COPD awareness: Nadia Sawalha experiences life as a COPD patient for a day

Many people would not volunteer to spend a day living their life in the shoes of a COPD patient, however TV presenter Nadia Sawalha did take on the challenge.  She spent a day as a COPD patient with a very tight corset around her waist and a mask over her mouth in order to simulate the constrained breathing conditions of a COPD sufferer and having oxygen equipment to take around with her. She then tried to go about her normal daily activities such as shopping and cooking.
She found it difficult even doing the little things such as walking up stairs and manoeuvring around the kitchen. She found it difficult to reach up and down for things, constantly stopping to pause for breath or to hold onto a wall. She had great difficulty getting around as the wheezing and gasping for breath always seemed to get in the way.
“It’s as if, when your airways narrow, so does your very life,” says Nadia.  When asked about how she found the experience, she said that it was “truly horrific.” She recounts the feeling of “trying so hard to open your lungs” and being unable to have a conversation “because all you can think about is your next breath.”
Part of the reason that she undertook the challenge was because her nan suffered from COPD and she feels like she’s become a bit closer to her nan as she understands a bit more now the daily challenges that she went through.  It has also made her understand the challenges COPD patients go through everyday and that she is fortunate to still have normally functioning lungs. Being a former smoker, she is now a strong advocate of early COPD diagnosis, especially after knowing how it feels like to lose a percentage of your breathing capacity. She realises now why patients need to be on supplemental oxygen just to get around but also how having the equipment attached to you all day can infringe on your mobility. She encourages people to get checked immediately if they think they may have COPD, saying that “it is not something you always get tested for, so it’s good to ask your doctor.”
Even though there are many challenges to overcome, exercising and keeping active is one of the best things COPD patients can do, other than quitting smoking.  Keeping active will pay off and prevent the disease from worsening quickly and improve your mental well-being and quality of life.
An understanding of COPD is much needed in today’s society, especially where we see patients walking around with portable oxygen equipment. Becoming more aware of this condition helps us be more considerate toward our involvement in producing pollutants like cigarette and exhaust smoke or in the use of chemical irritants like cleaning solutions.
At the end of the challenge when Nadia could remove the corset she breathed a huge sigh of relief and it made her realise how lucky she was. Though people with COPD cannot do the same and just take off any virtual corset to feel better, with the right treatment and proper daily habits, there is hope to feeling much better and being able to breathe more easily. Hopefully Nadia has helped raise awareness of COPD and the daily struggles that patients go through and hopefully will encourage people to stop smoking and polluting the atmosphere so that fewer people suffer in the future.

Breathing Could Help You To Lose Weight!

Seeing as breathing is such a vital and fundamental part of our lives, one might think that we do it correctly, however we often don’t. We tend to take shallow breaths and hold our breaths when focusing or under pressure. This lowers our oxygen levels causing fatigue and a lack of clarity and we can make poor decisions and perform poorly as a result. Sitting still in an office chair can also create an oxygen deficit and it is the reason why after vegging-out in front of the TV we feel exhausted even though we haven’t done anything strenuous.

Oxygen thins the blood slightly which helps to lower your blood pressure and speed up the blood flow. This increases your metabolism and burns more calories, therefore the more oxygen you have in your blood, the faster your metabolism will be. You also burn more calories sitting outside than you do sat indoors, as cool air increases your metabolism as it tries to expend more energy keeping your body at a comfortable temperature. Therefore it is more beneficial to exercise outside than indoors.
If you’re unable to exercise then deep, active breathing for a couple of minutes a day can increase your oxygen intake, reduce stress, strengthen muscles and burn more calories.
Also oxygen helps to break down fat molecules and the blood then picks up the waste carbon dioxide to transport it out of the body via the lungs, therefore the more oxygen we take in, the more fat molecules that can be burned off.
‘Oxycise’ is the latest weight loss programme sweeping across America claiming to transform body shape, shed pounds, improve muscle tone and boost energy level based on the information above. Instead of doing high impact aerobic exercise, Oxycise breathing techniques can be done anywhere. The deep breathing forces us to use more of our lungs, to tighten and strengthen the diaphragm muscles which makes our muscles contract and combined with some gentle exercises can burn fat and tone up muscles. A study even found that a women burned 140% more calories than riding an exercise bike.
However sceptics say that breathing too deeply is harmful as it can ‘disturb the balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen needed to neutralise the blood and can cause light headiness and fainting’ and that deep breathing is not going to burn enough calories to transform body shape, it may burn up 2% fat at best, Prof McDonald states.
The jury’s still out without more detailed studies and research but it’s an idea to definitely think about as it is such an easy technique that we can all do.

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