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Friday’s COPD Newsletter From COPD Support, Inc.

Posted May 07 2010 6:44am

Volume 10, Issue 23
May 7, 2010
Joan Costello, Editor

ScienceDaily. High altitude medicine is a “natural research laboratory” for the study of cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology. As such, it can shed light on conditions and diseases that mimic the low oxygen content of the atmosphere at the top of mountains. Yves Allemann, MD, FESC, Swiss Cardiovascular Center, Researchers in Switzerland have assembled an international group of leading authorities to contribute to a special issue of Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases dedicated to high-altitude medicine and novel insights into disease mechanisms provided by high-altitude research.

“During the past decade, high-altitude studies have elucidated fundamental novel mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of lung edema and hypoxic pulmonary hypertension. The new knowledge generated by these high-altitude studies has already been transferred to the bedside of patients having these problems at low altitude.” At high altitude, lack of oxygen principally affects the respiratory, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and renal systems. At low altitude, the same effects may occur, not due to ambient lack of oxygen, but as the result of hypoxemia, deficient oxygenation of the blood, which is the consequence of an organ insufficiency, usually the heart or the lung.

High-altitude pulmonary edema is a life-threatening problem, and physicians need to know how to advise individuals planning high-altitude activities…Sometimes, a hypoxic environment is deliberately sought by endurance athletes who try to naturally augment their oxygen transport capacity. Should the athlete live high and train low or live low and train high?

Adaptation mechanisms to hypoxia can sometimes go beyond their primary goal of maintaining adequate tissue oxygenation. In chronic mountain sickness, affected patients develop, usually insidiously over time, excessive erythrocytosis, hypoxemia, and pulmonary hypertension that can have a major negative impact on quality of life.










News items summarized in The COPD-NEWS are taken from secondary sources believed to be reliable. However, the COPD Family of Services does not verify their accuracy.

A class of drugs commonly used for asthma, inflammation and skin injury also may hold promise for tissue-repairing regenerative medicine, according to Duke University Medical Center researchers. In studies on cells from mice, the drugs, a kind of steroid hormone called glucocorticoids, appear to be promoting and protecting stem cell populations that perform tissue repair.

“We found that these common compounds could help to produce populations of (nerve-repairing) neuronal stem cells and may even have a protective effect on the new stem cells, which could assist in tissue repair processes,” said senior author Wei Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Duke Department of Medicine. “Next we would like to study how these drugs work in specific conditions, starting with spinal cord injury repair and neural regeneration in the setting of Parkinson’s disease.” Chen said the findings are exciting, because millions of people have taken the glucocorticoid drugs, and the drugs are well known to be safe. He foresees new roles for these drugs to help grow new blood vessel networks after heart attack, to improve wound healing in people with diabetes, and to stimulate hair growth.

The University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago is the first academic medical center in the country to introduce a new “no stress” diagnostic system for assessing patients with heart failure and optimizing their treatment. A patient’s heart efficiency is usually assessed using a stress test that requires near peak performance. “Heart failure patients are simply unable to undergo the kind of exertion a stress test requires,” says Dr. Abraham Kocheril, UIC professor of medicine and director of clinical electrophysiology.

But with the Shape-HF Cardiopulmonary Testing System, the patient need only step up and down a 6-inch raised platform or walk a slow, steady, 1 mph on the treadmill exertion well within the capacity of most heart failure patients. The patient breathes into a tube while exercising at a normal daily activity level. The breath passes through a small box where it is analyzed for the blood gases, and a computer shows the physician the results in real time.

In heart failure, a patient’s heart is unable to pump effectively and cannot meet the body’s need for blood and oxygen.

We do not accept any paid advertising. Any corporations, products, medicines (prescription or non) mentioned in this newsletter are for informational purposes only and not to be construed as an endorsement or condemnation of same.

Though human eyes have evolved to see other people blush, our eyes need assistance to spot health-related changes in skin color such as cyanosis. Human skin also changes color as a result of hundreds of different medical conditions. Pale skin, yellow skin, and cyanosis - a potentially serious condition of bluish discoloration of the skin, lips, nails, and mucous membranes due to lack of oxygen in the blood - are common symptoms. These color changes often go unnoticed, however, because they often involve a fairly universal shift in skin color. The observer in most instances will just assume the patient’s current skin color is the baseline color. The challenge is that there is no color contrast against the baseline for the observer to pick up on, as the baseline skin color has changed altogether.

One potential solution is for hospitals to outfit patients with gowns and sheets that are nude-colored and closely match their skin tone. Another solution is to develop adhesive tabs in a large palette of skin-toned colors. Physicians could then choose the tabs that most closely resemble the patient’s skin tone, and place the tabs at several places on the skin of the patient. Both techniques should afford doctors and clinicians an easy and effective tool to record the skin tone of a patient, and see if it deviates - even very slightly - from its “baseline” color over time.

