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Family history of lung problems - advice requested
Old 08-29-2009, 02:47 PM   #1
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Family history of lung problems - advice requested

DW has asked me to post a question to you wonderful folks on what you think her best approach should be to avoiding lung problems as time marches on.

She is 54, has never smoked, has a BMI of 21.4 and does plenty of exercise. She has never had lung problems (no episodes of bronchitis or anything), however, her mother and one of her aunts has COPD, her mother's mother died of COPD and her younger brother has just been diagnosed with asthma. (none of the above ever smoked either).

She rides a bike, walks/runs on a treadmill and plays tennis. I think she does great but she is wondering which types of exercising are better for improving lung capacity - steady running/biking, or bursts of running to get you out of breath and then ease off to get your breath back.

A technique I use is to try and maintain deep breathing at all times, particularly as you move faster/run out of breath as the tendency is to take fast shallow breaths. (Certainly during the period after that burst of activity that has got you out of breath).

Is there anything else you guys recommend, and is exercise the best/only way to keep lungs healthy?
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:23 PM   #2
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Here is a good article
Exercises that improve lung capacity - by C. M. Erickson - Helium
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:27 PM   #3
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Have her ask her doctor about testing the blood for for alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Anyone in the family with unexplained cirrhosis, by any chance?

Exercise is great but won't help her lungs in this context.

This will get you started.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
Excellent article - thank you. The swimming exercises sound REALLY tough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
Have her ask her doctor about testing the blood for for alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Anyone in the family with unexplained cirrhosis, by any chance?

Exercise is great but won't help her lungs in this context.

This will get you started.
Thanks Rich, very interesting indeed. No history of cirrhosis except a grandmother on her father's side but she was an alcoholic.
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:48 PM   #5
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Just been talking with DW who has been experimenting with interval training on the treadmill and stationery bike and the article clearly states that interval training is better for improving lung capacity, to get the lungs burning, and then rest them for 48 hrs after the exercise.

Thanks again
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Is there anything else you guys recommend, and is exercise the best/only way to keep lungs healthy?

I have asthma and no one in my family has it but me . I got it after a really bad flu . The one thing I have learned since my diagnosis is take it easy . If I get a cold or flu I really need to baby myself . The other thing I have learned is avoid triggers (Smoke).
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Old 08-30-2009, 12:35 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
Have her ask her doctor about testing the blood for for alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Anyone in the family with unexplained cirrhosis, by any chance?

Exercise is great but won't help her lungs in this context.

This will get you started.
My thoughts exactly! Family history of COPD in nonsmokers is a big red flag for alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Did the affected relatives work in an environment with lots of secondhand smoke? Were they farmers exposed to a zoonosis, eg. psittacosis, farmers' lung?
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:32 AM   #8
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My thoughts exactly! Family history of COPD in nonsmokers is a big red flag for alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Did the affected relatives work in an environment with lots of secondhand smoke? Were they farmers exposed to a zoonosis, eg. psittacosis, farmers' lung?
I'm sure both DW's mother and aunt were exposed to plenty of second hand smoke in their workplaces. Her brother with recently diagnosed asthma has certainly not been exposed to 2nd hand smoke. (He is in his mid 40's). I think it is going to be worth discussing this with her Doc next visit.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:36 AM   #9
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I have asthma and no one in my family has it but me . I got it after a really bad flu . The one thing I have learned since my diagnosis is take it easy . If I get a cold or flu I really need to baby myself . The other thing I have learned is avoid triggers (Smoke).
My sister's daughter developed asthma and this was the final motivation for my sister to quit smoking which she did about 6 years ago and her daughter's condition cleared up shortly afterwards.
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