bronchodilator medications or most likely any time you feel as if you’re are having a problem with mucus or congestion.

With that, we always like to ask a QUESTION OF OUR READERS, and today we ask, “Have you heard of and used the controlled cough techniques and if you have, did you find the process helpful?

As always – if you or anyone you know have any symptoms involving lung and breathing functionality, and they linger over and over while disrupting a lifestyle – then please ask questions and get it checked out.

Remember – ‘a person without good breathing, is a person without a good life’, so let’s do what we can, to learn what we can, to improve what we can.

With that I bid to all – smiles, prayers, blessings and steady breathing – Mr. William.

(Copyright@2017, CrossDove Writer, reprinting or reuse of this article is restricted without written permission.)

NOTE TO REMEMBER: We only give descriptions and highlights of various aspects of having COPD and/or asthma and no way do we ever want our information to be considered medical treatment type of information, always consult your physician for more, clearer and more medical founded information.

Know that you can follow all the writings by CrossDove Writer pertaining to COPD/Asthma by following at wheezingaway.com or on Facebook at COPD Travels.

(Information gathered from various books and internet sources discussing COPD, Asthma and other lung diseases)

‘Lenny’ and Me 4 Today – Unsettled Times

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I will be honest with you all, even I am trying to figure out how time keeps flying by and life seems to get so busy or disrupted that my writing seems to get put on the back burner when I have no intention of allowing it to happen.

‘Lenny’ has been a very unsettled companion for a while now and I am searching for the reasons why.  Is it a weather or nature thing, a stress thing, a traveling thing or just life itself and my COPD/Asthma is telling me that maybe it is getting worse?

For several weeks, ‘Lenny’ has not so much putting out a big problem, but instead just consistently it’s been the little spurts of SOB (Short of Breath), enough that I would cut short on my walks around Wal-Mart and the only couple of times I walked the block to get the mail, my oxygen level dropped to 87-88 so I stopped doing it.

Of course, there are issues going on that may be helping in churning up the problem, such as the weather which the last month or so has either been hot, humid and windy, or dry, but full of pollen type particles and yes even down here in the center point of the United States we are getting a wisp of the smoke from all those forest fires in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Then we have the traveling thing and lately I have had several spots where I end up being in the car, on the road for a significant amount of time over a two to four-day period.

Last weekend was a good example, on Friday I took a couple of young men to meet my daughter and grandkids so these young fellows could spend the Labor Day weekend with good friends.  After dropping the young men off to my daughter, I headed south to spend Friday evening, Saturday and early Sunday with my brother and sister-in-law.  Total amount of being on the road was maybe 5 hours.

Sunday, I drove home and spent the entire rest of the day catching up on writes for the weekly paper and Facebook page I do part-time work for.

On Labor Day itself, I drove two hours with my wife and two oldest granddaughters, picked up my oldest grandson and drove another hour and a half to meet that daughter again, drop off the granddaughters and pick up the young fellows (had to bring them back to our town for school), then turned around and drove the three and a half hours home.

Unfortunately for me, traveling anymore seems to take a lot out of me and for two days my back, my knees and my good companion ‘Lenny’ were all moaning and groaning, it is what life is anymore.

Another item that can get ‘Lenny’ to cause some irritation would be stress and these days I do not have to look very far to find some.

Between one adult child still fighting an addiction problem, spending all our weekends and holidays helping take care of that adult child’s eleven-year old son (who has Asperger’s) and now giving up our guest room so our oldest son can have a place to live as he continues to sort out the marriage or divorce thing.

‘Lenny’ has had a lot of things to get agitated about and several times each day will be happy to remind me of that fact.

So, I continue to plug ahead by making sure I get my nebulizer time in every morning, take a deep inhalation of the med they call ‘Breo’, keep my oximeter close by, my rescue inhaler in the pocket and my head on a swivel watching for any and all possible triggers over and beyond the ones that life alone is throwing at me already.

And that my friends, is where ‘Lenny’ (my COPD/Asthma) and me are at 4 today.

Want to know who ‘Lenny’ is?  ‘Lenny’ is the name I gave my constant companion called COPD/Asthma.  I have found that referring and dealing with my chronic illness as a companion I am less apt to get angry with it, but instead more likely to work with it like you would in a strong relationship.  Besides treating anything with TLC is much better than hammering away at it as if it was an enemy.

