Breathing and Blessing (Quality Life Forum Support Series) Health Coaching Session June, 2020
In Italy, a 93 year old gentleman was on the ventilator in ICU fighting for the Coronavirus and survived. When his Doctor told him that he is billed for 500 Euro for one day ventilator use, he cried. The Doctor tried to comfort him not to feel sad for the cost. But he said was:” I am not crying about the money. I am crying because I have been breathing air for 93 years at God’s blessing but never paid a penny. Knowing I owe 500 Euro for breathing one day on a ventilator, how much I owe God? I never thanked him for his blessing until now”.
We took too many things as granted in life. As we are taking each breath today, appreciate the blessing of free fresh air and healthy lungs. The older population is more vulnerable for Coronavirus infection and respiratory/pulmonary illnesses, as lung function decreases with aging. it's helpful to understand how lungs change over time, what's natural, and what we can do to maintain optimal pulmonary health.
There are many age-associated changes in the respiratory and pulmonary system. The size of the thoracic cavity decreases, limiting lung volumes and altering the muscles that aid in respiration. Muscle function on a cellular level is less efficient and has decreased reserve. Cough strength is reduced in the elderly population due to anatomic changes and muscle atrophy. Clearance of particles from the lung through the mucociliary elevator is negatively impacted and associated with ciliary dysfunction. There are many complex changes in immunity with aging that increase susceptibility to infections, including a less robust immune response from both the innate and adaptive immune systems.
Take actions for pulmonary health maintenance:
There are several simple ways to help protect your lungs and maintain optimal lung function throughout your life.
Prevent respiratory infections (especially important now) - Wash hands often with soap and water. Alcohol-based cleaners are a good substitute. Avoids crowds and keep safe social distance during the flu season or pandemic. Maintain good personal and oral hygiene can protect you from the germs leading to infections.
Don't smoke – Smoking damages lungs and will compound the effects of aging. Be aware of secondhand smoke causes heart and lung disease, and there are no safe levels of exposure.
Avoid air pollution – Indoor and outdoor air pollutants are harmful. Chemicals in the home and environment, such as smoke, radon, lead, coal, etc, can cause or worsen lung disease.
Get up and get active – Sedentary life style, especially lying in bed too long, allows mucus and fluid to settle in lungs, which often lead to infection and decrease lung capacity.
Maintain healthy weight – Abdominal fat can impede the diaphragm's ability to fully expand the lungs. A combination of both healthy eating and exercise will double the benefit for lung function and overall wellness.
Breathing exercise - promote lung capacity and brain health, regulates emotions and blood pressure, relieve stress, boost metabolism and energy, as evident from meditation and yoga practice.
Keep annual physical check-ups and wellness preventive procedures on schedule for health maintenance. Get vaccinated every year against influenza. Talk to healthcare provider to find out when and which pneumonia vaccine is the best option.
When you are physically active, your heart and lungs work harder to supply the additional oxygen your muscles demand. Just like regular exercise makes your muscles stronger, it also makes your lungs and heart stronger. As your physical fitness improves, your body becomes more efficient at getting oxygen into the bloodstream and transporting it to the working muscles. That's one of the reasons that you are less likely to become short of breath during exercise over time.
Some types of exercise can also strengthen the muscles of the neck and chest, including the diaphragm and muscles between the ribs that work together to power inhaling and exhaling.
Both aerobic activities and muscle-strengthening activities can benefit your lungs. Aerobic activities like walking, running or jumping rope give your heart and lungs the kind of workout they need to function efficiently. Muscle-strengthening activities like weight-lifting or Pilates build core strength, improving your posture, and toning your breathing muscles. Breathing exercises in particular can strengthen your diaphragm and train your body to breathe more deeply and more effectively. Breath work impacts emotional state and regulates mind-body connections.
