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



Nine Ways To Improve Your Hair

One of the problems I have had since having this illness is my hair. Theres one thing not being able to breath but there is no need to look awful at the same time!

I was so fed up of my hair it was so thin and was breaking and wouldn’t grow. I was even considering buying a wig at one point!

I asked my Doctor and he said it could be the steroids. So as usual I did some research on the Web the result, I applied what I had learnt and my hair is now growing! The short picture to the right was taken only 8 weeks ago! Amazing

So I thought I would share with you what I have done to achieve this in such a short length of time!

  1. Stopped taking my steroids except when I really had to – its surprising you dont need them as much as you think. I followed my specialists advice and tapered them down and now I only take them when  SHE tells me to. My Doctor had a habit of panicking and throwing them at me every time I had a flare up which as we all know is regularly. Antibiotics and increasing my inhaler often works just as well, but you can be guided by your own doctor.
  2. Stopped washing my hair every other day – I now wash my hair every three days its so much better for it.
  3. Dont use heat on your hair – Its very tempting but try to not use your tongs and straighteners every day. I have been using my hot brush two or three times a week  and I am going to stop that as soon as I can get the front long enough to fasten back.
  4. Let your hair air-dry – I wash my hair on a night and let it dry on its own before I go to sleep. I never use the hairdryer anymore. I will when I have grown my hair back nice and thick but until then its a no no for me.
  5. Get a little help from vitamins – I take Biotin every other day and Vitamin D3  and I make sure I turn up for my B12 injection on time! And eat plenty of protein. I do this through  eggs, I am an egg fanatic I love them. Eat nuts if you are lucky enough not to be allergic they are good also.
  6. Use a really good conditioner that suits you – I have a few that I like but my main go to condition is Aussie for coloured hair and also they do a 3 min treatment conditioner which I use every week.
  7. Get friendly with coconut oil – it is great for your hair.You can just put a smearing on your hands after washing your hair and rub into the ends not the roots.
  8. Use a hairdresser to process your hair – don’t do it yourself! This is lethal, if you are having problems with your hair make sure you don’t do your own colours and get a really good hairdresser.  Even if  vou do not colour your hair it is really good to have a trim every few weeks, just have 1/8th of an inch off to discourage broken ends and loosing hair because of them.
  9. Give your head a massage – its really good for you and battles stress to0 which can also have a negative impact on your hair.

Well that is it! That is all I have done and I hope in the next 8 weeks my hair will grow even longer and thicker because I am exercising more now and exercise also helps grow your hair.







WHAT IT IS LIKE TO HAVE A CATARACT REMOVED – Just incase you want to know!

Yesterday, I finally had one of my cataracts removed and I wouldn’t have had to go through this process if I had know that taking too many steroids can cause this!

Although steroids are great when you really need them, some Doctors can over prescribe them, you can get by without having them for work out for the bestweeks on end as I did. I got into a trap with them and couldn’t get off them, as soon as I reduced them, it put me into a flare up so I had to reduce them very slowly. Anyway, the result of being on them for so long was a 4 stone weight gain and a cataract in my right eye! I am much more careful now when I take them and for how long.

I arrived at the hospital with my daughter at 12 noon, she made sure that I got to the right place at the right time, don’t know what I would do without her sometimes. I had got myself so worked up that I had to go half of the way in a wheelchair. She was then able to take off and have the luxury of using my new car for the rest of the afternoon.

I was third on the list the nurse said and probably wouldn’t go in until 2pm which turned into past 3pm in the end. Why do they get you to go up there so blinking early? It gave me longer to work myself up over it and I got more and more worked up with every patient that went in before me, as they came out looking traumatised, but they were men! (sorry men). I kept thinking, I wish I had been the first one in!

The nurse on duty put a bead in the bottom of my eyelid, she said it was to enlarge my pupil. It did, I had a look in my mirror after a while you couldn’t see the colour of my eyes they just looked black! Shortly after that, she squeezed some drops in my eye which stung like hell to further enlarge my pupil which I felt couldn’t get any larger than it was!

We than had to sit and wait our turn, so I waited and I waited thinking of all the blinking things I could have been doing if I had come later and hadn’t had to wait for so long!

Finally it was my turn, a little walk up the corridor and into the operating fc8b730632774c88f9cdc0982eb4bb05room. as usual I was out of breath and had to sit a bit before I could lay down on the bed and arrange myself in the right position. I was quite happy that I didn’t have to put on one of those horrible gowns and had it all done in my day clothes. They put an oxygen stick near my face and then the doctor said look up and she shoved this white thing over my eye which covered my whole face and clipped open my right eye. I said that I couldnt breath and she said yes you can the oxygen is right next to you, it was just me panicking as usual! She shoved further drops in my eye to numb it and other stuff and then started the procedure. I’m not going to go through it all but it included loads of washing my eye out with water in between poking it with her instruments, it reminded me of the dentist except it was my eye that was getting the treatment. The most annoying thing was keeping my eyeball still, every time she sprayed a jet of water into my eye she said, “nooo dont move your eye, please”. How your supposed to not move your eye when it is being assaulted with cold water I don’t know.

Anyway it was soon over and I was back in the other room having a nice cup of tea and biscuits looking a bit like a pirate with a patch over my eye. And looking like the cat that drank the cream: because I’d had mine done and the others were still awaiting their torture lol.

I think the worst part of the whole procedure really was at 4am in the morning when I woke up, I must have pulled the patch off my eye in my sleep and I was in agony. My eye was swollen to death too so I immediately rang the number they had given me and asked them if it should be. They reassured me that this can happen and now just over 24hrs after, the swelling is down and the pain more or less gone and my house looks blinking filthy. Surprising, how bad my sight was, the TV is so much brighter and colours more sharp.

The funny thing is now 12 days later is that my left eye which I had been relying on for so long and was the best eye. The one I felt I had very little problem with is now terrible. And I am feeling increasingly lop sided!

Was it worth the discomfort and pain, yes it was and I can’t wait to get the other one done!! Nice one.

Linked Posts – Cataracts First Appointment