Sunday, February 19, 2012

Causes of Insomnia Part 9 Sleep Better with COPD

COPD definition is a chronic obstructive lung disease associated with chronic bronchitis (long-term wet cough) and emphysema (breakdown of lungs over time) causing the lungs airways to narrow. This leads to a limitation of the flow of air to and from the lungs resulting in shortness of breath (dyspnea). This limitation is nonreversible and usually worsens over time. If you suffer from COPD sleeping is difficult and other health conditions like acid reflux, sleep apnea and even pregnancy can worsen the condition. Symptoms of COPD such as coughing, wheezing, chest pain or tightness make it hard to fall asleep easy and stay asleep during the night which results in insomnia.

Symptoms of insomnia and COPD can cause afternoon sleepiness, depression, memory loss, fast heartbeat, insulin resistance, pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure within the lungs) and possibly a heart attack due to extreme stress on the heart.

Although there is no cure for COPD there are ways to minimize the symptoms. Lifestyle changes such as reducing irritants, exposure to secondhand smoke and stopping smoking are a good start. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center people living with COPD often have low levels of antioxidants and certain minerals including vitamins A, C, and E, potassium, magnesium, selenium and zinc which can contribute to poor lung function and sleep. Eating healthy with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains along with a good multi-vitamin can provide these nutrients.

Depending on the severity of your COPD many use an inhaled anticholinergic medication which inhibits nerve impulses and reduces nighttime coughing and wheezing. Others may require pulmonary rehabilitation which focuses on exercise, nutrition and breathing training along with oxygen.

COPD with acid reflux also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be reduced with an acid-reducing medication. Try to avoid alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, spicy foods, peppermint or spearmint candies/gum as they trigger reflux. Eat smaller meals and don’t eat late at night.

COPD patients take beta agonists along with an anticholinergic to relax the muscles around the airways to make breathing easier, but beta agonist can interfere with sleep as they stimulate the central nervous system which increases heart rate, raises blood pressure and triggers the fight or flight reaction, putting the brain on high alert. If this medication is a reason you can’t fall asleep at night talk to your doctor about adjusting the dose or changing your prescription.

Lying down can make breathing more difficult and certain sleep positions such as lying on your back can reduce your lung capacity which can cause a drop in blood oxygen levels. Try elevating your head using a foam pillow wedge or sleep in a recliner. Being pregnant not only makes sleeping harder your estrogen levels can cause mucous membranes to swell causing a greater risk for snoring and sleep apnea which worsens COPD symptoms. Sleep apnea or in most cases "central apnea" a condition when there is a temporary interruption of the drive to breathe when carbon dioxide is too low can put the fetus at risk. Don’t stop or skip your medication, because it is more dangerous for the baby if you don’t use your inhaler and find elongated sleep positions so the baby doesn’t press up against your rib cage.

40% of patients with COPD experience depression or anxiety which can cause insomnia. Many antidepressants may help but be careful as they often promote weight gain which can worsen COPD. Controlling your weight with exercise can boost your mood and improve your ability to use oxygen.

The signs and symptoms of COPD include:

• An ongoing cough, or one that produces large amounts of mucus (often called “smoker’s cough”)
• Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
• Wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe)
• Chest tightness

NOTE: These symptoms often occur years before the flow of air into and out of the lungs declines. However, not everyone who has these symptoms has COPD. Likewise, not everyone who has COPD has these symptoms. Some symptoms of COPD are similar to other health conditions. Your doctor can diagnose your COPD based on your signs and symptoms, your medical and family history and with test results. Lung function tests can measure the amount of air you breathe in and out, how fast you can breathe and how well your lungs deliver oxygen to your blood. A spirometer is used for this test and can detect COPD long before symptoms start. Doctors can also determine how severe your COPD is and prescribe treatment. This test can also find out if another condition is causing your symptoms such as asthma or heart failure.