As always – if you or anyone you know have any symptoms involving lung and breathing functionality, and they linger over and over while disrupting a lifestyle – then please ask questions and get it checked out.

Remember – ‘a person without good breathing, is a person without a good life’, so let’s do what we can, to learn what we can, to improve what we can.

I bid to all – smiles, prayers, blessings and steady breathing – Mr. William.

(Copyright@2017, CrossDove Writer through wheezingaway.com – no part of this write may be used or copied without written permission.)

NOTES: Sometimes we share what may seem like medical information, but we are only giving descriptions and highlights of various aspects of having COPD and/or Asthma and no way do we ever want our information to be considered medical treatment type of information, always consult your physician for more, clearer medical founded information.

Words of COPD/Asthma – ‘Beta-2 Agonist’

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When you have a disability or chronic illness, one of the most important things you can do is to learn as much as you can about it.  The more you know, the easier it should be to get a handle on those days when you feel like it is a constant battle and you are not sure you are winning.

Knowing the language or words that go with COPD/Asthma is a great way to start or to continue to refresh a person’s knowledge of the ins and outs of the lifelong health companion which we are dealing with.

With that, we discuss some of what we call ‘must know words’ of life with COPD/Asthma – and today we will discuss briefly the importance of knowing the word(s) ‘Beta-2 Agonist’.

What is ‘Beta-2 Agonist’?

A very basic definition would be – a medication that relaxes and widens the airways, making breathing easier.

Beta-2 agonists are a type of bronchodilator, which means they were developed to help make breathing easier and are normally available in metered-dose inhalers, dry powder inhalers, a nebulizer, pill, injected, and in syrup forms.

Many ‘beta-2 agonists may be available in multiple forms and it will be your physician or pulmonologist who will help you decide which form works best for you and the level of your COPD and/or severe Asthma.

There will be two types of ‘beta-2 agonists’ to work with – one being short-acting and one being long-acting.

The short-acting type of ‘beta-2 agonists’ relieves symptoms and the long-acting form will help prevent further breathing problems.

Short-acting ‘beta-2 agonists’ will commonly be used for treating stable COPD with a patient whose symptoms come and go, intermittent symptoms.  The long-acting ‘beta-2 agonists’ are more effective and convenient for preventing and treating COPD in a person whose symptoms do not go away, persistent symptoms.

According to several medical reports, ‘beta-2 agonists’ are effective in treating symptoms of COPD and improving lung functions as measured by spirometry tests.  Reports also claim ‘beta-2 agonists’ can reduce the number of COPD exacerbations.

While all medicines have side effects, the most common side effects found from using ‘beta-2 agonists’ are headaches, anxiety, nausea, muscle tremors, nervousness and a possible increased or irregular heartbeat (palpitations).

According to reports, a couple of things can be pointed out about the possible side effects – one, they are more likely to occur when you take the medicine as a pill or injection, and two, side effects may appear to go away after you take the ‘beta-2 agonists’ for a while.

You should always remember to discuss with your pharmacist about the possible side effects of each medicine you take, and be sure to read any materials that come with the medicines you are prescribed.

With that, we always like to ask a QUESTION OF OUR READERS, and today we ask, “Do you take any ‘beta-2 agonists’ as part of your routine of efforts to control the progress and affects from your battle with COPD and/or severe Asthma?

As always – if you or anyone you know have any symptoms involving lung and breathing functionality, and they linger over and over while disrupting a lifestyle – then please ask questions and get it checked out.

Remember – ‘a person without good breathing, is a person without a good life’, so let’s do what we can, to learn what we can, to improve what we can.

With that I bid to all – smiles, prayers, blessings and steady breathing – Mr. William.

(Copyright@2017, CrossDove Writer, reprinting or reuse of this article is restricted without written permission.)

NOTE TO REMEMBER: We only give descriptions and highlights of various aspects of having COPD and/or asthma and no way do we ever want our information to be considered medical treatment type of information, always consult your physician for more, clearer and more medical founded information.

Know that you can follow all the writings by CrossDove Writer pertaining to COPD/Asthma by following at wheezingaway.com or on Facebook at COPD Travels.

