BreathingSpace in Rotherham improving mortality rates and quality of life for people with COPD and only 23 miles from me!
Why didn’t I know about this before? BreathingSpace was conceived to provide the UK’s leading, and possibly the world’s largest rehabilitation service for people with a form of respiratory disease known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The funding was obtained through a partnership between the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) and Rotherham Primary Care Trust (PCT) with the support of Rotherham Borough Council.
They provide the following services:
- Pulmonary rehabilitation (a breathing exercise and education programme) – six week outpatient programme
- 20 inpatient beds providing care during acute episodes
- Full oxygen assessment service including assessment for ambulatory oxygen
- Lifestyle and education sessions
- Smoking cessation support and advice
- A residential breathing exercise and education programme (up to seven days)
- Respite care for people with a known respiratory condition (up to seven days)
- Hospice care for appropriate people with chronic respiratory disease
- Education for all involved in caring for people with COPD and other respiratory conditions
- Support to health care services in the management of patients with COPD and other respiratory conditions, including support with early supported discharge and admission avoidance
- 24 hour helpline for patients, carers and health care professionals
Does Summer Effect Your Breathing?
One good thing about summer is that I don’t seem to get all the bugs that I get in the winter and I am enjoying a prednisolone free time at the moment. But I have still had a few bad days for no specific reason. This piece taken from the site Very Well goes some way into explaining what is actually happening to your body in hot weather and why sometimes this can make it difficult to breath. For people with COPD summer heat is not only uncomfortable, it can lead to dangerous complications. Extreme heat and humidity can worsen COPD symptoms, including shortness of breath and bronchospasms.
And whats this humidity factor all about?
Humidity is a tricky COPD irritant. Some people thrive in humid environments while others hate the humidity because it causes breathing problems and other COPD complications. So find out which one you are by following the humidity forecasts for your area. It has been anything up to 98% in Holmfirth this week, This sort of explains why it is easier for some people to live in Spain where generally humidity is low.
Generally hot, humid air is heavy and hard to breathe. It can make you seem short of breath the entire time you’re exposed to the humidity and sometimes it can feel impossible to regain your breath, even when you get out of the humidity. But the humidity alone isn’t the single cause of the problem.High humidity levels outside can translate to lower air quality for a couple of different reasons. First, more humidity means more smog. An article published by the Advanced Healthcare Network reports that hot humid days are usually accompanied by high levels of smog. As you probably already know, smog and pollution can worsen your COPD symptoms or even cause you to have an exacerbation. Along with increased levels of smog, high levels of allergens are typically found in the air when humidity is present.
Allergies can make living with COPD extremely difficult, especially when it is hot and humid out. They can cause your airways to inflame or become irritated, make you sneeze uncontrollably, give you a scratchy throat which causes you to cough, and they can induce other symptoms unrelated to your COPD. When the temperature heats up, your level of dyspnea (shortness of breath), can sometimes be far greater than normal.
Extreme temperatures often result in stress to the entire body. If we think about how our bodies react to stress, we may be able to better understand the phenomenon of how temperature affects breathing. The body is always working to try to maintain a normal body temperature, which is about 98.6 degrees F. When we are exposed to extreme weather conditions, such as during the heat of summer, the body must expend extra energy to try to cool itself down in order to maintain a normal body temperature.
This extra energy requirement causes the body to demand more oxygen. If you have COPD, you are already using much of your energy just to breathe, not to mention everything else that you do during the day. So it’s not uncommon to experience a greater level of shortness of breath when you are exposed to extreme temperatures. Your body is being forced to use more energy while it struggles to maintain your body temperature.
Bronchospasms with COPD Due to Heat and Humidity
Have you ever stepped outside on a really hot day and taken a deep breath? The result is often startling. For people with COPD whose airways are already inflamed and irritated, breathing hot air can lead to bronchospasm. Bronchospasms are something that I suffer from all year round.
During a bronchospasm, the smooth muscle of the airways (the bronchi) contract, which decreases the size of the airways. The resultant decrease in the size of the airways makes it more difficult to get air into or out of the lungs. Subsequently, you will find that it’s harder to breathe and you may become short of breath.
