Rare ‘healthy’ smokers’ lungs explained | COPD News Of The Day

Man smoking

The mystery of why some people appear to have healthy lungs despite a lifetime of smoking has been explained by UK scientists.The analysis of more than 50,000 people showed favourable mutations in people’s DNA enhanced lung function and masked the deadly impact of smoking. The Medical Research Council scientists say the findings could lead to new drugs to improve lung function. But not smoking will always be the best option, they say.

Many, but not all, smokers will develop lung disease. But so too will some who have never touched a cigarette in their lives.

The researchers analysed the huge amount amount of health and genetic data from volunteers to the UK’s Biobank project.

Read more Rare ‘healthy’ smokers’ lungs explained which also includes a video of the findings.

Expanding Treatment Options: The Latest Developments in COPD Therapy | MD Magazine

The MD Magazine Peer Exchange ” Expanding Treatment Options: The Latest Developments in COPD Therapy” features a panel of physician experts discussing key topics in COPD therapy, including risk factors, personalized treatment, preventive measures, new combination therapies, and more. Moderated by Peter Salgo, MD, the panel includes Byron Thomashow, MD; Neil R. MacIntyre, MD; Barry J. Make, MD; and Nicola A. Hanania, MD, MS.

Source: Expanding Treatment Options: The Latest Developments in COPD Therapy | MD Magazine


2A18BFB700000578-3143645-image-m-20_1435631471663New research shows a special valve in the lungs can help emphysema patients breathe more easily. Ted Poole, 68, a retired business consultant from North London, had the procedure.

‘I’d smoked up to 40 cigarettes a day since I was 14,’ said Ted Poole. Over Christmas 2002, my wife Lynn and I both had a bad bout of flu.

But I was still coughing and spluttering two months later, so I saw a GP. He tested my breathing and said I had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — incurable damage to my lungs due to years of smoking.

I’d smoked up to 40 cigarettes a day since I was 14, and Lynn smoked, too. She was diagnosed with COPD a few weeks later. We both gave up smoking immediately, which helped and the GP also prescribed inhalers.

But the COPD slowed us down. Neither of us could climb stairs or walk far without pausing for breath, and we had to give up our hobby; riding our tandem bike in the New Forest. After a chest infection in 2011, Lynn couldn’t breathe properly and ended up in hospital. She was referred to the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, where she underwent a new procedure to have metal coils inserted into her lungs to help them work better. Apparently the coils would compress the damaged areas so that the healthy parts could work more effectively.

I asked my GP to refer me, too. The doctors at the Royal Brompton said I had emphysema; basically, tiny air sacs in my lungs had become damaged by smoking and I wasn’t exhaling properly, so air was getting trapped. This trapped air was preventing me from breathing more air in. I was told my right lung was worse than my left.

But my lungs were too damaged for me to be suitable for the coils operation. I’d got to the point where I struggled for breath even while talking……read more

WELL I NEVER KNEW THAT- On the subject of bloating

Diaphragmatic breathing and Losing Belly Fat – This can improve your life!

Was reading a very interesting piece this morning on bloating and COPD. I have suffered this for a few years now and I thought it was the steroids that I have consumed over the past 5 years. However, now I am wondering if there is more to this problem than I previously realised and, if there is, can I do anything to improve my round tummy as well as dieting of course!images (1)

After reading a number of other articles on the subject my interest was really peaking. Apparently the diaphragm can get pushed by the stomach and it can change shape as COPD worsens. I also found out that 70% of your oxygen comes from the bottom part of your lungs, interesting, seen as how I don’t need supplemental oxygen and its the top of my lungs that is my problem. That explains a lot! And, I was quite cheered up to realise after a quick bit of mental arithmetic that the top of your lungs, where my problem is, only 30% is responsible for making oxygen. Well, if this is true, what else could be interfering with my big 70% allowance. So after reading this wonderful piece by a well know UK writer of COPD, I decided to research if fat played an even bigger role than bloating and I was so surprised at what I found. I put ‘fat stomach and breathing’ into the search engine and I was inundated with loads of information. This information, I have condensed and related below, I am definitely going to do exercise and lose as much weight as I possibly can after reading this research.

Large Waist Size May Lead to Troubled Breathing

Excess belly fat is strongly associated with impaired lung function. Researchers analyzed images (12)information from more than 120,000 people and found that the larger a person’s waist size, the smaller their forced vital capacity -the maximum volume of air that a person can exhale after breathing in as much air as possible. One factor that may contribute to the problem is the inflammation associated with fat tissue. But excess fat may also constrict the lungs, making it harder to breathe. The weight of the fat on the chest wall decreases the amount of room for the lungs. It also pushes up on the diaphragm, restricting its movement, particularly when bending over or lying down. I dont know if you have ever noticed that when you bend down to do something you are more out of breath, it happens to me when I am filling and emptying the washer.

