Are Bananas Fattening or Weight Loss Friendly?

Great piece on bananas, think I will start eating them again now!

Bananas are nutritious, but also high in sugar and carbs. Do bananas make you fat, or are they actually weight loss friendly foods? This article explains.

Source: Are Bananas Fattening or Weight Loss Friendly?


How to Manage Your COPD Like a Respiratory Therapist – Part 1 and 2


In writing my blog I have done many posts on how to improve your life with COPD they can all be found in the Archives please take a look there is a lot of interesting information in there. Recently, I have seen this piece on My COPD Team which really compliments some of my posts with further help and advise. COPD is not a great illness to be landed with and many Doctors and Nurses do not really understand how the lungs work and how you can improve your situation. You may only be told the basics like stopping smoking and keeping an eye on your symptoms. But, there is a great deal more to help out there and I want to equip everyone with the knowledge of how to live a good and active as life as possible. This piece from My COPD Team is especially good and this is just part one I will follow with the rest as it is put out there. Also see my links throughout this page for associated posts that I have done on this topic.

A Quick Overview of COPD


How does COPD impact your health? COPD is an umbrella term used to describe a progressive inflammatory lung disease that causes airflow to be restricted to your lungs. COPD includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. COPD is also a comorbid disease that impacts multiple systems in your body and is the fourth leading course of death Globally.

Often patients aren’t just faced with COPD. Other conditions (comorbidities) may include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, depression, and cancer, (no need to worry about this too much because the public in general are at risk of all these types of illnesses anyway but having COPD as well just doesn’t help the situation). An example of this is I ended up in my 50s with cataracts this was due to steroids I had been on.

There is no cure for COPD; however, with proper treatment and disease management, you will be able to live an enjoyable life according to your terms.

Tips to Help You Succeed in Disease Management

  • Search for help: You should not face COPD alone, it is much more difficult to do that way. Trust me I tried for a few years. To help you succeed in COPD management, you should always be willing to seek help. MyCOPDTeam is a good course for online support and dont forget Facebook groups they are a vital life line also. The British Lung Foundation for all of those readers in the UK is also another fantastic group. You can ring them for advice, book a call back from a nurse or join in the group talks.
  • Motivation is key: You should always be self-motivated enough to seek additional treatment options and be willing to take the necessary extra step to improve your disease. I am travelling back and forwards to London as I am to have LRS which should put me back a few years, what a relief! There are a lot of different things that can be done to help.
  • Stick to instructions: Your caregivers and doctors have extremely valuable advice and instructions that you should strictly follow to enhance the overall quality of your life.
  • Research persistently: This is key! Take the initiative to constantly educate yourself on ways you can improve your overall health. Then you should consult with your team of doctors about your newfound knowledge. This is why I run this blog because I am doing some of it for you. For those patients who are not ICT friendly it is harder. See – Lung Reduction Surgery, Valves, Coils and Further New Developments

What is a COPD Management Team?

A COPD management team simply refers to the team of doctors or specialists you see.fb_square-7ca0ff460500377424f16952422cd997 Each provides helpful insight into the different aspects of your disease management.

A COPD management team may consist of a combination of the following health professionals –

Physician (In the UK we have Respiratory Consultants of which I have 2. One in London and one locally)
Respiratory therapist (I have a pulmonary physiotherapist)
Case manager (Think this is the equivalent of our GP)
Registered nurse or Community Matron for us in the UK  (Our hospital has respiratory nurses that come out into the community, many help with patients who need oxygen) 

Registered dietitian (Accessed from the hospital for people with major weight loss and gain)
Occupational therapist (I have consulted one from our local council for helpful items around the home, like my downstairs cloakroom) see My downstairs toilet saga!
Pharmacist ( I have a group called Medicines to Home they are great and I just ring them up as and when I need anything) and they deliver medications to the house.