It’s not just the summer heat that’s a problem. Elevated indoor temperatures result in increased concentrations of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide in the air, which can worsen COPD symptoms. The same is true with outdoor air when air pollutants are present. Unfortunately, we know that outdoor air pollutants are associated with both COPD exacerbations and deaths.
Preventing Complications from the Heat with COPD
While we cannot control the weather, we can control our environment and our exposure to extreme heat and humidity. Here are some steps you can take to beat the heat this summer and breathe easier:
Drink Plenty of Fluids: During the hot summer months, you should increase your fluidintake regardless of your activity level or thirst. Water loss from the body (through sweating) can range from 0.3 liters/hour in a comfortable sedentary environment, up to 6.0 liters per hour with a combination of high heat and physical activity. If you don’t compensate for this water loss with fluid intake, you can quickly become dehydrated.
Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen: A sunburn makes it even more difficult for your body to cool itself, so be sure to wear a good sunscreen every day, even if you are not planning to be in the direct sunlight. Keep cool by wearing lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting garments. Many people with COPD have deficient levels of vitamin D, so you may wish to apply your sunscreen (so you can absorb vitamin D) after being in the sun first for five to ten minutes.
Plan Your Activities Carefully: If you have to go outside, do so in the early morning hours or after the sun goes down. When driving, park in shady areas and place sun protectors in your car. Choose air-conditioned venues and indoor activities.
Stay Cool: If it is possible, stay indoors in an air-conditioned building (although getting outside for short periods of time, especially early in the morning or later in the evening, can be very healthy for those living with COPD.) If you don’t have air conditioning, plan your day to involve going to places that do, for example, the library, a shopping mall or a friend or family member’s home that is air conditioned. Keep in mind that if air conditioning is needed for your health, you may be able to deduct this on your taxes with a note from your doctor.) Take a cool shower or bath to lower your body temperature. Avoid activities that involve utilizing extra energy. Call your local health department to see if they can recommend a heat-relief shelter in your area.
Use the Buddy System: During hot summer months, make sure to have friends or family members call at least twice a day to make sure you are OK. This is a good idea regardless of the season or heat.
Avoid Excess Activity: You will be better able to tolerate the heat if you avoid strenuous physical activity or exercise during hot days. Again, it’s important to note that exercise is very important for people with COPD and may not only improve your quality of life but increase your survival. Your best bet is to exercise in a place where air conditioning is available. Make sure you get plenty of water since the combination of physical activity and heat further increases fluid loss.
Take Your Medications as Directed: Remember to take your medications as directed by your doctor. If you use oxygen, talk to your doctor about your oxygen requirements during the summer months.
Pay Attention to Weather Reports: Make it a point to watch or listen to the daily weather report alerting you to current weather conditions. Learn how to use the heat index chart provided by the National Weather Service which assesses the severity of the weather by considering both heat and humidity. Pay attention as well to pollution advisories. As noted above, increased heat, whether indoors our outside, increases the concentration of particulate matter in the air, which could affect your breathing. Plan your activities during times of more moderate weather, devoid of extreme weather advisories. Even short periods of extreme temperatures can cause serious illness and/or COPD complications.
Keep fighting there is no other way with this illness. Don’t just sit back and think things will get better. The following is a link to a two part post which I have edited from My COPD Team which gives you ideas how to do this. See – How to Manage Your COPD Like a Respiratory Therapist – Part 1 and Part 2. When I am feeling low I play some songs to lift my mood one of them is
NO MATTER HOW PAINFUL DO YOUR PULMONARY REHAB!!
MY WEIGHT LOSS BATTLE FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS –
MORE ON THIS IN JULY!!!
‘As Oliver Emberton says monomaniacal focus on a single goal is perhaps the ultimate success stratagem. It’s a pattern found in everyone from Edison to Einstein. When you’re able to focus on a single goal, constantly, your achievements reach their theoretical limit.’ This is absolutely true and now I am focusing on this weight problem I am losing weight steadily. My weight loss for last week was over 1/2 a stone. Tomorrow is my weigh in for this week! My breathing IS improving and yes I have lost another 2lb this week YAY!!!
