Notes to Know About COPD/Asthma – Normal & Low Oxygen Levels

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It is always important to know what is going on in the world of COPD/Asthma, hence a weekly (at the minimum) 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.

Today we are sharing a posting presented on lunginstitute.com that discusses the ‘Difference between Normal Oxygen Levels and Low Oxygen Levels.

Special Note – Like so many others with COPD/Asthma, we rely on knowing our oxygen levels to know what is going on within our ability to breathe.  Like many, I sometimes know before even checking that my oxygen levels are out of sync.  But like many, I never can get enough information in my continued efforts to learn as much as I can about my ongoing battle with COPD/Asthma.

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The Difference Between Normal Oxygen Levels and Low Oxygen Levels

(As posted by Maren Auxier on lunginstitute.com, June 2, 2017)

Your oxygen level refers to the amount of oxygen in your blood. When that number drops below normal levels, it’s referred to as hypoxemia. People with lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, need to be particularly aware of their blood oxygen levels, as they are at a higher risk of hypoxemia.

Tools like pulse oximeters, a small device that attaches to your finger, help you to better understand blood oxygen levels in your body. For those who use supplemental oxygen, a pulse oximeter is a valuable tool in measuring your oxygen saturation level, helping you to understand when to use supplemental oxygen.

So, at what point do oxygen levels go from being normal to unsafe? Before we dive into that more, let’s first explore what it means to have a normal oxygen level and a low oxygen level.

What is a Normal Oxygen Level?

Most people with COPD have oxygen levels that are below normal, even when using supplemental oxygen. The best way to measure oxygen level is through arterial blood gases (ABGs), measured in millimeters of mercury, or mm Hg. In the blood, a normal oxygen level typically ranges from 75 to 100 mm Hg. When blood oxygen levels drop under 60 mm Hg, it is usually an indication that the person needs supplemental oxygen.

If you have COPD, your doctor might give you a prescription for supplemental oxygen to help you to maintain normal oxygen levels. Your doctor should give you a safe range that he or she wants you to stay within to help you better understand when to use the supplemental oxygen. If you find that you’re consistently falling below the range that your doctor suggested, notify your doctor immediately, as your doctor may need to adjust the oxygen flow rate on your supplemental oxygen. Maintaining a normal oxygen level is imperative for effectively managing COPD.

Your doctor might also give you specific directions to adjust your own oxygen flow rate based on your oxygen saturation levels. Consult with your primary care doctor or pulmonologist for the best plan of action for your specific situation.

What is a Low Oxygen Level, or Hypoxemia?

When you don’t get enough oxygen in your blood, the body has trouble effectively nourishing your cells, tissues and organs. A low blood oxygen level, or hypoxemia, can occur suddenly, or can also take place over time.  Frequently, for people with COPD, low oxygen levels occur over time. Doctors often prescribe supplemental oxygen to COPD patients with hypoxemia.

Many people with COPD, however, are not aware that they are hypoxemic. Hypoxemia with COPD can result in a reduction in quality of life, impaired skeletal muscle function, decreased exercise tolerance and increased risk of death. Because of this, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of hypoxemia with COPD:

             > Confusion

             > A sense of euphoria

             > Restlessness

             > Headache

             > Shortness of breath

             > Rapid breathing

             > Dizziness, lightheartedness and/or fainting spells

             > Lack of coordination

             > Rapid heart rate

             > Elevated blood pressure

             > Visual disturbances

             > Bluish tint to lips, earlobes and/or nail beds

             > Elevated red blood cell count or polycythemia

             > Monitoring your Oxygen Levels

While the best way to monitor blood oxygen levels is through your ABGs, they are difficult to measure from home. The best way to measure oxygen levels at home is to use a pulse oximeter, which measures oxygen saturation. Normal oxygen saturation levels range from 95 to 100 percent. Anything under 90 percent is considered low. In general, anyone having levels below 90 percent at rest should explore their options for supplemental oxygen therapy with their primary care doctor.