Other tests may be recommended such as a chest X-ray or chest CT scan and/or an arterial blood gas test that measures your oxygen levels. If your COPD is mild your doctor may prescribe a short-acting inhaled bronchodilator, if moderate to severe other medications may be required. Flu shots are also recommended for people with COPD. A pneumococcal vaccine lowers your risk for pneumococcal pneumonia and its complications as people with COPD are at a higher risk for pneumonia than those you don’t have the disease.

Pulmonary rehabilitation includes an exercise program, disease management training and nutritional and psychological counseling. Oxygen therapy is for those with low levels of oxygen in their blood. Surgery is rare but in some cases as a last resort a bullectomy is performed. When the walls of the air sacs are destroyed, larger air spaces called bullae form which interferes with breathing. A bullectomy removes one or more of the very large bullae from the lungs. In a Lung Volume Reduction the surgeon removes the damaged tissue from the lungs helping the lungs work better by improving breathing and quality of life. A lung transplant may benefit some people with severe COPD.

COPD symptoms usually worsen over time and if you suffer from a cold, flu or lung infection these symptoms can exacerbate quicker. Call your doctor right away to treat the infection to help you breath. Symptoms also are triggered by smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes and dust. Keep irritants out of your home by eliminating paint, insect spray and cleaning products.

Living with COPD can cause fear, anxiety, depression and stress so it is important to have a healthy emotional support system. Your doctor, a counselor, a support group can help you with treatments and recommend healthy lifestyle changes to improve your quality of life. Support from family and friends can help relieve stress and anxiety, so let them know how they can help you. One way they can help is by making sure you get nutrients you need from eating fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, beets, cucumber, etc. Supplements and/or foods that are anti-inflammatory agents include Omega-3 fatty acids and are found in oily fish, flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans and canola oil and Acetylcysteine. Glutamine, BCAA supplements and creatine also help with lung tissue, protein synthesis and endurance. Since eating and digestion require energy, your body needs oxygen. Your body mass index or BMI can measure the amount of body fat in relation to your height and weight. A low BMI has been associated with a poor prognosis in individuals with COPD.

Don’t eat foods that cause gas or bloating with include carbonated beverages, fried, greasy, spicy foods, apples, avocados, melons, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, leeks, lentils, onions, peas, peppers, pimentos, radishes, scallions and shallots. If you are taking a water pill you may need to increase your potassium intake. Get your potassium naturally by eating oranges, bananas, potatoes, asparagus and tomatoes.

If you become short of breath after eating it is best to eat slower, choose foods that are easy to chew, eat smaller/more meals, drink at the end of the meal to reduce bloating and make sure your eat while sitting up to ease pressure on your lungs.

Talk to your doctor if you do have a poor appetite, as a poor appetite is sometimes due to depression which can be treated. Avoid black coffee and tea as they suppress your appetite. Walking or light activity can stimulate your appetite. Don’t waste your energy eating foods with no or little nutritional value. Choose foods that are high-protein, high-calorie instead. Limit alcohol because too much slows down breathing, can interfere with medications and make it difficult for you to expel mucus.

What are high-calorie foods? Whole milk, whole milk cheese, yogurt, ice cream, pudding, custard, peanut butter, bagels with cream cheese, eggs, dips, popcorn with butter to name a few.

What are high-calorie recipes to promote weight gain? If you are having difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, try some of these "Calorie Boosters."

Super Shake

1 cup whole milk
1 cup ice cream (1-2 scoops)
1 package Carnation Instant Breakfast

Pour all ingredients into a blender. Mix well.
Makes one serving; 550 calories per serving.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1-1/2 cups chocolate ice cream

Pour all ingredients into a blender. Mix well.
Makes one serving; 1090 calories per serving.

Super Pudding

2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 package instant pudding
3/4 cup non-fat, dry milk powder

Blend milk and oil. Add pudding mix and mix well. Pour into dishes (1/2 cup servings).
Makes four 1/2 cup servings; 250 calories per serving.

