Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Breathe Better by Taking Vitamin D Study Suggests

Asthma and COPD sufferers seem to be able to stop or to slow the decline of the "human airway muscle" that restricts breathing - simply by taking Vitamin D according to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania.

That's great news (thank you We Are Breathless for telling us). For once a low-cost, easy-to-follow option.

Calcitriol, a form of vitamin D synthesized within the body, that can also be administered, can "prevent or forestall the irreversible decline in breathing that leaves many asthmatics even more vulnerable when they suffer an asthma attack."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Breathe Healthy Air in the One Place You Can Control

At least 186 million Americans’ health are in danger from polluted air according to a report issued last month by the American Lung Association.

In fact, “ 60 Percent of Americans Live In Areas Where Air is Dirty Enough to Endanger Lives.”

This is especially bad news for those with respiratory conditions like asthma, emphysema and bronchitis. Some research shows that this level of air pollution also increases risk of heart attacks and strokes.

So it behooves us to ensure that we get clean air in the on place we can control – inside our homes. If you have young children, work at home or are older (lungs have reduced capacity with age) or have respiratory or allergy problems take action.

With the affordable, newer whole home air cleaning systems, you can avoid time-consuming and messy maintenance (just 1 – 2 filter changes a year for a total of no more than 10 minutes). More importantly, unlike room-only air cleaners (who lives in a closed room after all?) and the older air cleaning units, you can now get a continuously high-performing system bolted right onto your hvac system. I recommend a new, non-metallic (no rust, etc.) technology that cam out about 4 years ago called AspenAir Inside.

The key is to remove the tiny, airborne particles that go deep into the lungs, the so-called RSPs.

BTW, “Visalia and Fresno, two mid-size towns in central California ranked high for short-term and year-round particle pollution. Birmingham, Ala., and Cincinnati were listed in the top 10 of metro areas with unhealthy levels of year-round particle pollution. In the Southwest, the Houston, Dallas and Phoenix metro areas had high ozone levels.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Homeowners: 3 Green Ways to Save Energy & Money

Here’s three money-saving resources for homeowners, offered by Glen Croston of Basil and Spice, via Green Key Real Estate – one of the reputable firms he, too, liked:

1. Here’s an ingenious way to heat your shower water. After hot water hits your body and goes down the drain it can be diverted by Econdrain’s device to heat the cold water headed for the shower head.

2. Waste less power at home by getting an audit of places where energy is lost. Think their insulation, windows, appliances, air ducts, lighting, etc. Sustainable Spaces conducts an audit then shows you the costs to retrofit your home and the savings that will result. By creating a set of best practices, this firm is able to develop considerable accuracy so you can make smart, green changes that save you money.

3. Install sensors connected to light switches, making the lights turn off automatically when these custom-set heat and motion sensors determine no one is in the room. Wattstopper makes them for homes and workplaces.

Passive Solar Beats Energy Star Home Design

John Kosmer “built a new traditional style 4,000 square foot, passive solar home for $125.00/sq. ft. It “heats for just $2.50 a day or $900-1,200 a year - even “in the cold upstate New York region.”

Get this! “This home cost about the same as a comparably sized new ENERGY STAR qualified home … but it uses less than 70% of the energy. “

John wrote, “When I owned my previous home, I was unaware that trying to save energy in an existing home was just playing in the margins of energy conservation. It became clear to me that existing 20th century homes are obsolete energy sieves that will take Herculean measures to bring up to speed in the 21st century. This passive solar home can become the model for 21 century home building and rekindle a housing boom in our collapsed building market into the foreseeable future.” (Thanks Eco Women for this tip.)

Flame Retardent Chemicals in Our Blood

For 30 years fire retardent chemicals have been embedded furniture, cars, electronics, childrens’products (car seats!) and more. The chemicals are building up in our blood. Maine banned the chemicals. EPA is studying the effect. Avoid the products with these chemical in them. (Thank you for many great tips, including this one, Green and Clean Mom, Somer.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Age in Place - Living Well in the Home You Love

For the majority of 76 million baby boomers and the 90 percent of seniors who prefer to age in their own homes, there’s help. Certified “aging in place” specialists and Senior Resource have checklists of changes to consider making at home. This approach has much in common with "universal home design" - “design that is universal, that accommodates needs of people of all ages.” For example, Peggy Arbaugh suggests “paddle or lever handles instead of door or faucet knobs. They can be easier for small children or parents with an armful of groceries, as well as those who might be slowed by arthritis.”

"People want to live in houses, not institutions," says William Owens, president of Owens Construction in Columbus, Ohio.

Before they need it, those who live in a two-story home move the master bedroom from the second floor to the first. Others choose elegant yet easy-to-use products, “such as better lighting, bigger light controls, easy-grip handles and cabinet hardware, adjustable shower heads, seats and bars and bathtubs with textured bottoms. Other home changes to consider are services you may need and “low-step showers, wide doorways, first-floor bathrooms, hard flooring, low-pile carpeting, electric stair lifts and even in-home elevators.”

Other possible changes: remove scatter rugs, install an ADA-height toilet or toilet seat and more. As we get older we want more security and less maintenance. New technology helps.

There’s money in serving us boomers. The National Association of Home Builders estimates that aging in place will “capture at least 10 percent of the $214 billion home improvement industry.” Next steps for aging in place trend: healthcare.

Says Laura Gitlin, director of the Center for Applied Research on Aging and Health at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. “ “What helps people age in place is not covered by insurers at this point. Many seniors have chronic health conditions, such as dementia, diabetes or urinary incontinence, and must take multiple medications. But their medical care is often disjointed. Their primary care doctor doesn’t have the time to coordinate that care, and nurses, home aides, geriatric care managers and technological devices are rarely covered by insurance.” And, since our lung capacity diminishes as we age, removing allergy-causing airborne pollutants from the home also helps us live healthier longer at home. Some books to read are Universal Design for the Home, Making Your Home Senior-Friendly, The Senior Solution, Aging in Place and Retirement Living by Design.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Allergic to Your Pet? Unwilling to Say Goodbye?

Even with your asthma or allergy, you won’t give up your beloved pet. Few will. Some make their dogs unexpected stars on YouTube (“Doberman attacking Chihuahua”). Or create montages of their cat’s odd antics or sleepiness. One substitutes a ball machine for a nanny to keep their beloved pet entertained and, well, fit. Another besotted owner actually trains his Jack Russell to entertain, perhaps for a new sport category in an imaginary pet Olympics.

Yet if your pet makes you sneeze, tear up or worse you can take steps to dander-proof your home. That helps. Yet even in the cleanest home, action happens. Dirty particles get raised into the air. So it helps to make the air throughout your home cleaner than fresh air. Get a continuously high-performing unit that bolts right onto your home (HVAC) heating system. It is made by AspenAir Inside. It uses less than 2 watts to remove 99% of what’s called Respirable Suspended Particles in air.

BTW, here’s good news for those who don’t own a pet, are allergic to cats yet yearn for one. An ostensibly hypoallergenic cat is waiting for you – for just $35,000