Now that you are aware of your COPD management team and the tips you need to succeed in disease management, let’s discuss the steps you need to take so you can start managing your COPD like a respiratory therapist.

Minimize the Occurrence of COPD Exacerbations (Flare-ups)

When it comes to COPD, there is nothing that can impact your sympt556f8dfdea43be7dcddc63bcc6fe8455oms more than an exacerbation. The event of an exacerbation is defined as the sudden worsening of felt symptoms – mainly breathlessness, cough, and mucus production – that rapidly accelerate lung deterioration. Flare-ups are mainly caused by exposure to COPD triggers or when developing a viral or bacterial infection such as influenza, the common cold, or pneumonia.

Though flare-ups cannot be completely prevented, there are steps that you can take to help prevent the occurrence of symptom worsening flare-ups. Things like smoking cessation, avoiding COPD triggers, receiving flu and pneumonia vaccinations, and taking prescribed medications. See – MY STOPPING SMOKING SAGA- If I can stop anyone can!

Indoor COPD triggers to avoid:

Tobacco smoke
Chemical fumes (cleaning products, paints)
Pet dander
Products with added fragrances (candles, perfumes, air fresheners)
Pollution indoors (cleaning fumes, fireplace)

Outdoor COPD triggers to avoid:

Tobacco smoke
Extreme heat or cold
Air pollution (car exhaust, factory pollution)
High pollen counts

Smoking Cessation

In case you didn’t know, smoking tobacco is the main cause of COPD and is responsible for06ff081cb11fe1a7091553a47b7e49f0 as many as nine out of 10 COPD-related deaths, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Women are especially prone to lung damage from smoking, since their lungs are smaller, and lung disease is worsened by estrogen. Deaths from COPD in women are higher than in men. If you are struggling to quit despite all efforts, speak with your doctor about possible smoking cessation programs. MAKING LIFE EASIER AND TAKING CONTROL – 10 simple ways to improve your life!

Tips to quit smoking see Nicotine Addiction 101 – Best piece I Have Read On Nicotine Dependency!

Avoid smoking triggers
Stay clear of the smoking section
Get assistance to quit by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW
Nicotine replacement therapy
Ask your loved ones for support
Eat fruits and vegetables
Never give up

Pulmonary Rehab


Pulmonary rehab (PR) is a perfect example of a COPD management team in action. Withnewbelogo multidisciplinary teams, your treatment is optimized to enhance your physical and social functioning. Pulmonary rehab may be inpatient, outpatient, or home-based. Many types of exercise are great for COPD see picture above featuring the COPD Athlete who runs marathons and the Wigan Warblers who exercise their lungs singing. Most PR programs include at least three sessions per week for a minimum of six weeks. It is highly recommended that every patient diagnosed with COPD go through their local PR program. The British Lung Foundation run their ‘Breathe Easy’ weekly courses in most large towns I am trying to set one up in Huddersfield at the moment. because 6 weeks is not enough. People need to be exercising as much as they can.

Pulmonary rehab will teach you about medications, using oxygen therapy, preventing exacerbations, proper dieting and exercise, breathing techniques that reduce breathlessness, and symptom assessment so you know when to seek medical attention. PR also offers psychological support, since COPD patients are more likely to develop depression, anxiety, or other emotional problems.

Still not convinced pulmonary rehab is for you? To help with management after completing rehab, an exercise and diet plan will be developed specifically for your health needs. Plus you will be in an environment with like-minded patients who know your struggle. Who knows? You may even make a few friends in the process – which improves mental health.


See Exercising and COPD – Come on lets do it together?