If you or a loved one is experiencing low oxygen levels, contact your primary care physician immediately to discuss your treatment options. Other patients have experienced great success after undergoing stem cell therapy from the Lung Institute. Contact us today for more information about how stem cell therapy is helping COPD patients today.

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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.

Notes to Know About COPD/Asthma – E-Cigarettes & COPD – Cautionary Vaping

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It is always important to know what is going on in the world of COPD/Asthma, hence a weekly (at the minimum) 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.

Many, if not most, of those with COPD in particular were smokers or spent a bunch of their life around a smoker or smokers.  Whether you smoke or not, the following write was found wandering the internet and we found it particularly interesting – it will give you all something to think about, especially if you are or were a smoker.

Special Note – Is this subject personal, yes, it is.  Much of my childhood was spent around a father and a couple of relatives who smoked either a pipe or cigarettes, which I have at moments blamed for some of my situation fighting late Stage III COPD while also dealing with severe Asthma.  Having had to walk through groups or individuals who were vaping, I found absolutely no difference in my physical reaction to the situation – in other words I either held my breath walking past or run the risk of sniffy even a hint of the vapors and like with regular smoking, set my COPD/Asthma into a tizzy.

With that, read on and see if you can relate to this particular problem with your larynx when using an inhaler.

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E-Cigarettes and COPD: Cautions if you’re Vaping

E-Cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular among smokers, non-smokers and those trying to quit smoking. There are some cautions, however, that you may want to keep in mind if you’re vaping (using e-cigarettes) or considering it. e-cigarettes and copd

How They Work

Before getting into the details about the cautions of vaping, it’s important to understand how these devices work. First, the user inhales through a mouthpiece which switches on a small, battery-powered heater. The heat vaporizes a small cartridge containing liquid nicotine and propylene glycol (PEG), then the user gets a puff of hot gas, exhales and finally releases a cloud of vapor created by the PEG.

Using Them to Quit Smoking

If you smoke or are working on quitting smoking, you already know how important quitting is for your health and well-being. Many people have been turning to vaping to help them quit smoking, but the results and risks vary.

In 2010, an online survey showed that 96% of the 3,587 participants surveyed admitted that using e-cigarettes helped them quit smoking and 92% of participants mentioned it made them smoke less.2 However, Michael Eriksen, Director of the Institute of Public Health at Atlanta’s Georgia State University, noted that these products are sold as something for you to use in situations where you normally wouldn’t be able to smoke—and this will just encourage you to use more nicotine, not reduce the frequency you smoke.1

Carl Philips, PhD, and Scientific Director of Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA), cautions people on how quitting-smoking rates are reported and determined: People who no longer smoke combustible cigarettes and instead use e-cigarettes are considered former smokers. This is because of the keyword: smoke. E-cigarettes, like smokeless tobacco, don’t involve inhaling smoke, meaning results of a near 100% quit rate can be shown because those who vape can call themselves non-smokers.3

Immediate Effects

Initial research has been done to determine if there are any immediate effects on individuals who use e-cigarettes and to determine if there is a relationship between e-cigarettes and COPD. Dr. Sofia Vakali, a researcher who helped conduct this study, monitored smokers with COPD, smokers with asthma, smokers with no symptoms and nonsmokers to determine adverse effects of vaping. Below are the symptoms users experienced:

Sore Throat

62% of those with COPD

91% of those with asthma

74% of nonsmokers

65% of smokers

Cough

69% of those with COPD

66% of those with asthma

54% of nonsmokers

69% of smokers

Other symptoms all groups experienced were eye irritation and dry mouth.

Potential Long-Term Harm

One of the biggest uncertainties with vaping is that the long-term consequences for someone who stops inhaling cigarette tars and just inhales nicotine are unknown.1 Other sources point out that vaping still allows substances into your lungs that are not meant to be inhaled.3

Other Factors to Consider

A research paper in Tobacco Control noted that e-cigarettes are missing important regulations such as proper labeling, health warnings, clear directions and ways to safely dispose the product. The researchers also found that some of the cartridges leaked, which may expose you to a toxic level of nicotine. Since these products are lacking regulation, how much you are able to inhale the substance and the exact substances used are left up to the manufacturer.

