Top tips for comfortable breathing this allergy season

This time of the year usually means hayfever, itchy eyes, runny nose, asthma and itchy skin.  If you suffer from any of the above there are some simple and natural strategies that you can use instead of running for the antihistamines or steroids which tend to worsen the problems that cause you to have allergies.

So here are some top tips from us:

#1 Boost your immune system

Often when we talk about allergies, we are looking at relief and the best way to achieve this is by boosting the immune system. You should look at eliminating anything that can weaken your immune system – usually foods which are high in sugar.  Look at your diet and eliminate refined foods and foods high in sugar. Substitute these foods with foods that have natural ammunition, foods such as carrots, sweet potato, spinach, broccoli and garlic.  Try and bin the stress you are under and take up meditation, deep breathing exercises as well as going for a nice long walk.

#2 Visit that diet

Any sensitivity issues you have with food can also cause the same runny nose, and sinusitis symptoms you experience with environmental allergies.  Set yourself on an elimination diet which is simple to do. All you need to do is remove the most common culprits including any dairy, wheat, eggs and soy products.  After two weeks you will know if food sensitivities contribute to your allergy symptoms. The next step is to introduce the foods back into your diet every few days until you find the offender. You should only do this under the supervision of your GP.

#3 A healthy liver leads to a healthier life

The liver is the organ in our body which is solely responsible for metabolising all of the histamine that is released by numerous cells in the body. If the liver becomes distressed or congested it doesn’t work as it should and all the histamine removal gets backed up, hence worsening the symptoms you are suffering.  A distressed liver may not show up in blood work until it is 80 percent compromised.

Eliminating or reducing unnecessary drugs, alcohol, caffeine and environmental stressors needs to be considered. Feeding the liver vegetables, beet greens and milk thistle helps in restoring function to the liver. If you are on any medication, it’s always best to check that there are no contraindications before taking a supplement, such as milk thistle.

#4 Healthy adrenal glands

Your adrenal glands function as the braking system for your immune system by secreting cortisol to keep the immune response from going unrestrained. Common symptoms of adrenal dysfunction include lack of energy, fatigue, sleep disturbances, muscle and joint pain and chronic stress

Adrenal function can be easily assessed with saliva testing. If adrenal dysfunction exists, caffeine and sugar need to be eliminated from the diet. Foods and whole food supplements rich in the B and C complexes nourish the adrenals.

#5 Move well and rest well

Much research, studies and tests have shown that regular exercise can be a help in combating seasonal allergies.  Regular exercise helps your body burn off accumulated stress that is placed on the liver, immune system and gut.  Regular exercise improves the function of these systems.

Inspiratory muscle training using a breathing trainer can help you perfect your breathing as well as maximise your physical exercise, and strengthen the muscles that you use to breathe.

If you found this blog post useful, please leave a comment below.

 

POWERbreathe glossary of health and medical terms

Glossary of termsAs POWERbreathe is available on prescription and may be prescribed for specific respiratory illnesses or other medical conditions, we thought we’d put together a glossary of health and medical terms that you may come across. Our glossary is intended to be a quick and helpful guide and we hope you find it useful. If you would like to have a specific term included, please do comment below and we will add it to the list.

Index


# – @ | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


A

Acute
Occurring over a short time, usually a few minutes or hours. An acute exposure can result in short term or long term health effects. An acute effect happens within a short time after exposure.

Allergen
A substance (such as a food or pollen) that your body perceives as dangerous and can cause an allergic reaction.

Allergy
Abnormal reaction to a stimulus called an allergen. Allergy refers to the abnormal response of the airways to inhaled stimuli, such as pollen, or to consumed items, such as foods, that may cause unusual airway reactions and lead to bronchospasm.

Alveoli
Thin-walled, small sacs which are located at the ends of the smallest airways in the lungs where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place.

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B

Bacteria
Infectious organisms aka as germs that may cause respiratory illnessess such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

BIPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure) machine
A breathing machine that uses two pressure levels (inspiratory and expiratory) to provide you with breathing assistance. This machine is often used for patients with sleep apnea or respiratory failure. Here is what it looks like for those of you who have never seen one.

bipap machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bronchoconstriction
Is the medical term for the narrowing of the airways that occurs in an asthma attack.

Black pigment
This is the material that gives damaged human lungs a black and sooty appearance.

