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Sadly, I Bid Farewell!

Saturday April 26, 2014

It is with great sadness that I announce today that as of May 1, 2014, I am resigning as COPD Guide for About.com. I have had a wonderful experience here at About, and have met some incredible people. I will miss the advice I've received over the years from my brilliant colleagues, as well as the friendships I've made in the COPD Forum.

The COPD website was introduced to the World Wide Web on May 23, 2008. I started the site from ground zero and you, my loyal readers and Forum members, have supported me in growing the site to what it is today. Without your support, this site would not exist. I hope that you will continue to visit the site and welcome the new Guide - whoever he or she may be - when the time comes that they find my replacement.

I will leave you with my favorite poem by Robert Frost:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Which road will you take today?

With Sincere Gratitude,

Deborah Leader, RN, BSN, PHN

Mercy or Murder? Woman Convicted of Murdering Mother Suffering from Emphysema

Tuesday April 8, 2014

Angela DouglasJurors of England's Plymouth Crown Court took only one hour to  find 49-year old Angela Douglas guilty of murdering her 73-year-old mother. Douglas, a heavy drinker, admitted killing Anne Matthews "out of love" after watching her suffer with emphysema.

When officers arrived on the scene, Douglas was drunk and slurring her words. Reportedly, she told them: "I tried to kill my mother. I smothered her with a pillow. I love my mum, I can't stand to see her like that."

Prosecutor's in the case did not see the killing as having anything to do with mercy.  Although Matthews was frail and weighed only 70 pounds, they told the court that she was not terminally ill.

Psychiatrist for the defense, Dr Michael Alcock, advised the court that Douglas was suffering from "adjustment disorder", a recognized mental disorder that caused her to snap and kill her mother. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. John Sanford said there was no evidence that she was suffering from this stress-related medical condition.

Jurors in the case rejected her diminished responsibility defense convicting her of murder. Douglas, who howled in anguish after hearing the verdict, was sentenced yesterday to a life sentence. According to the judge, she will have to serve at least 12 years.

Read more about the story in the Western Morning News.

What do you think of this verdict? Was it mercy or murder? Please share your comments below.

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Managing End of Life Issues in COPD

Monday March 31, 2014

Research has shown that in spite of COPD being associated with severe disability and premature death, COPD patients are still receiving inadequate end of life care. For these reasons, you and your family may want to consider enlisting the help of a hospice to guide you through the end of life experience.

Whether or not you choose hospice, if your loved one is dying, you probably have a lot of questions about how to provide adequate comfort and support during their final days. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions related to end of life:

Managing End of Life Issues in COPD

Advair Diskus: What You Need to Know?

Monday March 31, 2014

Dyspnea - wheezing - cough - many of you talk Advair to help relieve your COPD symptoms. If you're new to taking Advair or you need a refresher, check out the following guide that includes important safety information and precautions to keep in mind when using Advair:

Advair Diskus: What You Need to Know

4 Vitamins Important in COPD Treatment

Monday March 31, 2014

The debate over the role of vitamins in COPD treatment may never end. However, recent evidence suggests that eating foods packed with certain vitamins may provide important health benefits that extend to the lungs, an important consideration for people with COPD. In light of these findings, talk to your doctor about the importance of the following 4 vitamins in your COPD treatment plan:

4 Vitamins Important in COPD Treatment

Two New Approaches to Treating Inflammation in COPD

Saturday March 29, 2014

red sageIt is becoming increasingly evident that inflammation plays a major role in COPD and many other chronic diseases. Traditionally, inflammation in COPD has been treated with inhaled and/or oral steroids.  Although generally effective, these drugs have many serious side-effects and should be used with great caution. Recent studies conducted in the U.S. and the U.K. have found two new approaches to treating inflammation in COPD; red sage and N-acetylcysteine.

Tanshinone IIA is a compound found in red sage, an ancient Chinese herb with many medicinal properties. According to a February, 2014 report published in Science Translation Medicine, treating injured Zebra fish with red sage extract significantly reduced inflammation by driving neutrophils away from the injury site or inducing cell death. Future COPD drugs containing Tanshinone IIA may be beneficial for people with COPD.

Another study published online in the February issue of  Lancet Respiratory Medicine suggested that COPD patients may benefit from the antioxidant supplement, N-acetylcysteine. The study, conducted by Nan-Shan Zhong, MD, of China's First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University and colleagues, found that taking 600 mg of N-acetylcysteine twice daily prevents COPD exacerbation, especially in people with moderate COPD.