Why is there a need for flu vaccines designed specifically for people 65 years of age and older? CDC studies conducted during previous flu seasons estimate external icon that that between about 70 percent and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older and between 54 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in that age group. However, older adults with weaker immune systems also may have a lower protective immune response after flu vaccination compared to younger, healthier people. This can result in lower vaccine effectiveness (i.e., a measure of how well the flu vaccine protects against flu illness), in these people. Newer flu vaccines made specifically for people 65 years of age attempt to improve the immune response and protection provided by flu vaccination in this age group.
Types of Flu Shots for People 65 and Older People 65 years and older should get a flu shot and not a nasal spray vaccine. They can get any flu vaccine approved for use in that age group with no preference for any one vaccine over another. There are regular flu shots that are approved for use in people 65 years and older and there also are two vaccines designed specifically for people 65 years and older:
High Dose Flu Vaccine The high dose vaccine (brand name Fluzone High-Dose) contains four times the amount of antigen (the inactivated virus that promotes a protective immune response) as a regular flu shot. It is associated with a stronger immune response following vaccination (higher antibody production). Results from a clinical trial of more than 30,000 participants showed that adults 65 years and older who received the high dose vaccine had 24% fewer influenza illnesses as compared to those who received the standard dose flu vaccine. The high dose vaccine has been approved for use in the United States since 2009.
Adjuvanted Flu Vaccine The adjuvanted flu vaccine (brand name Fluad) is made with MF59 adjuvant, an additive that can create a stronger immune response to vaccination. In a recent review of multiple vaccine trials, older adults who received a MF59-adjuvated vaccine had a significantly higher immune response than those who received a standard flu vaccine, The adjuvanted vaccine was available for the first time in the United States during the 2016-2017 flu season.
To date, there have been no randomized studies comparing FLUAD with High-Dose flu vaccine (brand name, Fluzone).
The CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have not expressed a preference for any flu vaccine indicated for people 65 and older. CDC recommends flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.
There are two vaccines that help prevent pneumococcal disease among adults 65 years or older. Both vaccines are safe and effective, but they cannot be given at the same time. Two vaccines offer protection against pneumococcal disease: PCV13 and PPSV23.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) - CDC recommends all adults 65 years or older get a shot of PPSV23.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) - CDC recommends adults 65 years or older get a shot of PCV13 if they have never received a dose and have a:
Condition that weakens the immune system
Cerebrospinal fluid leak
Older adults who have never received a dose and do not have one of the conditions described above may also discuss vaccination with their vaccine provider to decide if PCV13 is appropriate for them.
If you are recommended to or want to receive both vaccines:
Get PCV13 first. Talk to your doctor about when to come back to get PPSV23.
If you’ve already received PPSV23, wait at least a year after that shot before you get PCV13.
At this time, the Coronavirus Vaccine is in development. Hope it will become available to protect and save lives in the near future.
The COVID 19 pandemic in the US
The COVID 19 pandemic caused US a death toll higher than any wartime casualties, over 100,000 in late May, 2020. This is a shocking, but a reality.
Coronavirus infected people may show no symptoms, or flu-like symptoms, or develop shortness of breath with serious respiratory distress and multi-organ failure, within a short time. Although many US states starting to re-open, this pandemic is not yet well-controlled. Due to the highly contagious nature of Coronavirus, limit social exposure remains as essential for public and personal safety. Imaging, if you see the street fighting in a war zone, your instinct is self-protection and trying to hide from the gun fire. However, knowing the Coronavirus kills, many are still careless and appears unprotected in social exposures. Sadly, the war with Coronavirus is killing more lives than any war time.
Action call : Continue to limit non-essential outings. Be aware that the Coronavirus risk still remains high. We have become accustomed to the free style social life and modern conveniences, but we can survive just fine with the basics. Protect yourself, practice good hygiene and social distancing.
We took too many things as granted in life. As we are taking each breath today, appreciate the blessing of free fresh air and healthy lungs. The older population is more vulnerable for Coronavirus and respiratory/pulmonary illnesses, as lung function decreases with aging. it's helpful to understand how lungs change over time, what's natural, and what could we do to maintain optimal pulmonary health. There are several simple ways to help protect our lungs and maintain optimal lung function throughout life. Take actions today.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional for personal conditions.
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