Oxygen could also help treat diabetes

It’s not often heard that diabetic sufferers use oxygen therapy, however it is becoming increasingly more recognised as a form of treatment.

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Diabetics are more prone to many other medical diseases and ailments as a result of their condition. They have circulatory problems leading to sores, ulcers and amputation. They also suffer from many organ-related problems, obesity, nerve dysfunction, sleep apnea, eye degeneration and loss of eyesight among many others.
Diabetics usually have circulatory problems where the blood flow to bodily tissues is diminished and their arteries tend to thicken due to not being able to digest fats such as cholesterol very well because of their high blood glucose levels.  This is compounded by the fact that less blood is able to reach the tissue and therefore unable to deliver oxygen to them. Cells become oxygen depleted and can die off leading to gangrene and being unable to fight off infections.
Diabetics have to either inject insulin or radically alter their diet and lifestyle but many find this difficult to do or maintain and the disease can speed up in its progression. This can lead to other medical issues and the need for treatments and medications, exercise and close monitoring by your GP. The additional use of oxygen therapy can help a great deal to prevent serious complications from Diabetes.
Using oxygen therapy will help over time, since additional oxygen will be distributed throughout the blood vessels of the body, and reach your tissues and extremities, where people with diabetes often have the most problems.  If the oxygen levels can be kept high enough in the body then the risk is lowered that extremities will suffer tissue damage and organs become damaged and reduce the possibilities of further medical issues and complications. It has been shown to reduce fluid build-up in the eye and to prevent and treat eye sight problems such as glaucoma, which is largely attributed to diabetes. Many suffer from sleep apnea, partly to do with the tendency to put on weight when you are a diabetic. Oxygen therapy helps to relieve your symptoms at night and make you feel more energised and healthier during the day. There are links between oxygen therapy and a reduction in heart tissue damage from strokes and improved wound healing, such as with ulcers and a general improvement in circulation and a reduction in circulatory medical conditions.
The realisation that diabetics require additional oxygen in their bodies to counteract the poor circulation and the inability for oxygen to pass through thickened vessel walls. And that this in itself can help to prevent and treat many medical conditions associated with Diabetes has led to patients being prescribed oxygen therapy and studies have shown that supplemental oxygen does work and GP’s are starting to prescribe it more regularly, especially as the benefits of other oxygen therapy users such as COPD sufferers are so apparent.

References: http://www.oxygenconcentratorstore.com and http://www.oxygenhealingtherapies.com

Could Oxygen be used to burst cancer’s bubble?

The link between oxygen and tumour cells has been established, not only in that low oxygen levels can result in cancerous cells but that also by increasing oxygen these tumour cells can be destroyed. Finding a way to do this has been difficult as blood vessels supplies to tumour sites become reduced and so getting oxygen to the site is proving difficult.

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Not only are tumour cells able to survive in low oxygen environments but these oxygen-starved cells are more difficult to kill with radiation treatment than normal healthy tissue. Scientists wanted to develop a way in which oxygen could be infused into the tumour, not only to create a more oxygen rich environment to help slow down growth but also so that they can be nuked by treatment more effectively.

One such idea has been to inject tiny oxygen-filled bubbles into a patient’s bloodstream. Microbubbles are miniature gas bubbles, containing oxygen or air, which can be suspended in a liquid such as blood. Due to their size, they can pass through even the smallest of blood vessels, and are commonly used together with medical ultrasound imaging. Microbubbles reflect ultrasound better than blood or soft tissues, which allow them to be used for highlighting blood in ultrasound images.

These microbubbles would travel to the tumour site via the bloodstream, and as the tumour’s blood vessel walls are leakier due to the effects of the tumour, they would gain access to the tumour more easily. These bubbles would then be burst to release oxygen within the tumour.
The ultrasound community already use a similar idea of using gas-filled microbubbles to improve the contrast of images. High-intensity localised ultrasound could be used to view and then rupture these bubbles at the specific site that you want.
In a recent experiment with mice it was shown that the ones treated with oxygen-containing microbubbles released their oxygen and resulted in a detectable oxygen level increase of 30 mmHg at the tumour site. Even a 10-15 mmHg increase would make the tumours twice as sensitive to radiation. Testing is now going ahead to prove whether the radiation does indeed become more effective in killing the tumour cells.
If this idea becomes a reality then cancer sufferers will require less chemotherapy and radiation therapy and experience less side effects as well as having an increased chance of destroying the tumour.
In the meantime we only have conventional methods of increasing oxygen at our disposal, such as oxygen therapy which can increase oxygen levels within the bloodstream, although only a small amount can pass through into the tumour site. Prevention is also being looked into, as low-oxygen levels are a main cause of cancerous cells there are thoughts about putting high risk patients onto low level oxygen therapy regimes as a preventative measure to try to reduce the risk of tumour sites developing.

References:  http://www.the-scientist.com and http://thefutureofthings.com

THE IMPORTANCE OF HOME VISITS FOR OXYGEN USERS

Home visits are a bit like Marmite; you either love them or hate them. Patients who are on oxygen require monitoring to see if their oxygen requirement alters over time and this can be done either via home visits or by going to see your GP or consultant at the hospital. Patients have differing opinions over which they feel is more suitable; some feel uncomfortable at the thought of medical personnel invading their personal space at home and prefer the professional and clinical setting of a hospital and some feel that there is little medical benefit to them being seen at home. Whereas others prefer to have to not travel back and forth in their condition and feel more at ease talking to someone in the comfort of their own home. They also feel more able to discuss the smaller things and ask questions during their own home visits rather than at an apparent rushed GP or hospital appointment.

