Breathing long-term

Life can bring many challenges and coping with a long-term illness can seem to affect every part of your life. Managing and self-management is the key to improving your well-being and coping with flare-ups and challenges.

Oxygen therapy is one major part to this and understanding the treatment and how it works will help you. Many people will feel some anxiety towards using medical oxygen long-term. We all need oxygen as this is our ‘fuel’ and if there is a lack of oxygen in the blood oxygen therapy is needed to keep the body functioning.

If there is a chronic lack of oxygen this can lead to fatigue, problems with memory and concentration or swelling of the legs amongst other complications.

Medical oxygen helps to keep your organs functioning sufficiently and maintain blood oxygen levels to what is needed for you to maintain a normal life.

Oxygen therapy is beneficial long-term, some may need it for 15 hours a day or whilst sleeping but you will feel the effects long-term to help you feel less tired, more movement even with exercising and better sleep.

ref: image by majamer

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Obstructive sleep apnea and supplemental oxygen

Supplemental oxygen eliminates the rise in morning blood pressure experienced by obstructive sleep apnea patients who stop using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the standard treatment for OSA, according to new research published online in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Many studies have demonstrated an association between OSA, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Some of these studies have linked the acute rises in blood pressure that OSA patients experience while sleeping to the constant need to wake up when their breathing stops or is partially blocked.

reference: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180720/Study-Supplemental-oxygen-prevents-rise-in-morning-blood-pressure-in-OSA-patients.aspx

Can oxygen therapy prevent dementia???

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the collective term for a group of lung conditions that cause long term breathing difficulties. It is a common condition affecting mainly middle-aged or older adults who smoke, with symptoms including breathlessness and a chesty ‘smokers’ cough. Individuals with COPD are at higher risk of dementia – one current theory suggests that this is due to lower brain oxygen levels as a result of problems with blood supply from blood vessels in the brain. In line with this theory, some studies have reported that giving COPD patients additional oxygen reduced their risk of developing dementia. However, until now, the mechanisms underlying this positive effect had not been fully investigated.

The research team found that blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain was significantly increased during reading. This was due to blood vessels in the brain becoming dilated in response to the greater oxygen demand when the brain was active. It can thus be concluded that when COPD patients receive additional oxygen it improves the function of blood vessels in their brain.

This study showed that providing extra oxygen improves the function of blood vessels in the brain by matching blood supply to the demands of the brain activity. However, COPD patients typically use this extra oxygen therapy throughout the day and for long periods of time, potentially years. This study does not indicate the influence of long term oxygen therapy on the function of blood vessels in the brain. Despite these potential limitations, this work has set the foundation for the researchers to investigate the biological systems that control oxygen delivery to the brain.

references: http://www.physoc.org/

Getting ‘high’ on air…

Even the healthiest person would find it difficult to breathe during the warm and very damp weather in the summer season. The patients ailing with a chronic lung disease such as COPD or pulmonary fibrosis have to be very careful. Surprisingly COPD is more common in women than men. Literally, 37% of women are more likely to have COPD than men.

Good nutrition means healthy eating. You need good nutrition to make your body stronger. You should eat a variety of foods every day. When you have COPD, preparing food and eating large meals may lead to shortness of breath. Here are some ways to help prevent shortness of breath.

Eat 6 small meals each day, instead of 3 large meals. 


Chewing and digesting food uses up oxygen. When you eat a small meal, you use up less oxygen than when you eat a large meal. In addition, a large meal fills your stomach. A full stomach presses on your diaphragm. The diaphragm is the main muscle we use to breathe. When your stomach presses on your diaphragm, it is harder for you to breathe.

Eat slowly, and breathe evenly

Avoid gas-forming foods like:

  • All beans (except green beans)
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers
  • Melons
  • Onions
  • Raw apples
  • Turnips

Your doctor will prescribe the type of oxygen device, the flow rate, and how and when to use it. When traveling OxygenWorldwide can supply in over 120 countries and take any stress out of the arranging of your oxygen supply.

 

ref: http://www.upmc.com

The sun could help to treat asthma

The summer has finally started to rear its head and for many people who suffer from respiratory disease the summer months can potentially worsen their condition. An increase in air pollution, pollen, dust and other allergens can irritate the lungs and worsen breathing. The general advice is to stay indoors at peak pollen or air pollution times. However on the flip-side of this advice is that exposure to the sun may actually be good for you, especially asthma sufferers.

autumn-sun
A study by King’s College London has found that the Vitamin D that the sun provides may have a calming impact with asthma sufferers as Vitamin D helps to lower an asthmatic’s over-active part of their immune system.
Many asthmatics have high levels of Interleukin-17, which causes part of their immune system to be over-active and contributes to their respiratory reactions to allergens and is part of the cause of some asthma attacks. Some asthmatic sufferers do not respond to steroid treatment and find difficulty in managing their symptoms. This group of asthmatics tends to have very high levels of Interleukin-17.