“Carrying around extra weight is work,” says Gail Weinmann, MD, the deputy director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institutes Division of Lung Diseases. “The more you weigh, the more work it is to carry it around. Its like carrying a backpack. For someone who has a reduced lung capacity, the extra weight would be like carrying suitcases.”

Women and men with abdominal obesity were twice as likely as those with a normal waist size to have a low forced vital capacity. The association between waist size and lung function was seen even in people of normal weight.

Excess belly fat may affect breathing by pushing on the diaphragm and chest wall, makinglesson-10-nutrition-and-lung-disease-9-638 it harder for the lungs to fill with air. The American Heart Association considers a waist circumference of more than 35 inches for women (mine is over 40!) or 40 inches for men to be abnormal. And, as I have mentioned in another of my posts, steroids actually make you put weight on in that particular place, see Making Life Easier With COPD. Sometimes, I wonder if all the steroids I’ve taken and the weight I have gained have actually caused my COPD to get worse, as I have asthma as well, this can be an additional problem. The study didn’t look at whether losing weight can help improve lung function, but previous research and common sense suggest that it can.

Being overweight puts a burden on your entire body, says Norman Edelman, MD, the chief medical officer at the American Lung Association. More oxygen must be moved around for the excess tissues; this causes the heart to work harder and places a greater burden on the cardiovascular system. It is also more difficult to breathe when someone is overweight. Dr. Edelman says diseases like asthma tend to be more severe in heavier individuals. (Many people with COPD have asthma too.)

Source:American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Volume 179, page 509; March 15, 2009

long-breath-diet-revealed-01sSo what can be done about this, well as I previously mentioned losing weight is probably a necessity and also getting those core muscle groups toned is another. Its very difficult though when you have COPD, its difficult to breathe at the best of times. So, probably the best thing is to start getting the weight down first and then gradually feed in the exercises. One exercise that can be done whilst losing that weight is ‘Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises’. You can actually lose weight just by doing those regularly, this was news to me! So I am now very keen on getting into this.


It is said that when you sigh and when you are sleeping the breathing technique that people most use is in fact this diaphragmatic breathing. I think I am going to sleep with a tape across my mouth now, no not really, only joking. But, I think that I must do this when I am sleeping because I snore a lot when I am asleep, or so my daughter says. Well, here is a video showing you diaphragmatic breathing and it’s supposed to help you get the tone back into your tummy muscles too. So that can’t be bad.

Also this other video I have found I think explains it very well. I think that Yoga uses this technique in the breathing exercises and when you sing you also can use this type of breathing technique.

I also trawled the net looking for information on losing weight from the stomach and I gained the following information –

  1. Stop using salt because it encourages bloating. My family have been telling me this for years, I love salt. So now I really am going to do without salt and processed meats and processed foods, I am going to seriously give this a go.
  2. Get a good nights sleep at lease 7 hours a night.
  3. Drink Lemon juice, this you can make yourself. In one video I saw them mix in ginger, cucumber and mint with the drink. This suits me very well because I am addicted to lemon juice, I drink a lot of it!
  4. Grapefruit, eat a grapefruit before every meal, no probs I love grapefruit and can eat it like an orange.
  5. Snack on healthy things all day to stop your blood sugar levels from falling and sending your body into starvation mode, sweet things that you crave can be stored as fat in the abdominal region.
  6. Also don’t get stressed because, if you allow yourself to become mentally stressed, scientific studies have shown that when stress levels are high it increases your appetite, your cravings for sugar and this is typically stored in the abdominal region.

So I am going to try the above methods for a few weeks, I have another appointment at Jimmy’s in Leeds on the 9th March, lets see how I get on getting this tummy of mine down. Are you going to have a go with me?


If you want to read more on the subject there is another post on COPD net COPD BLOATING 1    COPD BLOATING 2


The following is an account of a day in the life of a COPD sufferer by the TV celebrity Nadia Sawalha. I am so glad that COPD is now getting the media attention that it needs. This illness has been swept under the carpet for far too long and just put down to smoking and poor life style choices and this is just not true in many cases…

Fighting for her every breath, TV’s Nadia Sawalha had ­flashbacks of her beloved ­grandmother ­struggling just to walk to the shops.


Nadia Sawalha (Pic: DM)

As the exhausted presenter paused after climbing a short flight ­of stairs, she ­understood the hell her late nan ­had experienced.

