Best Articles of 2015

Health Professional

Looking to improve your repiratory health in the new year? As one of HealthCentral's health guides,  I was asked to write an article with a list of my best articles going forward into 2016, with an explanation of why I chose each one and why it’s important to respiratory health readers.

Here are my picks for the best respiratory health articles from 2015:

1.  The Natural Progression of COPD. This is probably the most important article I’ve ever written, and I refer to it every time I’m encouraging my patients to quit smoking. I discuss the Fletcher-Peto Curve.  It’s a telling visual for anyone with COPD because it shows that smoking speeds up the progression of the disease, and that quitting smoking at any age slows the progression of the disease, thus prolonging life.

2.  Smart Inhaler the Future of Asthma Control. This article is neat because it shows how far technology has come to helping people live better lives. Smart inhalers have special sensors that track when you use your inhaler and the quality of the air around you. Doctors can track this data on their computers and send you messages on your smartphone with tips to help you breathe better. The system can even send reminders to use your inhaler.  This is a very impressive system.

3.  What Are Asthma Subtypes And Groups? Researchers learning so much about our disease (which is actually now called a syndrome) it’s simply amazing. Now they understand that asthma is a heterogenous disease, which means that all asthmatics are different, and should be treated different. By breaking asthma into different subtypes, researchers should be able to create guidelines specifically tailored to you to help you breathe easier.  This is compared with the old system where one set of guidelines were created that treated all asthmatics the same.

4.  What is Severe Asthma? This is just one subtype, but an important one. Researchers observed that about 10 percent of asthmatics do not respond to conventional asthma medicines. Now they understand that this is because these asthmatics develop certain airway changes similar to patients with COPD. Now that this subtype is recognized, researchers are working overtime to learn more about it and to find treatment options to help these patients breathe easier and live better lives.

5.  Do You Need Oxygen Therapy? and Understanding Oxygen and Oxygen Levels With COPD. Did you know that oxygen is the only drug proven to prolong life? It’s true. If your body is not getting the oxygen it needs, it causes your heart to work harder to pump blood through your body, and you become increasingly winded.  Inhaling a small amount of oxygen is sometimes all that’s needed to ease the work your heart has to do, thus making your breathing easier and prolonging your life.

6.  Should You Join An Asthma Study? Researchers are working overtime to learn more about asthma so they can come up with solutions to help us live better with it.  In order to make this work they need to study those of us who have it.  If you have time, it’s important for you to volunteer some of your time (and maybe some of your sputum) for the good of the cause. Future asthmatics are counting on you.

7.  Links Between Asthma and Genetics. I love writing articles explaining what researchers are learning about our disease, even if that means sifting through complex “law-like” material and spending hours and hours doing research.  Of course then I have to simplify it so it’s easy to read and understand. I do this because I’m passionate about understand my disease, and I love to share what I learn.  It’s fun, and as long as I can still breathe I’m going to continue writing posts like this.