Calcium supplements, COPD

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Health and wellness experts practice exclusively at Erickson Living communities all over the U.S. This month our expert is Brian Tremaine, M.D. ' Medical Director, Eagle s Trace ' Houston, Tex. Dr. Tremaine received his bachelor s degree from the University of California in Santa Barbara, Calif., and his medical degree from the University of California in San Diego. He completed both his residency and geriatric fellowships at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Tremaine is board certified in internal medicine and geriatrics. He joined Eagle s Trace in November 2011. Please note: The following questions were submitted by readers. The answers are intended for general information purposes and should not replace your doctor's medical advice.

Q. I take calcium supplements for osteoporosis, but I ve heard that taking a lot of calcium can damage the arteries in my heart. Is this true? A. In the past several years, there have been some reports of high calcium intake being associated with heart attacks. The Institute of Medicine reviewed the available data, however, and concluded that current research evidence does not support this association. In addition, a recent study by a Harvard Medical School affiliate found that adults who take calcium supplements had no more coronary artery damage than adults who don t take calcium. As long as you stay within your doctor s recommended guidelines, taking calcium should be safe for the health of your heart. Q. I have COPD and my doctor recommended pulmonary rehabilitation. How will this help me? A. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an ongoing and progressive disease in which your air passages become damaged, which makes it harder to breathe. While there is no cure, there are treatments that can help you control this disease and still enjoy a good quality of life. Along with medications, supplemental oxygen, or surgery, some people with COPD can benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation to help them feel better and stay more active. This type of rehab entails a program of exercise training, nutrition counseling, and education about how to manage your disease. Doctors, nurses, dietitians, respiratory therapists, and exercise specialists may all work with you, and your treatment goals are individualized to help you get the most benefit. Send questions or comments by email to

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