Welcome to the May update from Breathing Better, Living Well!

May is a busy month with a lot going on in many ways. For people with children and grandchildren, there are graduations and graduations parties, end of school-year events, and just getting ready for summer.  In Holland, Michigan we just finished up the Tulip Time Festival. Here is a picture of my daughter’s doll I sent to cheer her up just after her husband, the Army Medic, left for Afghanistan. Note the real wooden shoes!

Anyway… we also must be reminded that May is Asthma Awareness Month! In this update we’ll be looking at asthma basics everyone should know – and offer you help to get control of your asthma, and your life, through information on our site, new links, news on advocacy, “Ask Dr. Adams,” and more. Be your own asthma expert and take control!

What is Asthma? “Asthma is a lifelong, or chronic breathing problem caused by swelling (inflammation) of the airways in the lungs. It cannot be cured, but it can be prevented and controlled. When you have asthma, your airways are super sensitive, or “twitchy.” They may react to many things. These things are called triggers.  People who have asthma may wheeze or complain of feeling “tight” in the chest. They may also cough a lot when their asthma is not under control.” Visit the source of this quote and learn something from the extensive glossary.

If you or someone you know has asthma, you should know for sure – Is the asthma under control? Take the Asthma Control Test and find out!

“I strongly believe that an informed patient is a healthier patient.” Wouldn’t you love to sit down and talk with the doctor who said this? Well, you can! From May 25-31, well-known physician, Dr. Francis Adams, will be answering your questions on our very own Breathing Better, Living Well Community Board! There will be a special forum for these questions, so start jotting them down. If his name sounds familiar, Dr. Adams is the author of The Asthma Sourcebook is now available in the Breathing Better Living Well Bookstore.

If you’re wondering if the breathing problem you have is Asthma or COPD, or a combination of both, click here to review a great article on our site. Clearing the Air helps you sort out the differences and similarities between asthma and COPD and also shows you how smoking over time affects your lung function. Print it out and share it with someone you know and love. In other words, “Is it ever too late to quit smoking?”

Where do you live and how does it measure up for lung health? Click here for the results of the study on the worst cities for asthma. The results might surprise you.

Here’s another important question: Is your school-age child able to get treatment for asthma at school? You know, you can do a great job of asthma management at home, but what happens after you send your child with asthma off to school? Is he or she permitted to carry a rescue inhaler? You might be surprised to learn that many schools have policies against children having medication of any kind; and we know that for kids with asthma that can lead to a situation that is very serious – even deadly! Thanks to the help of the Asthma Network of West Michigan it is now Michigan law that a child be allowed to possess his or her inhaler and that the school staff be informed of it. Lead by visionary nurse and asthma expert, Karen Meyerson, this organization has blazed new trails in asthma education and advocacy. I had the honor of working with the Asthma Network before starting BBLW. Click here to learn more from this award winning organization.

Last month, many of you read Never Give Up, Never written by Dr. Vijai Sharma who found his way through the devastating diagnosis of COPD to regaining control over his breathing and his life. The author of over 500 articles, Dr. Sharma has also written the groundbreaking, Anxiety and Panic Attacks in Emphysema & Other Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases. Read an exerpt here, or visit his website for the complete paper. There’s lot of information on his site, MindPub , so we’ll be helping you out by featuring special articles as we go. Thank you, Dr. Sharma, for joining BBLW as a contributing professional!

What is Pulmonary Rehab really like? Come along with our BBLW moderator, Eileen, and see for yourself by reading her blog.

Remember to visit our BBLW community page to find up-to-the minute information as well as a wealth of encouragement, inspiration and support especially for people with pulmonary disease from those who have walked that same road. You are not alone! Visit our community and meet folks who care. You’ll be welcomed, informed, and inspired!

We’re glad to say that we’ll be seeing more of our friend, Lori Palermo, on our community board! Lori will be stopping in and posting on the quit smoking forum and also sharing information from time to time about air quality, tobacco legislation and caregiver issues. Visit Lori’s site.

Well, that’s a lot to take in for the month of May. Bookmark our BBLW community page and remember to post your asthma questions to Dr. Adams starting on May 25!

Finally, many of you have said that you’d like to see more of the Tulip Time Festival. We had great weather this year and the tulips were especially beautiful. I wish you could all have been there, but for now this will have to do. Here’s a link to the official photo gallery.
Take Care, my friends. Breathe Well today, and I’ll see you next month.

“Life is the sum of all your choices.”
~~~ Albert Camus