I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) in 2005. IPF is a progressive, fatal lung disease in which the alveoli and the lung tissue are damaged, becoming thick and scarred (fibrosis), leading to severe breathing difficulties and compromising oxygen transfer between the lungs and the bloodstream. IPF is characterized by a shortness of breath that gradually worsens, with respiratory failure being the main cause of death associated with the disease. IPF has a poor prognosis and around two-thirds of the patients die within five years after being diagnosed.
I suppose I am one of the relatively lucky ones as I have been living with this for about 10 years now. But over the last 12 months things seemed to get worse with an increase in coughing, sputum production, and shortness of breath on exertion. My specialist respiratory physician offered no suggestions for treatment, but a second specialist encouraged me to go on to the recently approved drug Perfinex which halts the progression of the fibrosis.
I also chose to get some dietary advice from nutritionist Kaytee Boyd who recommended that I see Glenn White and look into the Buteyko breathing technique as a means of respiratory management for my condition. One of the biggest problems with this condition is that oxygen transfer to the bloodstream is compromised and my O2 saturation levels are 90-93% at rest (normal being 95-100%), but can fall to under 85% on exertion. With the reduced breathing technique I am learning to keep O2 saturation levels above 92%.
Since training and now practicing the Buteyko technique I have noticed a significant improvement in my sleeping (uninterrupted sleep with less snoring) and general wellbeing. These breathing techniques have enabled me to better manage and control my condition making life more enjoyable and easier. Its hard work but I believe that this will help me manage while Perfinex works from the other side.
Conventional advice did not include any guidance on the breathing techniques and yet the gentle nasal breathing and reduced breathing techniques have given me a new lease on life and I feel hope for my future. I am currently managing to control my symptoms without any bronchodilators or supplemental oxygen.
I enjoy my sessions with Glenn as he is attentive and compassionate and genuinely wants to help me improve my respiration. Perhaps his greatest asset is his willingness to listen and learn from my personal experience.
15 July 2015