The official blog of the Lung Institute.
People with lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis or interstitial lung disease often feel short of breath and may find themselves living in fear experiencing of a flare-up. Help your lungs become stronger and potentially reduce the severity of flare-ups with these 4 tips for improving your lungs.
Try New Ways to Exercise
Physical activity improves muscle tone and cardiovascular health, which allows you to do more when you have a lung condition like COPD. The problem is that exercise isn’t easy when you have COPD. An internal medicine resident at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington came up with the idea of patients using a Nintendo Wii to exercise. The Wii is an interactive gaming system that requires users to get up and move to participate. It can help with aerobic training, balance and building strength. Not only that, it’s fun and can be done from the comfort of your own home.
Exercise doesn’t have to be boring or torturous. Consider investing in a Wii, and start slow. Play with friends and family to make it a fun experience for everyone. Just remember to talk with your doctor before changing your exercise routine.
Take Vitamin D Supplements
Research suggests that taking vitamin D supplements can help to reduce symptomatic flare-ups. In fact, one study published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine found that COPD patients with a vitamin D deficiency who took Vitamin D supplements reduced COPD flare-ups by 40 percent.
The study also found that Vitamin D supplements reduced the severity of flare-ups for all COPD patients, even if just slightly, regardless of their prior levels of vitamin D.
Professor Adrian Martineau, Lead Author of the study, Queen Mary University of London, said:
Flare-ups of chronic bronchitis and emphysema (COPD) can be debilitating for patients, sometimes leading to hospitalisation and even death. Our research has shown how an inexpensive vitamin supplement can significantly reduce the risk of flare-ups for patients who are vitamin D deficient, which could have a major public health benefit. Our findings suggest that patients with COPD should have their vitamin D status tested and should begin taking supplements if their levels are found to be low.
Clean Your House
When we think about air quality, we tend to think about the air outside. However, the air inside of your home or office can actually be more polluted than the air outside. Improving your lungs can start with improving the air quality in your home. Embrace these cleaning tips to help improve the quality of air in your home:
- Keep the floors clean. Vacuum to get rid dust mites and allergens. Chemicals and allergens can actually accumulate in dust for decades. Invest in a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to reduce concentrations of lead in your home. Follow up with a mop to catch any dust left behind by the vacuum. Consider using a microfiber mop, which reportedly captures more dust than traditional mop material and doesn’t require any cleaning solutions. That’s right, you can clean with a microfiber mop using only water!
- Dust. Regularly dust your furniture and shelves to reduce allergens in your home. Remember to wear a mask to protect your lungs.
- Use natural cleaning supplies. Traditional chemicals can be harsh and cause flare-ups. Look for cleaners without dyes or perfumes. Choose “green” or natural cleaners, which are less likely to cause flare-ups.
Practice Mindfulness and Meditation for Improving Your Lungs
Staying calm can also help with improving your lungs by helping you stay relaxed. Those who practice regular meditation reportedly feel less depression, anxiety, anger and fatigue. Practicing daily meditation can also improve sleep and breathing, and increase energy levels.
If you have never meditated before, mindfulness meditation is a great place to start. Simply sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus on the breath going in and out of your abdomen. Set an alarm and try for a few minutes at first. Then add more time as you get more comfortable with your meditation practice.
When it comes to improving your lungs, there are many things that you can do to help support your lung health. Try the suggestions above and please also comment below with what you have found to be helpful in supporting your lung health.
Many people with COPD and pulmonary fibrosis have found that stem cell therapy has helped improve their quality of life. If you or a loved one suffers from a debilitating lung condition, the Lung Institute may be able to help. Contact us to learn more.