(Sources used for this article – WebMD, About COPD, Forbes and MedPage Today)

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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.

Reflections of COPD/Asthma – #3 of the ‘5 Myths of COPD’

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As a writer, I find it important to share what I learn with others so that they also may gain knowledge needed to have more secure footing when they battle their own illness or chronic disease.

Taking my responsibility for learning as much as I can about my COPD/Asthma is something I choose to do so to make myself more aware of what is happening now, what may happen at any moment and what may lay ahead as I travel my path of life with the companionship of COPD/Asthma.

With all that, ‘Reflections of COPD/Asthma’ will cover a variety of topics to help remind people, both those affected by the disease and those family and friends that surround them, of the ideas, research, diagnoses, game-plans and all that goes with keeping the battles at a distance.

Today we discuss or refresh your knowledge of part three of a five-part series on the ‘5 Myths of COPD/Asthma that can make you sicker’ if you let them.

COPD Myth #3: “COPD is the same as asthma.”

Even though most my postings or references refer to COPD and Asthma, and while they both are inflammatory type conditions causing coughing and wheezing – Asthma and COPD are very different diseases, though studies show that approximately 15% of people can have both asthma and COPD.

Though asthma can develop at any age, most people with asthma start noticing it as children or teens whereas COPD slowly develops over time and normally is not noticeable by symptoms until individuals are 40 years old or older.

When a person is exposed to allergens such as dust, pollen or pet dander is when asthma symptoms may appear and those folks will be symptom-free in the time-period between asthma attacks.

People with COPD will experience flare ups or what’s called exacerbations when they get a cold, an upper respiratory infection or exposure to smoke and/or other lung irritants.

The treatment difference between Asthma and COPD are similar in use of inhalers, though asthma’s treatment if more with long-term medicines to help reduce airway inflammation with quick-relief or rescue bronchodilators as needed for symptoms of wheezing while those diagnosed with COPD need to be on long-lasting inhalers as opposed to rescue medications.

The important thing is for people having difficulties with breathing on a consistent basis is that they get properly diagnosed by their physician and/or a pulmonologist.

QUESTIONS OF REFLECTION – – If you have been diagnosed with both Asthma and COPD, what has your pulmonologist done in laying the groundwork for treatment?  Which, in your opinion, affects your daily life more and how long have you been diagnosed with each, as well as both together?

If you would like to reflect your response to others, please leave them under the comment section of wheezingaway.com.  Thanx.

As always, CrossDove Writer reminds you that 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 breathing is a person without life itself.

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)

To follow all postings about COPD/Asthma by CrossDove Writer and Mr. William at wheezingaway.com or on Facebook at COPD Travels.

(Information gathered from various news/health websites, COPD Foundation’s “Big Fat Reference Guide on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease” and the book “Live Your Life with COPD”)

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Words of COPD/Asthma – ‘Dyspnea’

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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 all that in mind, let’s discuss the word ‘Dyspnea’.

‘Dyspnea’ as defined by ‘The American Thoracic Society’ is “a subjective experience of breathing discomfort that can vary in intensity”.  Other definitions would be “difficulty in breathing”, “disordered or inadequate breathing”, “uncomfortable awareness of breathing” and “the experience of breathlessness, either acute or chronic”.

‘Dyspnea’ is evaluated by assessing the intensity of the distinct sensations in an individual’s breathing, the degree of distress involved and its burden/impact on an individual’s daily living.  Some of the distinct sensations would include air hunger (the feeling of not having enough oxygen) and chest tightness.

Many studies have concluded that in 85% of the cases where an individual has ‘Dyspnea’ it will be caused by either asthma, pneumonia, acute coronary syndrome, congestive heart failure, pulmonary embolism and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.  In a few cases ‘Dyspnea’ can be caused by psychogenic reasons such as panic and anxiety disorders.

