Breathing issues aired during lunch program

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Some common forms of breathing difficulties were discussed witha small crowd of interested residents during the King’s DaughtersFoundation Lunch and Learn program Thursday in the hospital’sCrowley Room.

“We have a potpourri of speakers here today to tell you aboutbreathing problems and the services we have available here,” saidJoAnna Sproles, a foundation spokeswoman.

Nurses Lori Bridges and Jessica Burgess, with the occupationaltherapy and pulmonary rehabilitation divisions of the hospital,opened the discussion on breathing issues with an explanation oftheir departments and how the services provided there could assistthose with problems.

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The pulmonary rehabilitation program has been open about eightweeks, Burgess said, and requires a doctor’s referral.

Pulmonary rehabilitation works by strengthening the upper bodyusing exercise and light weights, she said. Stronger chest musclescan often help people with lung disease and other problems breathmore naturally, Burgess said.

Bridges said many people learn lifeskills in occupationaltherapy by practicing what would seem to be common sense approachesto a variety of tasks.

“I lot of this would seem to be common sense, but it’s really amatter of thinking ahead,” she said. “People with lung disease gettired faster and breath harder. It’s harder for them to recoverfrom fatigue.”

She cited a patient who hosted family events as an example.

The patient complained that after one of the events, she wouldbe in bed for two days recovering from all the cooking and standingover the stove. Bridges said by cutting and dicing vegetables theday before, getting help in the kitchen preparing the meals andusing the microwave more the woman was able to continue her dailyroutine the day after an event.

Dr. Kent Kaiser, a family practitioner and biochemist whostarted at the KDMC Quick Care Clinic about six weeks ago, led thediscussion on allergies and asthma.

“I think they asked me over here because I have allergies andasthma,” he said.

Kaiser said he had never had pulmonary problems until hedeveloped the symptoms about two years ago.

Asthma, he said, is developed when the sinus cavity becomesinflamed and is most often best treated by inhaled steroids.However, it often leads to a mucous buildup in the lungs that cancontribute to the onset of bronchitis and other illnesses.

Cold snaps and rapid changes of temperature can often triggersinus attacks, he said.

Most sinus problems develop when fluid accumulates in the cavityinstead of draining, which often leads to an infection, hesaid.

Kaiser recommended against taking antihistamines to preventsinus leakage associated with some illnesses.

“You don’t want it to dry up and stay in there to set likeconcrete,” he said, “because you have to almost chisel it out.”

Some asthma and allergy sufferers take daily doses of steroidsto help them overcome their symptoms, but it is not a practice herecommends.

“I generally don’t like people to use them on a daily basis,”Kaiser said. “Some steroids taken daily can thin the sinuswall.”

Instead, he said, people should take when they feel the steroidsare needed to prevent an attack. He described a few techniquespeople could use on a regular basis to clean out their sinuses.

Kaiser said he is also seeing a lot more people with the onsetof asthma in recent years.

“It seems to be affecting more and more people,” he said. “Ithink we have a lot more atmospheric pollutants and changes in theenvironment that is contributing to that.”

June Holland, a participant from Brookhaven, said the programwas “very informative” and she intended to employ at least one ofthe sinus-cleaning techniques Kaiser had described.

Jane Jones, emergency center manager, also provided participantswith a brief update on the hospital’s expansion and renovation.

The next Lunch and Learn program will be held in July. Thetopioc of discussion will be pain management and the hospital’s newsleep studies program.