For a color illustration of what the author is talking about.

Personal health record services are popping up all over the Web. Google and Microsoft each offer an online solution. These are great services. But you’re storing a lot of personal information online. Not everyone is comfortable with that.

Your physician should be consulted on all medical decisions. New procedures or drugs should not be started or stopped without such consultation. While we believe that our accumulated experience has value, and a unique perspective, you must accept it for what it is… the work of COPD patients . We vigorously encourage individuals with COPD to take an active part in the management of their disease. They do this through education and by sharing information and thoughts with their primary physician and pulmonoligist. However, medical decisions are based on complex medical principles and should be left to the medical practitioner who has been trained to diagnose and advise.

All liquid Maalox products are not the same. Maalox Total Relief, Maalox Advanced Regular Strength, and Maalox Advanced Maximum Strength may look similar but they are not interchangeable. In fact, using the wrong one could be harmful. FDA has received several reports where people mistakenly took Maalox Total Relief instead of Maalox Advanced in regular or maximum strength. The Maalox Advanced products contain antacid ingredients to relieve conditions such as acid indigestion, heartburn and sour stomach. Maalox Total Relief is an upset stomach reliever and anti-diarrheal medication.

Maalox Total Relief contains bismuth subsalicylate, which is chemically related to aspirin, so it can have similar side effects. That means people who should avoid aspirin products should not take Maalox Total Relief, including those with a history of ulcers or bleeding disorders.

The maker of Maalox brand products has agreed to change the name of Maalox Total Relief to one that does not include the word “Maalox”. The company is also changing the drug’s packaging to avoid further confusion. Until that happens, people should check the “Drug Facts” box on Maalox labels to be
sure they are picking the right product for their condition.

LifeScan is recalling certain lots of SureStep glucose test strips because they may provide falsely low results when glucose levels are above 400 mg/dL. If these results are used to adjust insulin doses, too little insulin could be administered. This could result in severe hyperglycemia, coma and death. Patients who have SureStep OneTouch test strips from one of the recalled lots, should call LifeScan at 1-800-574-6139 to get replacements. It is important to continue monitoring your blood glucose while waiting for the new strips to arrive. To do this, use a meter that does not take the OneTouch strips if it is available. If not, patients can continue to use the recalled strips, but be sure to contact your healthcare professional if you get results above 400 mg/dL, because your actual blood glucose level might be significantly higher than that.

Certain lots of SureStep Pro test strips, which are used in hospitals and other medical facilities, have been recalled for the same reason. These strips are used in SureStep Pro, SureStep Flexx and OneTouch SureStep Hospital Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems. If your facility uses these systems, consider using an alternative glucose testing method until the company can provide replacement product.

If an alternative is not available, the company recommends adjusting the “critical high” threshold to no more than 400 mg/dL, and confirming any result above 400 mg/dL using another method.

FDA notified healthcare professionals, their patients, and consumers not to consume Vita Breath, a dietary supplement manufactured by American Herbal Lab and marketed at health fairs and on the Internet, because the product may contain hazardous levels of lead. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene analyzed a sample of Vita Breath and reported it contained 1,100 parts per million of lead. This level is more than 10,000 times higher than FDA’s maximum recommended level for lead in candy.

People with high blood levels of lead may show no symptoms, but the condition may cause damage to the nervous system and internal organs. Acute lead poisoning may cause a wide range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and bloody or decreased urinary output.

It’s tornado and flood season for many of us in the USA. Don’t be caught unprepared if you find you need to evacuate your home on short notice. I keep my important papers (passport, insurance, etc.) in a lightweight, waterproof container in a certain spot of the house. My medicine is in a multi-pocket shoe bag hanging on a wall ready to be taken down and packed at a moment’s notice. I also have a small case of personal essentials like grooming items and so on. Plus, I have just enough easy-care clothing to keep me going if I need to leave home suddenly for an unknown length of time. There’s a carrying case of pet items, too. I learned the hard way that the time to think about this is not when a fireman knocks on your door and tells you to evacuate immediately. From the Dollar Stretcher.

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The Newsletter, like all the other endeavors of the Family of COPD Support Programs , is provided to you by COPD-Support, Inc . a non-profit member organization with IRS designation 501(c)(3). If you would like to be involved and help us provide these programs to the individuals who benefit from them, please consider joining us as a member. Further information is available at

Place the 50 States, and try to be precise as possible. This game charges you miles if your slightly off.From JohnW/MN

Things mama taught me.

Free Family Games

Until next Friday,

Joan Costello, Editor

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