Any treatments for ‘Dyspnea’ would depend on the underlying cause.

ONE THING TO REMEMBER is the initial approach to evaluating ‘Dyspnea’ begins by assessment of the airway, breathing, and circulation followed by a medical history and physical examination.

In our own individual battle with COPD and/or asthma, be sure to learn and understand the words of importance in understanding what is going on within these battles.

Today that word of importance and in need of note and understanding is ‘Dyspnea’.

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.

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 always that without breathing a person is without life itself.

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

(Copyright@2017, CrossDove Writer)

Reprint or reuse of this article is restricted without written permission.

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.

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

Reflections of COPD/Asthma – #2 of the ‘5 Myths of COPD’

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As a writer, I find it important to share what I learn with others so that they also may gain knowledge needed to have more secure footing when they battle their own illness or chronic disease.

Taking my responsibility for learning as much as I can about my COPD/Asthma is something I choose to do so to make myself more aware of what is happening now, what may happen at any moment and what may lay ahead as I travel my path of life with the companionship of COPD/Asthma.

With all that, ‘Reflections of COPD/Asthma’ will cover a variety of topics to help remind people, both those affected by the disease and those family and friends that surround them, of the ideas, research, diagnoses, game-plans and all that goes with keeping the battles at a distance.

Today we kick off or refresh a five-part series on the ‘5 Myths of COPD/Asthma that can make you sicker’ if you let them.

Note that the majority, of the information shared in this series comes from an article written by Beth W. Orenstein and was reviewed by Niya Jones, MD, MPH, while remembering that COPD is now considered the third leading cause of death in the United States with more than 12 million having COPD, Asthma, Emphysema or Chronic Bronchitis.

COPD Myth #2: “It’s too late to quit smoking.”

Physicians and pulmonologists seem to hear many COPD/Asthma patients saying that it won’t do any good to quit smoking since their lungs are already so badly damaged.

All physicians and pulmonologists would say ‘that’s absolutely false’ as quitting smoking is the most important thing a person can do to make their battle with COPD/Asthma less stressful and more long-term workable, as smoking and lung issues are never a good combination.

While a person may never be able to completely undo, the damages done to their lungs from smoking, to continue smoking while battling COPD and/or severe asthma will not slow down the lung issues and a person who chooses to continue smoking will continue to find it harder to breathe.

If a person with COPD/Asthma would quick smoking, they will feel better almost immediately, whereas if a person continues to smoke they will increase their risk of death from COPD and/or an asthma attack by more than 12 times the average.

While you can bet that those changes being made will take a person away from a habit like smoking, it will be very difficult for most – but breaking that habit of smoking is never too late to enhance the long-term prognosis and the long-term prognosis of avoiding lung issues for those around you that have been breathing in the second-hand smoke you may leave behind.

QUESTIONS OF REFLECTION – – If you have developed lung issues like severe asthma and/or COPD from being a smoker, have you been able to quit the habit and if so how quickly after a lung diagnosis?  Also, if you have quit, what was the top reason for doing so?

If you would like to reflect your response to others, please leave them under the comment section of wheezingaway.com.  Thanx.

As always, CrossDove Writer reminds you that 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 breathing is a person without life itself.

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)

To follow all postings about COPD/Asthma by CrossDove Writer and Mr. William at wheezingaway.com or on Facebook at COPD Travels.

(Information gathered from various news/health websites, COPD Foundation’s “Big Fat Reference Guide on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease” and the book “Live Your Life with COPD”)

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The Answers Were – The Question of Fear and ‘SoB’ (Short of Breath)

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Health--Humor--LifeBreathsTakenBreathsTakenAway We continue trying something new by posting a Friday question/survey (with no tie to any blog or facebook page) with idea of following-up a few days later with a sharing of the responses.  These questions will all revolve around having COPD, Asthma and/or any type of lung disease/illness with the hopes that we can understand many of us have our own battles and that many will be similar or even the same as the individual battles we each face everyday.

