Once you hit 40, your body starts to really take a beating. let’s face it you are not a spring chicken anymore. The recovery from injury or sickness is greater. A pulled hamstring that was once a week recovery takes about a month. And that snap, crackle, pop sound is your body and not rice krispies. This leads me to a disease that really begins to hit hard once you are about 40 and can be really debilitating as you get into your 60s. It is called COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is not a single disease but a combination of diseases all rolled up into one. If you suffer from this, there is a good chance you might be using Spiriva (#Spiriva) to manage it.
COPD is short for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most common conditions that make up COPD. This disease is an umbrella of mainly 4 progressive lung diseases. The first two were mentioned above and the last two are refractory asthma, and bronchiectasis. Consequently, the main characteristic is increased breathlessness or shortness of breath and the damage can’t be reversed. First, let’s begin with Emphysema which is a lung disease caused by damage to the alveoli. The alveoli are the tiny air sacs in the lung where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place. Damage to the alveoli is done when breathing but the air is trapped, causing them to expand and rupture. As a result of this, you will see a decreased level of oxygen in the blood (hypoxemia) combined with an increased level of carbon dioxide in the blood (hypercapnia).
Next up is chronic bronchitis which is a direct result of inflammation of the mucous membrane in the bronchial tubes. It typically causes bronchospasms and coughing. Followed by refractory asthma which needs a little bit of an explanation. We all know that asthma is a respiratory condition marked by spasms in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing. It usually results from an allergic reaction or other forms of hypersensitivity. The term refractory means that the symptoms are persistent, have frequent asthma attacks or low lung function. The symptoms still occur even if you are taking asthma medications. Finally we have bronchiectasis in which the lungs’ airways become damaged, making it hard to clear mucus.
What Is Spiriva?
Spiriva is also known by its active ingredient Tiotropium Bromide. It is a long-term, once-daily, prescription maintenance treatment of asthma for people 6 years and older. This prescription medication is not a treatment for sudden asthma symptoms. Spiriva is a bronchodilator that relaxes muscles in the airways and increases air flow to the lungs. The most effective use is to prevent bronchospasm (narrowing of the airways in the lungs) in adults with COPD including bronchitis and emphysema. Rescue inhalers and inhaled or oral steroids can help control symptoms and minimize further damage.
Tiotropium inhalation powder (aka. Spiriva HandiHaler) is packaged in capsules that come with a special inhaler device. Each time you use the medicine, load a capsule into the device and click the mouthpiece closed. Next, you push the button on the side of the device to pierce the capsule and release the medicine into the inhalation chamber. As a result, you will need 2 inhalations to get the full dose from 1 capsule. Opposite of what they seem to be, the capsules are not to be consumed through your mouth like normal capsules. Spiriva capsules are for use only in the HandiHaler device.
Spiriva Respimat is an inhalation device that delivers Spiriva in a mist form. It is considered more of a spray and there are no capsules to load. It comes in a prefilled inhaler device. See the video below for proper usage.