Great Grape Slush

2 grape juice bars
1/2 cup grape juice or 7-up
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 tablespoon corn oil


Pour all ingredients into a blender. Mix well.
Makes one serving; 490 calories per serving.

If you are having difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, try some of these calorie boosters:

Calorie Boosters

Food Item Suggested Use

Egg yolk or whole egg Before cooking, add egg yolk or whole egg to foods such as meat loaf, rice pudding, or macaroni and cheese. (To prevent illness, avoid the use of uncooked eggs.)

Non-fat powdered milk or undiluted evaporated milk Add to beverages (including milk) or to these foods:

creamed soups
scrambled eggs
mashed potatoes
hot cereal

Cream cheese or shredded, melted, sliced, cubed, or grated cheese Add to sandwiches, snacks, casseroles, crackers, eggs, soups, toast, pasta, potatoes, rice or vegetables, or serve as a snack.

Vegetable oils, mayonnaise, butter, margarine, or sour cream Add margarine or mayonnaise to sandwiches; add any of these items to bread, casseroles, soups, eggs, cooked cereals, pasta, potatoes, rice, vegetables, pudding.

Peanut butter (creamy or crunchy) Spread on bread, crackers, apples, bananas, or celery. Or add to cereal, custard, cookies, or milk shakes.

Nut dust (grind any type of nuts in a blender or food processor) Add to puddings, gravy, mashed potatoes, casseroles, salads, yogurt, cereals

Miscellaneous foods

(limit to one serving per day) Add:

sugar, jelly, jam preserves
corn syrup
maple syrup


hot cereal, cold cereal
fruit, fruit salad
sweet potatoes
winter squash

What is the life expectancy of COPD? A group of researchers found that a healthy 65 year old man with Stage 1 COPD has a life expectancy from 14-18 years, depending if he was a current, former or never a smoker. A healthy 65 year old woman with Stage 1 COPD life expectancy ranges from 17.2 to 20.5 years. These Stage 1 life expectancies are only very slightly shorter than for people without COPD.

The information from this article is for informational purposes only and not meant as a substitute for advice from your doctor or health-care professional. The information is researched from websites including Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and others. Information provided by this site about dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat COPD or any other condition. ALWAYS seek advice, treatment and diagnose from a qualified health-care professional regarding any medical condition. does not recommend or endorse any tests, doctor, third party product, procedure, opinions or other information mentioned on this site. Reliance on this information provided by Asleepeasy is solely at your own risk.
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  2. I'm 59 years old and female. I was diagnosed a couple of years ago with COPD and I was beyond scared! My lung function test indicated 49% capacity. After having had flu a year ago, the shortness of breath, coughing and chest pains continued even after being treated with antibiotics. I've been smoking two packs a day for 36 years. Being born without a sternum caused my ribs to be curled in just one inch away from my spine, resulting to underdeveloped lungs. At age 34 I had surgery and it was fixed. Unfortunately my smoking just caused more damage to my already under developed lungs. The problem was having is that I enjoy smoking and don't want to give up! Have tried twice before and nearly went crazy and don't want to go through that again. I saw the fear in my husband and children's eyes when I told them about my condition then they start to find solution on their own to help my condition.I am an 59 now who was diagnose COPD emphysema which I know was from my years of smoking. I started smoking in school when smoking was socially acceptable. I remember when smoking was permitted in hospitals. It was not known then how dangerous cigarettes were for us, and it seemed everybody smoked but i was able to get rid of my COPD lung condition through the help of total cure herbal foundation my husband bought, totalcureherbsfoundation .c om has the right herbal formula to help you get rid and repair any lung conditions and cure you totally with their natural organic herbs,it class products at affordable prices. Purchase these medicines and get the generic medicines delivered in USA, UK & Australia,I wish anybody who starts smoking at a young age would realize what will eventually happen to their bodies if they continue that vile habit throughout their life.

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