IS YOUR HOUSE POISONING YOU?
Well another week and another infection, or is it the same one? People with COPD as well as asthma have a very difficult time as it is absolutely impossible to remove everything from your home that can trigger an attack. Because your airways are smaller now and after years of using your bronchodilators are not quite as effective as they used to be. Things can get a bit impossible at times and a hospital stay is required to settle the inflammation.
Sometimes your trigger can be a plain old virus that you have picked up from your child or grandkids, what would be a inconvenience to them could mean a hospital stay for you or at least a week in bed taking a load of meds that you dont want to take. So what can we do? I have found this situation almost impossible. I have got rid of my gas appliances except of course the central heating. I have got a brand new electric cooker and it is so much better for me cleaning wise. Because I think I might have given myself a cold from not using the Gas fire, tomorrow I have a lovely new dimplex real flame fire arriving as I have had my gas fire cut off. These things I can have control of. There are many that we cannot control such as pets, dust (it always seems to be there) and our Grandchildren. I often say to my daughter dont bring them down if they are ill but then I just cant resist seeing them they are so lovely and they raise my spirits no end. So all we can do is do our best and be sensible.
If anyone has any further ideas on how to cleanse your home please leave a comment and I will include it in my next post.
FEATURED POSTS – SEE LEFT SIDE PANEL FOR OTHER POSTS
How to Manage Your COPD Like a Respiratory Therapist – Part 1 and Part 2 this is a great piece by My COPD Team which is a social network for those living with COPD.
My trip to see the Wigan Warblers and the COPD Athlete – Includes reversing the downward spiral
Falling off the precipice – and my appointment at the Royal Brompton.
MY PIP EXPERIENCE – A complete fiasco!
Lung Reduction Surgery, Valves, Coils and Further New Developments
The 10-Step Program – does it work? – GREAT BOOK
A Short Walk a Day Helps COPD Patients Stay Out of the Hospital
TVs Nadia Sawalha Highlights the Struggle COPD Sufferers Have Every Day
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU ON A BAD DAY? – Some of my biggest motivators!
MUSIC – THIS IS SO GOOD FOR THE LUNGS
What keeps me going with this illness on my bad days when I am stuck in is MUSIC and my taste is very diverse. From the tacky to the classics. I discovered YouTube and all the free entertainment, just a click away. I have always loved singing even when I am told I can’t sing by my family (so cruel). Music has always been a big motivator for me, it has also been proven to be great exercise for the lungs. Hey Google it, and see what you find!
CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN AM SO THANKFUL TO HAVE THESE LITTLE PEOPLE IN MY LIFE!
My children and my Grandchildren are my greatest motivators. They enrich my life so very much you just can’t feel sorry for yourself when those little faces are about. Its awesome when you think you have created all these people!
She has really given me some perspective over this illness she has pulled me up and yes at times ground me down However if it hadn’t been for her perseverance I don’t think I would have been able to give up the Cigs and stick to my diet and exercise. She showed me I could do it and I couldn’t let her down now could I?
I discovered that there was no need to sit in a mess when I was ill. The house looked as if a burglar had been and my asthma was so bad with the dust it was really not helping the situation. So I ASKED FOR HELP which is a very difficult thing to do when you have been so used to helping everyone else and have been super efficient yourself. In the past I did all my own decorating, baking, parties, cleaning and worked part-time and full-time over the years AND brought up 4 children.
People find COPD difficult to understand and think if you stop smoking and take exercise you will be fine. But unfortunately that’s not quite right. Taking exercise safely is very important and of course stopping smoking is important too. However, a great number of people actually suffer from one form or another of COPD who have been fit in the past and have never smoked. For those of you who like statistics the following page is quite interesting just click the link British Lung Foundation statistics . These statistics can be quite depressing but what we have to consider is that people who have more knowledge of this illness will fare much better than those who do not understand its progression and how to help themselves. There are many things you can do to improve your life and I am going to share these things with you in the section Coming to terms with your diagnosis this took me a lot of doing you have to accept it first, become friends with it, if you get my meaning then you can enrich your life and make it much better.