Nadia’s grandmother ­had chronic obstructive ­pulmonary ­disease, a term used for a number of conditions, ­including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, that damage the airways inside the lungs, causing chest ­tightness, shortness of breath and a persistent cough.

Those in the condition’s early ­stages often think they are just out of shape or have a smoker’s cough when they actually need help.

Half of sufferers are thought to be under the age of 65, and the most common cause is smoking, but coal dust and inherited genetic problems can also influence its development.

To raise awareness of the deadly condition, Nadia strapped herself into a corset and donned a mask to restrict her breathing, simulating the ­conditions sufferers endure every day.

She says: “I hadn’t thought about Nan for years. But when I put this on I was reminded of her. She had a lung disease and we used to get irritated.

“We thought she was hamming it up because she kept stopping, holding on to walls, bending over and standing with her hands on her back. What I didn’t know is that she was ­desperately trying to take a breath.”

Wearing the gear, Nadia went ­shopping in West London and tried to cook. She wanted to know what COPD sufferers had to deal with. And she admits she found it truly horrific.

“You find you are trying so hard to open your lungs that your eyes widen,” Nadia explains. “Having a ­conversation becomes almost ­impossible because all you can think about is your next breath.

“There’s something very melodramatic about how a person looks when they are gasping for air, so you can ­understand why some people are unsympathetic,” she says.

“I ­struggled to make it up the stairs, to buy coffee and trying to cook was so ­frustrating.

“I love making food for my family, so it was awful to have that taken away. Reaching up for the cupboards, down for the drawers – ­everything has you ­wheezing. It’s as if when your airways narrow, so does your very life.”

It was hard work but Nadia, who is backing the COPD: Know it. Check it. Treat it campaign, feels the experience brought her closer to her nan.

She says: “As soon as I walked with it on, I was taken back to ­walking ­with her as a child, ­thinking: ‘Why does she keep stopping?’

“It looked like she was making a meal of it but now I know how she must have felt at the time. She would stop and pretend she was looking around and I’d find it so irritating, but ­obviously she didn’t want people to see her struggle.

“She died when I was 11 and she was only in her late 50s, which is too young.

“My nan could be ­cantankerous and she ­continued smoking until her last breath, but I was ­devastated when she died.”

Doctors estimate COPD affects around three million people in the UK and their advice is to stay active.

Nadia agrees and says: “It’s a slow process – people start cutting down what they do because they feel short of breath. They get frightened – I did, even though I knew the suit would come off.

“You see some saying, ‘Oh, I won’t go shopping, I’ll do it ­online’ or ‘I won’t go to the ­cinema, I’ll watch a DVD’. But that just exacerbates the condition.

“People start using ­wheelchairs and ramps in their houses when really what they need is more exercise.

“It’s like the saying, ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’. You have to keep active or you will start to feel worse.

“From that comes dreadful ­depression which impacts on your family. You can see why loved ones would get frustrated when you become more and more reliant on them.

“But there are life-saving treatments if you are diagnosed early.”

When it came round to taking the lung function test – called a ­spirometry – to see if she had COPD, former smoker Nadia was very anxious.

“But I was lucky,” she says. “The test was really easy and I found out I had lungs 10 years younger than some people my age, so I was pleased.”

Still, she found her day so ­emotional, she urges anyone who thinks they might have COPD to visit their GP for a check-up immediately.

“It is not something you would ­always be tested for so it’s best to ask your ­doctor,” Nadia advises.

“When I took off the corset it was a relief and it made me realise how lucky I am. Someone with COPD can’t do the same. But they can get so much better with the right help.”

(Taken from the Mirror on Line)

For further information on the campaign click here “Know it, Check it, Treat it”

The following video also shows the above in detail and how COPD effects people daily, all taken from the same UK campaign and featuring Sportsman Iwan (Ewan) Thomas MBE, the Welsh sprinter, whose mother has been diagnosed with COPD.


‘Godsend’ operation for Scottish lung patient – BBC News


Patricia McCall said she feels “100 times better” after the procedure

One of the first patients in Scotland to receive a new lung valve has spoken of the huge improvement in her quality of life. Patricia McCall had tiny valves inserted in her lungs to treat her emphysema. The procedure is an alternative to radical surgery in which diseased parts of the lungs are cut away.

Ms McCall was treated at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank as part of a clinical trial. The hospital is the first in Scotland to fit the valves. The valves are made from titanium and silicone and could be suitable for up to a third of emphysema patients.

READ MORE  ‘Godsend’ operation for Scottish lung patient – BBC News