       A Short Walk a Day Helps COPD Patients Stay Out of the Hospital

Benefits of pulmonary rehab:

Learn how to function better in day to day life
Increased exercise tolerance
Reduced symptoms
Anxiety and depression management
Reduced occurrence of exacerbations
Diet and exercise plan tailored to your specific needs
Meet like-minded COPD patients
Peace of mind thanks to support from specialists

How to Manage Your COPD Like a Respiratory Therapist – Part 2

This post originally comes from The COPD Team its a great site for meeting people and also for gaining that very important knowledge that can make your quality of life much better. About the Author: Eden Coleman is a dedicated content developer for, where he pursues his passion of providing actionable and benefit-driven customer education tips for respiratory and obstructed sleep apnea (OSA) patients. Check out the latest actionable posts from the COPD Store.

This is part 2 in our series: How to Manage Your COPD like a Respiratory Therapist. Here are the next steps to manage your COPD well:

Follow a Proper Diet Regimen

It’s vital to equip your body with a properly designed diet that will supplement your most important depleted nutrients. Then it’s up to you to follow through with it.

Indulge in the following nutrients:

  • Protein – Low fat proteins including lean-cut meats, poultry, eggs, and fish, specifically salmon, sardines, and mackerel, play an essential role in protecting your body. Protein produces antibodies that help your body fight off symptom worsening infections.
    • Whole grain foods – Not only are whole-grain bread, brown rice, bran, and oats rich in whole grains, they are loaded with fiber, which will enhance your digestive system function.
    • Fresh fruits and vegetables – Didn’t your mother ever tell you to eat your fruits and veggies? Well, nothing has changed. These natural powerhouses contain essential minerals, vitamins, and fiber that come together to keep your body healthy. Incorporate beets, corn, carrots, oranges, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, to name a few.
    • Potassium-rich foods – In order for your muscles to properly contract, especially for the heart muscle, potassium is vital. A few great sources of protein to include in your diet are yogurt, milk, tomatoes, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, avocados, squash, and dark leafy greens.
    • Magnesium – Combined with calcium the two work together to more effectively regulate lung function (producing an antihistamine like effect), muscle contractions, and even blood clotting. Magnesium is also involved in protein production, which is why it is referred to as the chemical fuel to making muscles function. The recommended daily intake of magnesium is 420 mg daily for men and 320 mg for women older than 31. The largest intake of fiber can be found in dark leafy greens. While other sources include whole grains, tofu, lentils, peas, nuts, dried fruit, yogurt, and bananas.
    • Potassium – This extremely important nutrient is a must for muscle contractions in the body, especially for your heart. Having either low or high levels of potassium can lead to very serious irregularities of heartbeat. Exceptional sources of potassium are milk, yogurt, oranges, prunes, carrots, dark leafy greens, fish, bananas, and avocados.
    • Calcium – In addition to working in congruence with magnesium to regulate lung function, muscle contractions, and blood clotting, calcium also plays a role in increasing the strength of your bones. Calcium is very important as COPD patients are also commonly diagnosed with osteoporosis. The major source of calcium is dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. You should also keep in mind that your body won’t necessarily absorb all of the calcium you take in. You can assist calcium absorption by taking regular vitamin D supplements.

Minimize your intake of the following:

  • Fried and greasy foods – Not only is fried food loaded with artery clogging fats and grease, but they can also lead to gas and indigestion.
  • Spicy foods – Spicy foods have been reported to affect breathing and cause discomfort.
  • Sodium – An excessive intake of salt/sodium can lead to something called “fluid retention,” when your body retains excess water, often impacting your ability to breathe. Instead, substitute the salt shaker with unsalted herbs and spices. Just check with your doctor to make sure these sodium substitutes don’t contain ingredients that are damaging to your health. Aim to eat food that has less than 300 mg of sodium per serving.
  • Dairy products – If you notice that consumption of dairy products such as cheese and milk cause phlegm to be thicker, you should try to limit dairy consumption. However, if dairy products do not worsen phlegm, you can continue to eat them.
  • Certain vegetables – There are some vegetables that you may notice cause excess bloating and gas, which worsen your ability to breathe. Though not all patients experience this, some do. Beans, cabbage, corn, onions, peas, and lentils are a few of the vegetables whose affects you should pay attention to. If you don’t experience gas or bloating after eating specific vegetables, you can continue to enjoy them.
  • Certain fruits – There are certain fruits that may cause bloating and gas, mainly apples, melons, and avocados. However if you do not experience gas or bloating, you can continue to eat these tasty fresh fruits.