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C

Cannula
A small plastic tube that is used to supply extra oxygen through the nose.

Carbon dioxide
A colourless, odourless gas that is formed in tissues of the body and is delivered to the lungs for removal.

Carcinogen
A substance which causes cancer

Chronic
Something continuing over a certain period of time; long-term.

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D

Decongestant
A form of medication that shrinks swollen nasal tissues to relieve symptoms of nasal swelling, congestion and mucus secretion.

Diaphragm
The most efficient breathing muscle in our respiratory system, located at the base of the lungs.

diaphragm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diaphragmatic breathing
The method of breathing which helps you use the diaphragm correctly so you use less effort and energy to breathe.

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E

Edema
This is abnormal accumulation of fluid in the body tissues.

Emphysema
This is a chronic lung disease in which there is permanent destruction of the alveoli located at the end of the bronchial tubes. The damaged alveoli are not able to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and the blood. The bronchioles lose their elasticity and collapse during exhalation, trapping air in the lungs. The trapped air keeps fresh air and oxygen from entering the lungs.

Exacerbation
Worsening of symptoms that you have

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F

Fatigue
Is when you are physically or mentally exhausted. If the inspiratory muscle are weakened or fatigued, breathing feels harder. A useful analogy is to think about how much heavier a barbell feels on the 12th repetition than it did on the first.

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G

Gas Exchange
This is the primary function of the lungs; the transfer of oxygen from inhaled air into the blood and of carbon dioxide from the blood into the lungs.

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H

Heart failure
This is a condition caused by weakening of the heart muscle. The heart is strained and can not pump enough blood. Fluid can build up in the lungs and other parts of the body. Symptoms can include shortness of breath and swelling of the legs, ankles and feet.

High blood pressure
This is a condition (that usually has no symptoms) involving higher than normal pressure of the blood against the blood vessels. High blood pressure increases the risk of developing heart disease, a heart attack and a stroke.

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I

Inflammation
Is the term used to the response of how our body tissues react to injury.  Typical signs are swelling, redness, and pain.

Infection
This is when the body is invaded by bacteria, virus and parasites which don’t normally exist in the body.

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J

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K

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L

Lung Compliance
The change in lung volume per unit pressure change

Lung Volume
The amount of air the lungs can hold.

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Omega-3 The truth behind fish oils

Omega-3-fishIf you engage in intense and sustained exercise – things like wrestling, or boot camp, or martial arts – you know that sometimes it’s hard to “catch your breath”. Your lungs are working as hard as they can, but you wonder if they’re really going to give you the oxygen you need or collapse and land you in the hospital. However, two different independent institutions have shown that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can actually improve lung function.

The benefits of Omega-3 fats found in fish oils play a major role in reducing our body’s state of stress and also our vulnerability to illness. This article explains why.

Increased Oxygen Intake

When it comes to sports performance, oxygen intake is vital. The Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport indicates that Omega-3 may boost lung function and reduce the risk of exercise induced asthma, probably due to its anti-inflammatory benefits.

Increased muscle protein synthesis

If you have suffered injury and are in recovery then it is essential to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Recent studies in the Clinical Science Journal have shown that Omega-3 increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis when taken in combination with the right proportions of protein and carbohydrates.

Increased concentration

A winning strategy in sport demands a continuous ability to concentrate on the task in hand. A daily intake of about 2g of Omega-3 has been shown by clinical studies to improve cognitive function, influence our behaviour and mood and allow us to maintain our concentration.

Finding the right oil supplement

Here are some tips on finding the right amount of oil supplement:

  • Always check labels, specifically look for mentions of EPA.
  • Look at the quality not the price.
  • Also remember Omega-9 promotes a healthy heart.
  • Do some shopping around for professional sports oil supplements.
  • Avoid excessive Vitamin A.
  • Balance any supplements with dietary oily fish.

It is very easy to take in too much fish oil so be very careful with your Vitamin A intake especially if you take cod liver oil tablets.Our bodies do not flush Vitamin A and excessive intake can cause toxicity. You can get what you need from eating oily fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel but you should always regularly check the Food Standards Agency guidelines.

If you do have breathing difficulties, you may also find inspiratory muscle training to be beneficial as it will strengthen your breathing muscles to help reduce shortness of breath.