When win­ter takes your breath away

Central Leader - - HEALTH& WELL-BEING -

You know it’s cold when you find yourself huff­ing and puff­ing in dry, icy air.

In or­der for your lungs to ab­sorb and use oxy­gen, air needs to be as warm as your core body tem­per­a­ture of 37ºC and 100 per cent hu­mid­i­fied.

Your body will do what it can to en­sure this hap­pens, for in­stance, your nose gets red to help warm air up. The cells lin­ing your tra­chea give up their wa­ter sup­ply to hu­mid­ify the air about to go into your lungs.

This is not a prob­lem if you are only out in the cold for a short time, how­ever, if you are work­ing hard or ex­er­cis­ing, you breathe a lot harder for longer, and those tra­chea cells be­come de­hy­drated, then ir­ri­tated, and feel like they’re burn­ing.

The an­swer is to drink plenty of flu­ids, breathe through the nose, not the mouth, and fo­cus on deep breath­ing rather than short quick pant­ing, which ir­ri­tates the tra­chea faster. A scarf over the nose, mouth and around the neck can help trap mois­ture to hu­mid­ify it, and heat up in­com­ing air.

It’s a lit­tle more com­pli­cated for those with re­s­pi­ra­tory prob­lems, when a bron­chospasm – a clamp­ing down of the air­ways – is caused by fac­tors in­clud­ing re­s­pi­ra­tory viruses, al­ler­gens, ir­ri­tants such as smoke and sprays, de­hy­dra­tion, stress or panic at­tacks – and cold. It is of­ten when some lung dis­eases are de­tected for the first time.

Ef­fi­cient gas ex­change is not only im­por­tant for people with breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties from lung dis­or­ders, those re­cov­er­ing from lung/ chest in­fec­tions, and people with weak or limited lung func­tion, but also to those need­ing aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity such as ath­letes, or mus­cle en­ergy pro­duc­tion in low-oxy­gen con­di­tions.

Visit Health 2000 to find out about mag­ne­sium as­par­tate’s role in sup­port­ing lung re­lax­ation and ef­fi­cient gas ex­change. Its de­ple­tion is thought to lead to re­s­pi­ra­tory fa­tigue.

Breathe easy:

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