‘Lenny’ and Me 4 Today – Apology, Celebration and Worry

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Yep, it’s been a while several weeks since ‘Lenny’ and I have shared, and with it being ‘COPD Awareness Month’ – I realized it was time to get back to being responsible and start back sharing regularly my story with the hopes that maybe something I say, do or share will connect and help someone else.

First of all, I apologize for not being more consistent with my writing on wheezing away.  It seems one of my character flaws would be not staying on a project for lengthy periods of time, though I have been working on that over the years and am a whole lot better now than I used to be.

My wife constantly reminds me that people are counting on me and some of the things I write and share, and even while I am aware of that – sometimes time slips by when I get busy with my writing for a local paper and dealing with adult kids and grandkids.  So, if you seriously get something out of some of my writes, then I say forgive me for my lack of consistency and I promise to continue to do better (though with winter coming up and being more house confined, my time should be more focused).

Secondly, let’s celebrate in a way, let’s celebrate November because it is ‘COPD AWARENESS MONTH’!!

Some may question my saying celebrate and that’s okay, but I figure anything that is done to bring more attention to the nasty time-consuming disease like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is good for me.

Attention is what is needed, especially when we have politicians who seem to think it will be okay to roll back environmental protection policies that are meant to help people from getting sick and harmed by toxic fumes and waste from big industry.  I live in a community that has a huge oil refinery and several factories that use plastic and chemicals to make things, and trust me there are days which I can get less than four steps out my front door and be able to tell someone if the refinery is burning off waster or something.

Attention is what is needed because politicians are wanting to cut back on science research, denying much needed work to find ways to fight this disease.

Attention is what is needed because COPD is one of those quiet diseases in which a person may seem totally normal on the outside, but may be fighting like heck on the inside to get a decent deep breath, while keeping their oxygen level up above the 90 mark.

So, celebrate ‘COPD Awareness Month’ by telling folks about the disease that maybe you or someone you care about is fighting.  Be honest with people and let them know what you can or cannot do, or what you may be able to or not be able to be around.

And third, I worry.  I worry about the items I already mentioned – how the government in charge seems to think it will be okay to roll back much needed environmental protection programs and how the government in charge seems determined to turn its back on the science of nature, health and the welfare of humanity.

I worry, because as well as myself and ‘Lenny’ may be doing today, I know that tomorrow can be just the absolute opposite.  I worry, because I do not want to become a burden to my wife and family members.

I worry, because over the past six weeks I have had several bouts that covered several days at a time in which I would get terribly short of breath when I would try and do much of anything.  I worry, because a recent spot where ‘Lenny’ acting up to the point of major concern, my pulmonologist reminded me of the fine line between my COPD and a slight heart condition as to which is causing my problem.  I worry, because my five stents are five years old and I have a new stress test (first one in three years) coming up in two weeks.

I worry, because I am not writing and sharing enough with those around me about ‘Lenny’ and I, as well as my thoughts about life in general.

But for now, I will not worry as ‘Lenny’ and I look to head for the pillow and hopefully a solid night of sleep.

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.

ALWAYS REMEMBER > A person without good breathing, is a person with a life of constant caution’, 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 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.

 

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Reflections of COPD/Asthma – Set 6 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 six, or the final set of a six-part set we refer to as ‘Outside/Inside of Them Lungs’, where we discuss the inside of lungs and what needs to happen, how it happens and why it happens.

Set 5 – – ‘Looking at Your Lungs from the Inside’:

Today we will look at ’What Went Wrong’ or why is it becoming so hard for you to breath?

Today we finish off our series about the ‘Outside/Inside – Your Lungs’ with a quick discussion of three more possible causes for the battle you have with COPD/Asthma.

‘Weak Airways’ could be one of the causes and the weak airways could come when the airways lose their integrity and/or strength to stay open due to the loss of the elastic fibers that give them that function.  When a person loses that elasticity, your airways will appear to pinch shut or collapse, which in turn prevents air from escaping.

‘Bronchospasm’ is also referred to as the inflammation or swelling inside the walls of a person’s airways caused by long term exposure to lung irritants.  A person can develop less room for air to pass through when the inside diameter of the airways become decreased by constant ‘bronchospasms’.

When those airways get irritated, the muscles surrounding them will tend to become squeezed and tightened, which also causes obstruction and making it harder for proper airflow in and out of the lungs.

The final area that can cause your lungs to ‘go wrong’ would be the ‘muscles of breathing’.

We all know the main muscle of breathing is your ‘diaphragm’ as it is meant to do most of the work of breathing by pulling on the bottom part of your lungs so air can flow properly.  But when your lungs become overinflated, it causes your diaphragm to become flat instead of dome-shaped, which puts you and the movement of your lungs at a disadvantage mechanically.

Anytime a person’s ‘diaphragm’ is not working properly, the other muscles will have to come to action and try to help get the business of airflow moving.  Unfortunately, these accessory muscles are not meant to do this job – that is when your muscles in your collarbone, neck and between the ribs tend to become tense, sore and sometimes feeling very fatigued.

While most people take breathing almost for granted, the fact is, breathing takes a lot of work and energy, and when the main muscles are not doing their job and the accessory muscles get called into play – that is when you develop problems with your shoulders, back and chest area.

So, there you have it, a six-set series on ‘Outside/Inside of Them Lungs’.  Hopefully some of the information will have given some an insight or remembrance of just what may be going on while you battle your own individual fight with either COPD and/or 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.

ALWAYS REMEMBER > A person without good breathing, is a person with a life of constant caution’, 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.)