So here it is a few days later and I am here to share those responses.

The question proposed during this weekend was – “What event do you fear most of attending and having a bout of SoB (Short of Breath)?”  The following notes are what came of the posting and maybe you can relate to many or at least some of them.

  • > > 16 facebook pages showed that someone had at least seen and/or liked the question posted.
  • > > 12 of those facebook pages had folks leave a total of 68 responses, most with actual remarks about what exercises work for them while others were simply responses to other responses and/or questions on another response which means we did get some good dialogue among fellow sufferers of lung issues.
  • > > The 5 most mentioned answers were fears of having a bout SoB (Short of Breath) while being out alone, climbing stairs, shopping, walking and during times of high heat and humidity.
  • > > Other events mentioned included fishing, sporting events, entertainment events, a family get together, being at a barbershop or hair salon, taking care of grandkids and being in church.
  • > > Surprisingly only one person seemed to mention driving a vehicle.
  • > > We did have a few responses that stated ‘no longer in fear of ‘SoB’ as it is what it is.

As for myself, I do at times though not as much as I used to – have a fear of having a bout of ‘SoB’ (Short of Breath) when I am at church (normally affected by folks with strong perfume/cologne), shopping (just doing too much) and being with the grandkids (though several of them know exactly what to do).  When and if I need to drive somewhere I nearly never go further than a 90-minute drive without someone going with me and of course always, always have my cell phone with me.

There you have the responses of the weekly question/survey for all to share with, as sharing is how we all really grow in our walk/battle with our own lung/breathing issues.

Until we share ‘Your Answer Was’ next Tuesday, thanx.

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 breathing is a person without life itself.

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

(Copyright@2015, CrossDove Writer through wheezingaway.com)

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Must Know Words of COPD/Asthma – Today is ‘Alveoli’

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Health--COPD--I-Am-A-Warrior  While having to battle life threatening diseases like COPD and Asthma we always need to be prepared and that preparation includes many, many items of information to help our battles be successful.

Those of us with Wheezingaway.com, COPD Travels and CrossDove Writer continually and dutifully work toward helping raise awareness among others about these two diseases of COPD and Asthma because “without breath we are without life itself”.

Those with COPD and/or Asthma have the duty to learn and know the language of these dreadful lung diseases.

With that idea we discuss some of what we call ‘must know words’ of life with COPD/Asthma – and today we talk the word ‘Alveoli’.

‘Alveoli’ is the microscopic air sac-like structures found at the ends of the smallest airways in the lungs and are responsible for facilitating the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Notable Fact of Alveoli – each alveoli is just one cell thick or about the same thickness as the wall of a soap bubble and there are more than 300 million ‘alveoli’ in a set of normal healthy lungs.  If you laid all the airways and air sacs of healthy lungs flat on the ground they would cover over 100 square yards.

While ‘Alveoli’ are so small, their numbers are great and they handle one of the most important exchanging the incoming oxygen for the much needed removal of carbon dioxide.

When your air sacs or ‘Alveoli’ do not perform properly you will at times get air trapped in your ‘alveoli’ which makes it harder for you to exhale the air you took in and get the carbon dioxide out – when this happens you may feel a full or tightness in your chest.

When you air sacs or ‘alveoli’ become damaged or even destroyed, this will leave fewer ‘alveoli’ to get the oxygen into the blood while taking the carbon dioxide out.  The decrease in efficiency of this gas exchange will make you feel short of breath.

So while airways get your air down into the lungs, know that the most important piece of your lung puzzle is the ‘alveoli’ for its ability to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide within each and every breath you take.

In your own individual battle with COPD and/or asthma be sure to learn and understand the words of importance in understanding what is going on within these battles – today one of those words was ‘alveoli’.

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 always that without breathing a person is without life itself.

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

(Copyright@2015, CrossDove Writer)

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