If you are considering adding an herbal product or dietary supplement to your  COPD treatment plan, talk to your health care provider first, to discuss possible drug interactions.

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New Study Shows E-Cigarettes Don't Help You Quit

Wednesday March 26, 2014

You only have to view the TV commercial featuring Stephen Dorff puffing on the end of an e-cigarette to understand how trendy they've become. But the controversy over these popular electronic gadgets remains a matter of fierce debate, which is likely to intensify once proponents of the e-cig learn about a new study published in JAMA.

The study, published online on March 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that baseline e-cigarette use was not associated with a change in tobacco cigarette consumption after one year. Results were based on a longitudinal analysis of e-cigarette use and smoking cessation in a national sample of 1549 participants.

Similar results were found during other studies and reported by JAMA in the current study:

  • One randomized trial comparing e-cigarettes with and without nicotine with a nicotine patch found no differences in 6-month quit rates.
  • A longitudinal, international study found that, although 85% of smokers who used e-cigarettes reported using them to quit, e-cigarette users did not quit more frequently than nonusers.
  • Among US quit-line callers, e-cigarette users were less likely to have quit at 7 months than nonusers.

To learn more about e-cigarettes read:

What do you think? Have e-cigarettes helped you quit? If so, for how long now? Be sure to leave a comment.


Rachel A. Grana, PhD, MPH, et. al. A Longitudinal Analysis of Electronic Cigarette Use and Smoking Cessation. JAMA Intern Med. Published online March 24, 2014.doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.187.

U.S. COPD Coalition: New Resource for COPD

Sunday March 23, 2014

U.S. COPD CoalitionMention the word "COPD" to one of your acquaintances and chances are they won't know what you're talking about. It's true, one of the biggest differences between COPD and other top causes of death in this country, such as heart disease and cancer, is lack of awareness. Thankfully, the U.S. COPD Coalition may help change all that.

There is a new resource available to help spread the word about COPD. The U.S. COPD Coalition's is a non-profit organization made up of patient organizations, health care organizations, individuals, and government agencies who work together to improve awareness and care of patients with COPD while supporting the search for a cure.

According to their website, the Coalition has five categories of membership; patient organizations, state coalitions, liaison members, hospitals/specific practice groups/accountable care organizations, and professional health organizations. If you're interested in helping to increase awareness about COPD, apply to join the U.S. COPD Coalition today.

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Secondhand Smoke Damages Children's Arteries

Sunday March 9, 2014

third hand smokeWe've all seen it. A young mother driving down the highway sucking on the end of a cigarette with young children in the car. Perhaps there's something that this mother - and many other parents just like her - don't realize: that each year, 600,000 people die as a result of exposure to passive, or secondhand smoking.

For years, it's been well-established that secondhand smoke is dangerous, especially to children, but that doesn't stop people from smoking around them. Hopefully, a new research study that lends weight to the ban of smoking in private cars and homes, will open some eyes.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal, was the first to follow children through to adulthood to examine the link between exposure to secondhand smoke from parental smoking and thickness of children's arteries. Study results revealed that exposure to passive smoking leads to an irreversible thickening of children's arterial walls, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke in adulthood.

Although the US, Australia and Canada have already banned smoking in cars with children in them, more legislation is needed to protect children's health. In his 2015 fiscal year budget proposal, President Obama wants to add a $0.94 increase in sales tax on cigarettes, up from it's current $1.01. Similar increases are proposed for most other tobacco products.

For more information on the hazards of secondhand smoke, read:

Will increased taxes stop people from smoking , especially around children? I don't think so. What do you think? Please share your comments below and be sure to share what you propose to do to help create change.

5 Ways of Overcoming Social Stigma in COPD

Friday February 28, 2014

Social Stigma of COPDWhen people find out you have COPD, how long does it take them to ask you: "so, how many years did you smoke"? The stigmatization that somehow current or former smokers deserve to get a disease like COPD is born out of ignorance. When people don't understand something, they tend to judge others unfairly and without provocation.

But social stigma is common in COPD and something that many people with the disease have learned to deal with. If you're finding it difficult to deal with social stigma, please read:

5 Ways of Overcoming Social Stigma in COPD

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