Here is a roundup of the articles, news & updates that we've published on the PERF blog site during the past month. Click on the "Read More" link at the bottom of each excerpt to read the full article.
Preventing Panic When Short Of Breath
By Mary Burns, RN, BS
Asst. Clinical Professor, School of Nursing, UCLA (ret)
Executive Vice President, PERF
THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER BREATHING TECHNIQUES FOR THOSE WITH COPD
Do you ever get so short of breath that you panic? It is instinctive for everyone to breathe faster and harder to relieve shortness of breath. Did you know this is the worst thing you can do if you have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)? What you really should do is the exact opposite! To breathe easier you need to slow your respiratory rate, forget about breathing in and just concentrate on breathing out! Yes, this is counterintuitive. After you have read the information in this article you will understand why this will help you and why certain breathing techniques can relieve shortness of breath, increase the oxygen saturation in your blood and prevent panic. If you are interested in this explanation, or in learning other techniques that will help you enjoy a life free of the fear of shortness of breath or panic, keep reading.
Richard Casaburi Featured in Inaugural Issue of LA BioMed’s BioBeat
Just last week, PERF President Dr. Richard Casaburi was featured on the front page of the first edition of BioBeat, the Science Newsletter for LA BioMed. The article gives an interesting overview of Dr. Casaburi’s career and how he came to become a preeminent leader in COPD research. Here’s how the article begins:
For Richard Casaburi, PhD, MD, his groundbreaking research began with a
simple but profound finding from exercise studies. Working with others, he
documented the fact that breathing during exercise becomes easier as people
“We came to recognize that exercise training modified the way the body
responds to exercise in very profound ways,” Dr. Casaburi said.
PERF Fundraiser Off to A Great Start. Please Help Us Reach Our Goal!
About two weeks ago we launched a fundraiser to raise the money needed to purchase two pieces of equipment to use in our research laboratory, a recipient of PERF funds. The needed state-of-the-art machines are a wireless oximeter used to record pulse rate and pulse oximetry during 6-minute and shuttle walk tests, and a hand-held spirometer to measure forced vital capacity (FVC) and the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) in patients. This equipment is to advance screening, testing and research for COPD patients while optimizing resources and staff time.
Tried and True Techniques to Relieve Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
If you suffer from allergies, your symptoms can become more than just annoying; they can exacerbate the breathing difficulties that you already have. Here are some techniques to relieve allergy symptoms so they don’t contribute (or so they contribute less) to your COPD symptoms.
If you do chores outside and you know the pollen count is high, wear a pollen-filtering mask. Better yet, delegate those chores to someone else who won’t be affected by exposure to pollen. If you must do work outside, remove your clothes and change into something else when you come inside, and wash the “outside” clothes before wearing them again.
Don’t hang your laundry outside. Yes, it seems nice to dry your clothes and sheets in the sunshine, but that wet fabric is a great place for pollen to land, and stick.
If you feel deprived by having to avoid the out-of-doors, make a point of going outside after a rain. That’s when the pollen count is lowest.
Yes, You Can (And Should) Exercise With Asthma
It’s a conundrum: Exercise is good for you. You should exercise to maintain your health. But exercise is a common trigger for asthma. So if you have asthma, is exercise is bad for you? What do you do?
Luckily, the situation is not really so confusing.
When exercise brings on an asthma attack, it’s called exercise-induced asthma (EIA), and this triggering effect often can be brought under control. EIA is characterized by episodes of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, fatigue, and difficulty keeping up with others. These symptoms can occur during exercise, but more often they happen after the exercise session has ended.
There are ways to control these attacks.
Exciting News About Our Fundraiser
We’re so grateful for the generous donations made by so many caring members of the PERF and COPD community. Here’s an update on our progress so far in our fundraiser. We’re almost three-quarters of the way to our goal of bringing in $10,000 for much-needed equipment – a total of $6,945 has come in so far! Thank you, everyone. We’ll keep you updated when more donations bring us closer to our goal.
Wisdom from Dr. Tom Petty – “Adventures of an Oxy-phile2”
Thomas L. Petty, MD, a Pulmonologist, was a Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver and at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago. He was also Professor of Medicine Emeritus at National Jewish Health in Denver. An international authority on respiratory disease, over his career he published more than 800 articles in medical journals and was the author or editor of 45 books or editions.
On top of all of this, Dr. Petty was a dear friend and supporter of PERF, and contributed countless letters on breathing techniques, oxygen therapy, and other COPD-related topics to the PERF website.