(Information gathered from various books and internet sources discussing COPD, Asthma and other lung diseases)

Notes to Know About COPD/Asthma – Medicare Answers

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It is always important to know what is going on in the world of COPD/Asthma, hence a weekly posting of ‘Notes to Know about COPD/Asthma’ – because those of us battling the issue should always be up to date on what is going on, and that includes both the positives and the negatives of the COPD/Asthma life.

Here we share a write we found on copdfoundation.org regarding ‘Medicare Answers’ and how they are now readily available to those within the COPD community.

Special Note – When this writer was diagnosed with late Stage III COPD shortly after suffering a massive heart attack, it was an eye opener, especially after having had trouble keeping a consistent job record for several years due to health issues.  Somehow, someway, we seemed to gotten lucky in that we (with the help of our physician, pulmonologist and cardiologist) were able to jump onto early social security and Medicare.

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(This write was found on copdfoundation.org)

Medicare Answers Now Readily Available to the COPD Community

By Joe Baker, President, Medicare Rights Center

Understanding everything about Medicare, from when you should enroll to what Medicare covers – and doesn’t, to what you will pay and how to lower your costs, just became a whole lot easier for people with COPD and their families, caregivers, and health professionals.

The COPD Foundation is pleased to be working with the Medicare Rights Center, the largest and most reliable independent source of Medicare Information and assistance in the United States, to promote its newest tool, Medicare Interactive.

Judy Medicare Interactive is a free online resource packed with hundreds of answers to Medicare questions to help you navigate the complexities of Medicare coverage. The site’s new design and features ensure that its users can quickly find the Medicare answers they need through smart links to relevant Medicare Interactive pages and case examples, a roll-over glossary, and other helpful resources.

You can create a free profile to bookmark your favorite pages, manage Medicare Right’s newsletter subscriptions, access free exclusive links/downloads, and receive notices about key Medicare dates. As an initial thank you for registering, you will receive a welcome e-packet from the Medicare Rights Center, complete with the exclusive New to Medicare Guide.

To find answers to your Medicare questions, Medicare Interactive hosts an array of topics such as Introduction to Medicare, Medicare Covered Services, Filling Gaps in Medicare, and Programs for People with Low Incomes. Or, simply type in your question in the site’s Search bar.

Medicare Interactive explains, for example, the rules on how Medicare pays for oxygen equipment and supplies, repairs, and maintenance. You will also find information on the competitive bidding demonstration program for “durable medical equipment,” like oxygen, and how this program may – or may not – affect you. Medicare Interactive also offers help on how to keep costs down if you are not affected by the demonstration, or, need nebulizer equipment and supplies, which are excluded from the competitive bidding program.

If you have been denied Medicare coverage for a health service or item and want the coverage decision to be reconsidered, Medicare Interactive provides information on how to appeal. Whether you have Original Medicare, are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, or have been denied a prescription drug through Medicare Part D, Medicare Interactive outlines the steps to appeal an unfavorable coverage decision.

To dig deeper into Medicare, you can subscribe to MI Pro. Subscribers can access exclusive in-depth Medicare content, quizzes to test their progress, and printable learning tools. You can keep track of where you left off within each course, and complete coursework at your own pace. You can find out which courses are right for you by taking the free self-assessment.

Medicare Interactive provided over 2 million answers to Medicare questions last year alone. The Medicare Rights Center, which works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities, is excited to be teaming up with the COPD Foundation to bring Medicare Interactive direct to the COPD community.

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‘Notes to Know about COPD/Asthma’ will continue to feature writings from medical folks and caretakers who share insights into the world of what may be going on in the world of COPD/Asthma.  ‘Notes to Know about COPD/Asthma’ can be found at either wheezingaway.com or within the Facebook page, COPD Travels.

Remember – ‘a person without good breathing, is a person without a good life’, so let’s do what we can, to learn what we can, to improve what we can.

I bid to all – smiles, prayers, blessings and steady breathing – Mr. William.

(Copyright@2017, CrossDove Writer through wheezingaway.com – no part of this write may be used or copied without written permission.)

NOTES: Sometimes we share what may seem like medical information, but we are only giving descriptions and highlights of various aspects of having COPD and/or asthma and no way do we ever want our information to be considered medical treatment type of information, always consult your physician for more, clearer and more medical founded information.