Reflections of COPD/Asthma – Set 5 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 five of a six-part set we refer to as ‘Outside/Inside of Them Lungs’, where we discuss the inside of lungs and what needs to happen, how it happens and why it happens.

Set 5 – – ‘Looking at Your Lungs from the Inside’:

Today we will look at ’What Went Wrong’ or why is it becoming so hard for you to breath?

If you think back to those ‘little sweepers’ in your upper lungs called ‘cilia’, they over time can become damaged from smoke of all types and other environmental irritants.  Many times, this damage will or can destroy or paralyze the cilia sweepers which will cause them to stop functioning and that is when your lungs become unable to clean themselves out.

This is what some call ‘dirty lungs’ as a person will then have difficulty getting rid of excess mucous which will usually cause frequent coughing and eventually possible develop ‘chronic bronchitis’.

Another effect from lungs becoming damaged from smoke of all types and other environmental irritants would possible be to lose their ability to act like an elastic recoil – your lungs ability to get air out efficiently or as we would call it the ‘obstructive’ part of ‘Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease’.

A person’s lung tissue is supposed to be like elastic and stretch out like a balloon.  When lungs lose that ability to stretch and recoil they become unable to recoil back to normal and when that air that was supposed to be released or exhaled becomes stuck within your lungs, your lungs must work harder and many times will get air trapped and the lungs will become ‘hyperinflated’.

If a person develops a problem with ‘hyperinflation’ their lungs may become bigger than they should be at normal stage and this will lead to a problem with extra, stale air being compressed into good lung tissue keeping them from doing their job.  Eventually the lungs could stay ‘hyperinflated’ enough to become too big for the area in the body they are designed to be.

The lungs inability to stretch, recoil and then become ‘hyperinflated’ is what eventually becomes ‘emphysema’.

That my friends, is set five of what WheezingAway is calling ‘Outside/Inside – Your Lungs’.  Next posting of this series will be our last and will finish up the discussion dealing with what may be going wrong with the functioning of your lungs.

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 with a life of constant caution’, 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.)

Words of COPD/Asthma – ‘Emotions’

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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) ‘Emotions’.

What is ‘Emotions’ and Why is it an important word with COPD and/or Emotions?

Emotions are something which we may be feeling nearly every moment of a lifetime.

When asked, we bet that a person can rattle off a minimum of six to ten emotions or more in a matter of half a minute or less, as emotions can detail a huge range of our reactions to life itself, such as anger, anxiousness, cheerfulness, depression, fear, enthusiasm, grief, happy, joy, sad, stress and worry to name a few.

Why would the word emotions be of much importance to those of us that battle COPD and/or Asthma daily – because our emotions can and will indirectly affect how are COPD and/or Asthma may react during each, and every day.

Studies have been done that show links between COPD and/or Asthma, noting that it is a fact that feeling strong emotions alone may not be enough to cause you to develop a situation with your COPD and/or Asthma.

But if you already have COPD and/or Asthma, experiencing a range of emotions can certainly cause a flare up or even an exacerbation.

The reason why – when a person is dealing with any type of emotion, your breathing can change and become either quicker and shallower depending on the emotion.  If your airways may be particularly sensitive, emotions may be enough to set a COPD and/or Asthma attack into partial or full gear.

When you stop and evaluate some of the reactions made to certain emotions, you will find your breathing is affected by crying, yelling or laughing.  Other emotions such as depression, anger, stress, worry, enthusiasm and fear can cause a person to let their guard down, which in turn could lead to a trigger slipping by and setting off another battle with that persons COPD and/or Asthma.

So yes, emotions will be a word that needs to be kept on the front burner sort to speak, as so many of them can and will affect a person’s physical body, which in turn can and will possible affect the lungs and the breathing.

There is much more that can be said here, but the point to be made is the importance to realize and understand how the word ‘emotions’ can and will affect your life and the continuing battle which you have with COPD and/or Asthma.

At this point when we are ending our discussion of the moment, we always like to ask a QUESTION OF OUR READERS, and today we ask, “Have you noticed emotions affecting your COPD and/or Asthma, and if so, which emotions seem to cause the most concern in setting off an incident with your COPD and/or 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 living a life in constant caution’, 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)

Reflections of COPD/Asthma – Set 4 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 four of a six-part set we refer to as ‘Outside/Inside of Them Lungs’.

Set 4 – – ‘Looking at Your Lungs from the Inside’:

Today we will have a brief discussion on the process of ‘Oxygen Exchange’ which is simply that process of getting the oxygen to your blood system while removing the carbon dioxide out of your blood system – or an exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide.

Every time you take a breath those millions of ‘alveoli’ takes that fresh oxygen you brought in and passes on through their thin walls to the network of microscopic blood vessels called capillaries which in turn pass the oxygen into the bloody system where it travels on to those important things like your heart, brain and other parts of your human machine.

At that same point of oxygen exchange from the ‘aveoli’ to the blood system, the ‘aveoli’ filters out the carbon dioxide from the blood system and passes it outward as you exhale.

The amazing thing about this oxygen exchange is it happens in a fraction of a second and your body will do it an average of 15-25 times every minute while you are resting.  Your brain is wired to keep this process every minute of every hour of every day – amazing it is.

That my friends is part 4 of what WheezingAway is calling ‘Outside/Inside – Your Lungs’.  Next posting in our series we will have the first of two final discussions dealing with what may be going wrong with the functioning of your lungs.

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 with a life of constant caution’, 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.)

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.)

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)