We have heard the benefits of going on vacation as a form of relaxation and a way to recharge the batteries and also how vital it is for our health. But to be honest I didn’t realize 10 years ago how beneficial going to the beach was especially for someone with CF. I would tell Maria I feel differently when I am at the beach. I claimed I could breathe better and my lungs felt less tight. I kind of just assumed it was because of being less stressed and I was getting more relaxation time in. But I started to think more about this and I thought the benefits I was receiving were from the salty air. It turns out I think I was on to something and I wasn’t making up the way I felt by being by the beach. I told my doctor how I felt when I was at the beach and he told me that researchers were looking into the benefits of breathing in salty air. This story takes place about 10 years ago before hypertonic saline was invented for CF. I guess I could have been a researcher!
The research into the benefits of breathing in salty air started from surfers in
who told their CF doctors that they felt better after surfing. That their lungs and chest felt so much clearer once they surfed. In 2006, there was an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine detailing the research and the findings from breathing in what is now called hypertonic saline. The conclusion was inhaling hypertonic saline produced acceleration of mucus clearance and improved lung function. The researchers also found that this treatment may protect the lungs from other bacteria and infection and prolong lung function. They also discovered that hypertonic saline solution was also helpful in limiting the number of lung exacerbations. Australia
As I stated I guess I was not dreaming of how I felt when I was at the beach. In fact, there are some other cysters and fibros who feel the same way I do. Check out this forum site to see what others are saying about living by the ocean. Maybe we all should move to the coast??? Maria and I really thought about moving to North Carolina to live by the beach. It may happen one day :)
So anyway, I really really LOVE HYPERTONIC SALINE! I guess that would be an understatement though because I truly feel a lot different since I have started this lovely salty solution. But before I get into more details about how I feel I would like to give a little explanation of how this salty solution works for those of you who are not currently using it. I hope you consider using HTS if you have never tried this before.
First off I am not a doctor or a trained sales representative for HTS so here is my own explanation. As we know in CF, the lung tissue in our body has abnormal transport of the chloride and sodium which leads us to have thick sticky mucus. Basically our lungs are not hydrated enough at all due to this abnormal transport. So when we breathe in aerosolized hypertonic saline, the saline which we breathe in has a much higher concentration of salt than normal body fluids. The saline draws water from the cells into the airways making the lungs hydrated. This extra hydration mixes with our mucus and makes it thinner and easier to cough out. As my wife says it’s like brining a chicken or turkey! No wonder why I love salty foods!
I started using HTS about 8 months ago as my doctor suggested giving it a try after he was persuaded by one of the founders of this magical stuff. I can honestly say I wish started using HTS a long time ago because I feel a lot different. My lungs are so much clearer and I no longer have chest tightness at all. As far as HTS improving my lung function, it has slightly. I am talking a few percentage points in the FEV1 range which is good but the biggest thing is that I have not really dropped my FEV1 score since I started it. Also, I have not been on any inhaled antibiotics for over a year now and I can point to HTS being a big player in that solid streak. Since I do not live by the ocean HTS is the second best thing to the inhaling of true salty air. Maybe we could convince doctor’s and insurance companies that we need quarterly trips to the beach!! But until that day does happen I will be using HTS everyday. So for those of you who are not currently using HTS maybe you should talk about adding it to your airway clearance regimen when you go to the CF clinic.