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Tips on the use and care of your non-invasive ventilation interface

Clinician-Fitting-Respironics-Full-Face-Mask-TWTo avoid complications and ensure that your non-invasive ventilation is working efficiently, be sure to take the following steps.

• Clean the interface (mask, nasal pillows or mouthpiece/straw) daily with dish soap and warm water, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. If your interface is not cleaned regularly, you may be exposed to bacteria or viruses and potential infection, and you will shorten the life of the mask.

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Respiratory care for people with neuromuscular disorders

Respironics Full Life Full Face MaskAlthough neuromuscular disorders do not affect the lungs themselves, they can affect the muscles involved in breathing and coughing. As respiratory muscles weaken, it can become difficult to maintain adequate minute ventilation (the amount of air that must move in and out of your lungs in order to inhale enough oxygen and exhale enough carbon dioxide). This, in turn, can result in recurrent chest infections, chronic headaches, ever-present fatigue and increased muscle weakness.

While not everyone with a neuromuscular disorder is at risk of developing breath problems— Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, for instance, mainly affects the lower extremities—someone experiencing breathlessness (a key symptom of breathing impairment) should speak to his or her health-care team to determine the best course of action.

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Strategies to Care for Your Breathing Muscles

There are three main reasons why caring for your breathing – respiratory – muscles is vitally important:

  1. They are needed to facilitate an effective cough
  2. Proper ventilation
  3. Reducing the risk of infection

Below we’ve pin pointed the respiratory therapies discussed in the ‘Strategies to Care for Your Breathing Muscles’ seminar that can be viewed below. Remember that coughing and removing secretions is of the utmost importance, and for more information please watch the playlist, read the Respiratory Care Guide, and speak with your doctor and/or Regional Services person. All of the therapies mentioned can also be found in the Respiratory Care Guide.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTSQ17lauPU&w=560&h=315]

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Laughter is the Best Medicine

laughter yogaWhen we think of our best moments there are often many smiles and lots of laughter involved; Whether it is a day with your loved ones at the amusement park, getting a new puppy, or watching endless funny videos on YouTube. A single laugh transforms a bad day into a good day, yet it’s not something we think we need to practice or instil in our daily lives – especially considering everything else that needs to get done in 24 hours. Add that onto having a chronic health condition and your day is packed with so many routines and exercises that adding one more seems like a chore. We all know the effect daily stressors have on our bodies- poor quality sleep and tiredness are all things that affect our daily health.

We know that good lung volume recruitment and equipment like the Cough Assist are important in the maintenance of good respiratory health for neuromuscular disorders. But have you ever thought of the amount of exercise your lungs get when your friends stir you into a laughing fit? Now you can with laughter yoga!

Laughter yoga sessions are led by a laughter leader, who directs the laughter session, explains and gives guidelines to complete different laughter exercises. These exercises are interspersed with deep breathing exercises to help flush the lungs, and also bring physical and mental relaxation along with child like play. Most laughter and yoga breathing exercises are intended to stimulate the movement of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles that help activate the parasympathetic system. The stress arousal sympathetic system can be turned off simply by learning to move the diaphragm. There are the nasal Hehehe’s, the throaty Hahaha’s or the deep belly laugh of the famous man in red, HOHOHO. All of these laughs force our lungs to recruit enough air to both oxygenate our bodies and produce an audible laugh. The purpose of Laughter Yoga techniques is to develop a good, relaxing breathing method. It may be practiced anytime, especially during stressful situations to provide a sense of wellness.  When we laugh we breathe, and when we breathe we feel more alert, focused and energized.

So next time you think of your respiratory health and are going though your daily routines of exercises and breathing techniques, think about the possibility of adding another technique- Laughter Yoga! Not only will you be working your chest wall to increase lung and tidal volume, but you also have other health benefits like decreased stress and more smiles to turn a good day, into a great day.

For more information on laughter yoga please click here.

 

 

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Launch of the Second Annual Respiratory Grant

grantAs part of our commitment to improving the health outcomes for people living with neuromuscular disorders, Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s continues to focus attention on the topic of respiratory health.

Over the past year, we have hosted and presented at in-person education sessions, distributed thousands of copies of our resource guide to inform patients and care providers, and invested $150,000 into research projects.

This month, we announced to the research community a second Request For Proposals for research aimed at improving respiratory care, services, and knowledge translation.  Read more

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