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Respiratory Challenges – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More than 12 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, and the American Lung Association estimates more than 24 million adults have impaired lung function.
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By 2020, itâ€™s expected that the cost of medical care for adults with COPD will be more than 49 billion dollars. There’s not currently a cure for COPD but it can be treated and managed. With pulmonary rehabilitation and social support, many people are able to increase their quality of life.
My name is Talinda Thomas, and I’m here because of my Mom, Lovetta Thomas-Mulse. She’s the ripe, young age of 80, soon to be 81, and we have really enjoyed the Harmonicas for Health class with Humana.
I’m so glad she pulled me along the way, asit’s been beneficial. Prior to this class, I would say that I was a very negative, critical person, and primarily because I didn’t accept where she was at this stage in her life.
But to see her blossom, to see her having difficulties with breathing, able to play that harmonica, whether it was just a tune here or a tune there.
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But it has changed me for the better so that I can better help her. The Harmonicas for Health class is a class where we utilize the harmonica as an instrument or a tool to help us learn breathing techniques that are recommended by the COPD Foundation.
Some of the members have said that they’ve learned it exchanges the bad air for the good air. We strengthen the diaphragm muscles and when we breathe through our diaphragm, we have a lot more strength and endurance.
And so, it helps people with any kind of lung condition utilize the full range of their lungs. Harmonicas for Health? Brilliant.
That’s all I can say about it. It’s exactly pulmonary rehab and it’s teaching the members, the people with this unfortunate disease, how to breathe well. And, they don’t just breathe well when they’re playing the harmonica, they’re now breathing well because they’ve learned how to breathe.
It may keep those with mild emphysema from ever needing oxygen at home. It may allow those people who are already on oxygen at home to use less oxygen, increasing their ability to exercise and as you increase your ability to exercise, you can lose weight.
Learning how to exercise and how to breathe properly before their disease progresses and it should slow the progression. And, even if it progresses, we’ve tricked the disease into us knowing how to breathe better.
I have asthma and, you know, breathing is a fundamental part of life. You know, we call it respiration and if you think about that word, it’s to re-spirit ourselves and to keep ourselves filled with that kind of spirit and zest for life, I guess.
I think the best thing about Harmonicas for Health is the humor. We really laugh. Everybody tends to walk out of here smiling and laughing and really enjoying themselves.
There can be some social isolation at times with COPD, because the energy that’s required to get out and go somewhere will slow people down.
So, if they can boost their energy, boost their endurance, then they can get out and do other things and not just their harmonica. When you’re at home, if no one has been through what you’re challenged with, it’s difficult for them to understand and have empathy for.
It’s not that you’re looking for anyone’s empathy or sympathy, but you’re trying to help them understand what’s going on with your body and why you can’t do as you used to do or travel like you used to travel or go shop.
And so, coming here, she has the opportunity to meet other people and they learn from each other. What I read is that, in many articles is that, one key to longevity is to be part of a community where people know your name and if you donâ€™t show up, they’ll ask about you.
And people in those kind of communities tend to live better longer. And that’s something I’m really interested in. With Harmonicas for Health, our members who have emphysema can exercise, can lose weight,can feel better, get those endorphins and enkephalins up, feel healthier, and get back out into the community.
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