Exercise Regularly

After completing pulmonary rehab it doesn’t mean you should stop exercising. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Exercise will improve your breathing, overall mood, weight management, and physical endurance which will reduce the occurrence of COPD related fatigue. Following your exercise plan after pulmonary rehab is vital for continuing the improvement and management of your COPD. While exercising remember everything you were taught in PR to manage your breathlessness. You should gradually work up to exercising for 20 to 30 minutes, at minimum three to four times per week.

Beneficial types of exercise:

  • Stretching – Before starting to exercise, you should take at least 5 to 10 minutes to stretch your muscles. Also stretch after your exercise has concluded.
  • Strengthening – These types of exercises are important, especially in the upper body, in people with COPD. Strengthening your upper body will strengthen your respiratory muscles.
  • Cardiovascular or aerobic – Exercises such as walking, jogging, or biking are phenomenal exercises that strengthen your heart and lungs, while improving your body’s ability to use oxygen effectively. With a consistent effort, aerobic exercises will also reduce your heart rate and blood pressure.

Tips to improve the effectiveness of exercise:

  • Gradually work up to your desired activity level
  • Choose an activity that you enjoy
  • Exercise at a steady pace
  • Use breathing techniques at the first sign of breathlessness
  • Keep records of your exercising
  • When exercising outside, dress appropriate for the weather

Harness the Power of Breathing Techniques

As you go through your day-to-day routine, if you suddenly experience an increase in breathlessness, there are a couple breathing techniques that you can perform that will help to reduce your shortness of breath to a manageable level. Breathing techniques include:

  • Pursed lip breathing
  • Diaphragmatic breathing

Receiving and Follow-through with Treatment

Though COPD cannot be cured, there are countless actionable treatment options that can be applied by your doctor to enhance your lifestyle, control symptoms, and reduce exacerbations. Treatment avenues that your doctor may prescribe are:

  • Bronchodilators
  • Inhaled (Corticosteroids) steroids
  • Oral (Corticosteroids) steroids
  • Combination inhalers
  • Theophylline
  • Antibiotics
  • Oxygen therapy (portable or home oxygen concentrator, oxygen tanks, liquid oxygen)
  • Pulmonary rehab
  • For more severe cases, lung transplant and lung volume reduction surgery

Medication Management

You should follow your medication schedule and take prescribed medications as directed. There are numerous ways that you can set yourself up for success to ensure you are taking your medications as intended. There are a few phone apps that you can install and input your medication schedule, and a reminder on your phone will go off when it is time for each medication. A less technical method is to use a pill organizer, which will help you separate your medications by day.

You should also be aware of any new medications being prescribed and speak to your doctor to make sure that they won’t conflict with any current medications or your COPD.


Now that you have knowledge on what it takes to manage your chronic obstructive pulmonary disease like a respiratory therapist, it’s up to you to take the initiative to follow through with treatment and take control of your disease. As you have seen, with proper disease management you can travel, visit the grandkids, shop, and so much more with greater effectiveness and ease.


Comorbidities in patients with COPD and pulmonary rehabilitation: do they matter? | European Respiratory Society

Very good piece on how taking exercise, breathing exercises and taking part in other useful activities helps you to live with this disease.

