I am frequently extolling the health benefits of Vitamin D because almost weekly there is a new study that correlates high vitamin D levels with reducing some disease. The latest is from the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and research shows that high doses of vitamin D supplementation improved respiratory muscle strength in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The patients that did not receive supplemental vitamin D had blood levels of 22.8 compared to 53.8 in the supplemented group. The patients who were supplemented had improved respiratory function, strength and less shortness of breath. It certainly didn’t cure or reverse COPD but the improvement was an encouraging trend in this terrible chronic disease.
In reading about this it got me thinking about COPD and the fact that it is one of the most common reasons for hospitalization and disability in the United States. It is a progressive disease that affects the alveoli (small air sacs that exchange oxygen) and small bronchioles of the lungs. These airways and air sacs lose their elastic quality and become thick and inflamed. Mucus forms and patients become progressively short of breath and eventually need supplemental oxygen just to breathe. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
Did you know that most COPD is caused by Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
It’s not every day that a physician is invited to be screened for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by a comedian. But this event was no joke – actor Jim Belushi is in a contest with Danica Patrick, Bruce Jenner, Patty Loveless, and Michael Strahan to see who can get the most Americans screened for COPD. It’s a tough race for a good cause – though I’m not sure if Jim stands much of a chance in a competition against Danica Patrick. Maybe my blog readers will vote for Jim and give him the bump needed to keep him in the running? Please take the screening test here, or forward it to friends who may be at risk (age over 35, history of smoking).
Like any good blogger, I had my trusty digital recorder with me and got in a few questions with Jim. Special thanks to South African blogger Delre Roberts, who gave me the idea for my leading joke to Jim via Facebook: “How’s a comedian going to screen a doctor for COPD? See how short of breath she gets from his jokes?” Good one, Delre! You got a laugh out of Jim… Check it out:
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Have you ever stopped bothering to care about a patient? A doctor sent me his own personal account of the smoking Mr Jones:
Dear Happy. I read your article on bounce backs with great interest, and was astonished by some of the vitriol it elicited. I remember having one COPDer bounce back to me three times within a month at the VA when I was a medicine resident. He would leave, smoke and drink, and then come back and be readmitted to my service with exactly the same course each time. It was like Groundhog Day.
Finally I had a little talk with him and said: “Mr. Jones, each time you come in, you’re on death’s door. So I come down to the ER, stay up with you all night and save your life. But you know, I’m really getting tired of having you come in after drinking and smoking and then working like a dog to save your life. So let me tell you, if you don’t quit smoking, the next time you do this there’s a good chance that I’m not going to bother. Why should I? It doesn’t seem to be doing either of us any good.”
To my complete astonishment, he actually quit smoking and stayed quit for about a year. Then he fell off the wagon, deteriorated too far before getting to the hospital and died. I was frankly proud of him for the effort, but somehow suspect that I’d be shot in a drive-by if I ever told that story in public. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist Blog*
DiscoveryNews is reporting on a Bedford, Massachusetts company developing software that can detect the difference between a typical cough and one caused by a cold, flu, COPD, or a number of other respiratory diseases. STAR Analytical Services is working with a database of pre-recorded coughs to determine signatures that point to underlying conditions.
The final 100 to 150 milliseconds of the cough contains the distinctive sounds that could help doctors and nurses remotely diagnose a cough as the common cold or more serious pneumonia.
Even with a limited amount of data, scientists can distinguish between a healthy, voluntary cough and the involuntary cough of a sick person. Healthy people have slightly louder coughs, about 2 percent louder than a sick person. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*