Researchers have found that if Vitamin D levels are increased then this lowers the levels of Interleukin-17 and helps to calm down the immune system leading to a lessening of symptoms.
“We know people with high levels of vitamin D are better able to control their asthma – that connection is quite striking,” said researcher Prof Catherine Hawrylowicz.

The sun is an easy natural source of Vitamin D (the body can make Vitamin D in the presence of sunshine) rather than taking synthetic supplements so the more you are out in the sun, the more Vitamin D your body will get and the happier your immune system.
Many asthma sufferers also have concerns about the side effects of their medications so if Vitamin D is shown to improve their condition then many may have to rely less on medication and can improve their quality of life.

Researchers have suggested that covering up too much and using too much sun cream has actually contributed to increased asthma rates. Obviously too much sun is bad for you and you should ensure that you protect your skin to avoid sunburn and potential skin cancers.
So there needs to be a balance of going outside and increasing your levels of Vitamin D versus avoiding high pollen counts and sunburn.

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the summer despite your condition:

•    Check the Air Quality Index: Avoid peak times or areas with poor air quality.
•    Always Take Your Medication:  Whether this is ant-histamines, inhalers, steroids or supplemental oxygen.

•    Check the Pollen Count: Try to avoid going out at times where pollen is particularly high.
•    Use Air Conditioning Instead of Opening Windows: Open windows will just allow more pollen and allergens into your home or the car.
•    Wash regularly: Washing your hair and clothes regularly gets rid of any allergens that may have settled on you.
•    Talk to your doctor for advice.

References:      http://www.healthoxygen.com and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health

Facial hair can be dangerous

Millions of people suffer with respiratory problems that require them to utilise home oxygen therapy. A portable device delivers oxygen-rich air via tubing to the nose to aid patients in increasing their oxygen intake.

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After a trend was noticed in patients suffering from facial burns, research and studies have been carried out which suggest that men who use home oxygen therapy are at a higher risk of serious facial burns. A major factor involved was the presence of facial hair such as moustaches.

NASA had already investigated the fact that human hair ignites more readily in the presence of higher oxygen concentrations but no-one had previously looked into this within the context of oxygen therapy. To test their theory they used mannequins with nasal tubing and exposed them to a spark. Those mannequins with a moustache ignited whereas those without facial hair did not.

“If you’ve ever tried to start a camp fire, you always start with some dry little twigs and once that starts – and that’s kind of the moustache – then that oxygen tubing lights on fire, it’s like a blow torch shooting up their nose,” said Dr. Andrew Greenlund of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Moustaches and other facial hair can act as kindling for nasal oxygen tubes when a spark joins the mix, even if the spark is just a tiny ember that flies at an oxygen tank user from a match, grill or fireworks.

Avoiding a potential spark in the first place is paramount such as to not smoke whilst using oxygen therapy and to stay away from grinding metal and open flames. Being clean-shaven however would prevent facial burns if there was an accidental spark exposure. If your culture and religion allow it then shaving facial hair would be the main preventative measure in eliminating the risk of facial burns. However if a man decides to keep it then using water-based products rather than oil or alcohol-based ones would help to reduce the risk. Also the poly-vinyl tubing is highly flammable and ideas are being researched into changing the material that the tubing is made from so that it doesn’t burn as easily.

The burns that can occur from a single spark can be very severe and the burns can also travel beyond the external facial skin and cause damage to the inner nose, mouth and airways, causing swelling and tissue death. The degree of the burn can vary but can be serious enough to result in the patient being put on a ventilator whilst the burns heal. They can result in scarring and worsening of their health. The experience of being burnt can be emotionally stressful too, described by one victim as ‘like looking hell in the face.’

The incidence of facial burns have gradually been increasing as more people utilise oxygen therapy and are especially high in the winter, as more men tend to grow beards and moustaches during colder weather. Also the incidence of home fires in general have risen in homes where oxygen therapy is being used and the facial burns can result in a spark from that mini fire on a patient’s face catching other things in the home on fire such as clothing and fabrics.

However as long at users are aware, reduce all risk factors and are careful then there is nothing to worry about.

 

References: http://www.reuters.com and http://www.sciencedaily.com