Stoptober is an initiative which aims to help people quit smoking. The dangers of smoking are well understood, but for those with chronic lung conditions the risks can be even greater – for example smokers are 5 times more likely to catch the flu, a major complication for aspergillosis patients.
We have had 2 talks at the National Aspergillosis Centre patient and carer support meeting that mentioned smoking and aspergillosis. At one meeting, Dr Khaled Al-shair (National Aspergillosis Centre Researcher) spoke of several guidelines to help patients suffering from Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis (CPA) feel their best while being treated at the NAC. Exercise and good diet played their part but one of the major improvements many patients can make to their lifestyle was to stop smoking cigarettes.
We have also had a talk from our local ‘Stop Smoking’ nurse – this talk focused what can be done locally using UHSM (University Hospital of South Manchester) services; so if you are a NAC patient or live withing striking distance of UHSM (Manchester, UK) you can take advantage of this help directly. There was also extensive information for anyone about the advantages of giving up cigarettes and different strategies to employ when trying to find a way to stop smoking.
On the 20th October Yvonne Gibson will be doing a skydive in an effort to raise funds and awareness for the Aspergillosis Trust and Brain Tumour Research. See the Aspergillosis Trust for updates and Good Luck Yvonne!
Current NHS/PHE guidelines say that all adults should consider taking vitamin D supplements between October and March, or all year round if they are at risk of deficiency (e.g. people who have darker skin, or spend most of their time indoors or covered up).
But a new study suggests it might be even more important for people living with aspergillosis. Ferreira et al 2019 found that mice with a vitamin D deficiency experienced more kidney toxicity when given amphotericin B (lipid formulation). Click here to read more here.
If you haven’t had your levels tested recently, it might be worth getting your doctor to check them.
When taking vitamin D supplements:
For best absorption, take it with a meal containing fat and calcium
Check the label for the dosage – it should be 10-25 mcg per day, or 400-1000 IU (don’t rely on % RDA/NRV)
There are two forms: D3 (cholecalciferol) is more effective than D2 (ergocalciferol)
We Are Undefeatable is a campaign which aims to help those with chronic health conditions exercise. Both the conditions and forms of exercise vary widely – the goal is to find out what works best for you!
Visit the website to discover how exercise has helped other people with chronic conditions, and what the campaign can do for you : We Are Undefeatable
For more information on exercises specific to aspergillosis and chronic lung conditions:
A recent study by Dr Xu Gao and colleagues has looked at the relationship between lung function and the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (which include aspirin) in 2,280 veterans. The researchers then compared this with air pollution data from the previous month in their hometown of greater Boston. Other factors, including whether or not the participant was a smoker were also taken into consideration.
The study found that NSAIDs nearly halved the effect of particulate matter (all solid and liquid particles suspended in air) on lung function. The mechanism by which this protection happens is unknown, but may be due to NSAIDS reducing inflammation in the lung caused by pollution. As most of the participants in the study were taking aspirin, this effect was deemed to be predominantly due to aspirin, but the effect of other NSAIDs would be useful to study.
These results show that aspirin may be useful in the short-term protection of lungs against air pollution. However, air pollution contributes to a number of other harmful bodily effects so it is still important to minimise overall exposure.