It is now recognised that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a heterogeneous disease with many systemic features. Cardiovascular, metabolic, musculoskeletal and psychological comorbidities contribute to the morbidity and mortality in all stages of the disease. The presence of comorbid conditions has important consequences for disease assessment and management. In addition to treatment of the structural and functional changes in the lungs, clinical programmes for COPD should also assess and manage patients’ comorbidities. Thus, there is an increasing need to understand the interaction between existing therapies and comorbidities. Pulmonary rehabilitation is an evidence-based intervention that has been shown to improve clinical outcomes in COPD. However, the impact of comorbidities on outcomes of pulmonary rehabilitation and vice versa is only partially understood. To date, there is limited information on the need for adapting specific interventions in pulmonary rehabilitation to comorbidities or the potential adverse effects of pulmonary rehabilitation in these patients. This article addresses the currently available literature and suggests novel areas for research.

Source: Comorbidities in patients with COPD and pulmonary rehabilitation: do they matter? | European Respiratory Society

My Trip to See the Wigan Warblers and the COPD Athlete – Note for doctors too!


06ff081cb11fe1a7091553a47b7e49f0I want doctors to stop telling COPD patients that they have an incurable illness and they cannot get any better its just going to get worse. This is stopping people from packing in smoking and stopping smoking is one of the main things that can help you turn your life around, I would say it is number one on the list. Because of this negative attitude of some Doctors, people are not stopping smoking. They are thinking, and you can’t blame them really, ‘well if its going to get worse anyway whats the point, I need my cigs to get through these awful blinking days struggling to breath and a cigarette helps me breath better‘. NO NO NO!! This is completely wrong, everyone’s lungs decline in function as they get older and by stopping smoking you can dramatically help bring the decline in your lung function down to more or less a non smokers level. So, yes things will get worse for everyone whether they have COPD or not, smoke or not, but much worse, if you don’t stop smoking with COPD the decline will be rapid and you will only have a few years to live. So if you still smoke and you have COPD stop now!!!

There are another couple of things that you can do to help your situation when you have COPD and one is maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthily so you are getting all the vitamins etc you need and taking regular exercise. I am on lots of vitamins and minerals to keep my body stocked up and in a good state in case I get one of the dreaded infections.


A prime example of following this regime is the COPD Athlete his lung function is only 27% and he manages to do things anyone with COPD would have thought impossible! He came to visit the Wigan Warblers whilst he was in England and informed me that he would be back next year to take part in the London Marathon. My reply to that was to say, I could never even think of doing that and he said that’s what he would have said a couple of years ago. Link to Russell Winwood COPD Athletes’ site

As Russell says –

“Meds help keep us stable, activity improves our quality of life”

That activity can be anything from singing to running (if you are up to it). But for me the first thing I need to do is get some more weight off and get my heart rate to behave. We all have to sweep up the mess first before we can crack on with the good work!

The Wigan Warblers (twitter link) have been making a right name for themselves they are a group of people who feel that singing can improve your health. Its true, it can definitely improve your breathing and exercises the lungs and it is also good for depression, music is a cure all. I would certainly rather sing that do breathing exercises, it does the same thing and its more pleasurable. Exercising your lungs in such a way keeps them more healthy and prevents infections. You have to work those lungs girl! (ooops or man)

On the front page of my blog I have mentioned the deconditioning cycle below it is a veryThe Downward Spiral real problem when you have COPD. I got so bad that I could barely walk, if anyone knocked on the door I would go to the window and see them rather than walk around to the door. That is how bad it got! Even now I am still having problems but I am improving slowly week by week. And it can be done, I have proved this myself. So what happens to get us in such a mess? Chest infections happen! Steroids happen! When you go through a period of having one infection after another you just cannot get strong enough to turn things about. You find you increasingly spend more and more time sat down because you are just so exhausted and in turn with the steroids some of us put on weight, take that with the increased inactivity and this is what sets off the cycle. But, by eating healthily and trying to avoid infections (easier said than done sometimes), listening to your body and starting medications before things get out of control, losing weight (if you need to) and stepping up on how much activity you do daily, this cycle can be broken but it will take time. It will not happen over night nothing worth while is easy is it?

I have been listening to the following song this week and the words really positive love it –