Living Well with a Bad Diagnosis - Lung Disease

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Still down to one car between us, Michael dropped me off at a little coffee shop across the street from my pulmonary rehab class yesterday. I met my friend Lois, who had developed her photos from her annual trek to the Mozart Festival in Salzburg, Austria. It was a shock to see that her late January photos reveled NO SNOW. None. Spring temperature. Usually, she is knee-deep in snow as she walks between the three to four concert venues a day. Nothing. Zero. Flowers were in bloom. We sat together and enjoyed ourselves so much that I missed the beginning of my class.

I met Lois years ago when I began to work out at the other rehab. We chatted and have been friends ever since. She was a drug designer and worked for the company that developed how to break down DNA, often used in the legal system. One smart cookie.

Yesterday, she handed me a page she had ripped out of the March 13 Science Magazine and said, "There is your proof." It was a very short article on the RESEARCH page:

Exercising away the effects of lung injury

We all know that healthy people benefit from exercise but recent evidence suggests that it also helps the sickest patients in the ICU. Files, studied mice with acute lung injury to understand why exercise is beneficial and confirmed their findings in human respiratory failure patients receiving therapeutic exercise. Exercise prevented muscle wasting and limited the number of immune cells infiltrating the lung by decreasing levels of growth factor called G-CSF.

I always contended that daily exercise provided increase stamina and possibly a longer life but I could never prove that it actually helped the lungs. Now, there is proof.

Let me just say that a nice walk is not enough. I am talking a variety of exercises for at least an hour a day for as many days of the week as possible. Yoga, gyms, biking, hiking, gardening. From the time I got my bad diagnosis and learned about pulmonary rehab, I worked out six days a week for years and years. Later, I worked out eight times a week. I know that I would not be alive today if I had not been aggressive with my routines. 

Please, please seek out a pulmonary rehab program in your area. Please get off the couch and move. You will feel so much better and it will help your lungs and quality of life. I now have proof! 

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