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Studies have been carried out to get feedback from patients as to problems they encounter and also to see if there are medical benefits of one method over another.

One such study asked patients about their experiences of using oxygen at home. There was feedback regarding trailing tubing, allergic reactions/irritations to tubing, preferred use of nasal cannulae over masks, continuity problems with supply, portable equipment not being of a portable size, preference of concentrators over cylinders, reduction in infections and less reliance on other medications. There were many that said that they struggled with getting to grips with oxygen use for varying reasons and life was difficult for them until their home visit resolved these for them. The home visit provided them with an opportunity to ask questions and show their home visitor what their issues were. In most cases their questions could be answered, tips/advice given, shown practically how to use their equipment more effectively, educate them on oxygen use and feedback to the hospital or oxygen supply company to resolve issues and monitor the situation to ensure that things were done. Many did not realise that they had options and could contact their supplier or use a private supplier if they wished in order to obtain better equipment that would suit their medical condition or way of life better. There are many studies that show that home visits aid in reducing mortality and readmission into hospital.

A study has been carried out by an NHS trust to ascertain whether home visits were useful and it was realised that home visits allowed for problems to be identified and interventions made to improve the way oxygen is used at home generally, and not just on a case-by-case basis. The most common interventions related to the need of more education, smoking cessation, concentrator maintenance, use of a humidifier and adjustments to tubing. It was found that they were especially important for those who lacked progress of their condition, which in many cases was due to a lack of education of how to use it properly or difficulties in using it, which resulted in reduced use. These issues can be quickly dealt with by home visits and monitoring of patient progress is also easier. It is also a mode for early detection of potential health problems or prevention against flare-ups or emergency situations, which may have been caused by a lack of understanding of their condition or their equipment.

It appears from the studies that home visits are very beneficial to the hospital service and to the patient. It is also more cost-effective to provide this service than to run it from the hospital and not incur the costs of more hospital admissions. Patient progress is monitored, patient’s concerns and problems are discovered and resolved which results in a better prognosis for the patient and a reduction of cost for the hospital. Some patients will still need to see their GP or consultant depending on their condition and regular contact should still be maintained but if these can be reduced to a minimum because of home visits then it is extremely beneficial for the patient’s general well-being.

References: http://www.gov.scot and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

THE IMPORTANCE OF NOT OVER PRESCRIBING YOURSELF OXYGEN

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patients have been found to have altered their oxygen flow rate at home with the belief that more is good. This is not the case, too much oxygen is just as bad for you as not enough. Your GP will prescribe the amount that you medically need for your body to work optimally and you should not alter it yourself. If you have problems then talk to your GP, altering your oxygen flow rate because you have a temporary case of shortness of breath may just result in you being admitted to hospital with more severe medical problems.

There are many causes as to how too much oxygen can be detremental to your health.

  1. Gas laws state that increases in the concentration of one gas (i.e Oxygen) will lower the concentration of the others.

Nitrogen makes up 78% of room air and is responsible for the secretion of surfactant which is a lubricating type substance in the lungs which keep the alveoli inflated. Under high concentrations of Oxygen there is a ‘washout’ of Nitrogen and a decrease in this gas would cause less surfactant being produced and the potential collapse of these alveioli and respiratory problems.

  1. Oxygen is a free radical, highly reactive and can harm the body in high amounts. The body normally fends off free radical attacks from oxygen, radiation, atmosphere, drugs and stress on a daily basis with antioxidants. Cell damage can occur when free radicals outbalance antioxidants, called oxidative stress which is known to be a cause of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, Alzherimer’s and Parkinson’s. An influx of oxygen will cause an influx of free radicals which could cause tissue damage to cells that are already struggling to function and requiring the need for supplemental oxygen.
  2. Supplemental oxygen has been shown to decrease bloodflow, cause constriction of the arteries and resistance, which also renders vasodilator medication useless.

 

There are so many medical reasons as to how Oxygen is good for your health but be aware that there are important medical consequences if your Oxygen levels are too high. The importance of keeping your oxygen flow rate set to the prescription your GP gave you and monitoring your equipment to ensure the setting remains constant is very important.

It’s true that too much of a good thing is bad for you!

 

 

References: http://www.ems1.com

 

 

Easy exercises for COPD patients‏

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If you suffer with COPD it is extremely important to exercise as this not only strengthens your cardio-respiratory system to aid in the improvement of your condition but strengthens you physically to be able to perform day-to-day tasks more easily. Being outside and socialising while you exercise also gets you out of the house and improves your quality of life. The less exercise you do then the less you are able to do. Weaker muscles need more oxygen to be able to work so you become more short of breath just from doing simple tasks like cooking. It is difficult to exercise what with the added hassle of oxygen equipment and some patients find it easier to just stay indoors. However with the use of portable concentrators it’s now easier to get out and about on oxygen therapy and the importance of exercising with a respiratory condition has been proven to be ever more so.

The goal is to try and exercise for 20-30 mins at least 3 times a week. Combining cardio activities with strength training ones. If you’re just starting then even a couple of minutes is beneficial and you can slowly work your way up as you become physically fitter. Some find it more fun or easier if they have a friend as an exercise buddy and if they plan their week to incorporate exercise into their schedule. Keeping an exercise journal also helps in planning and recording your activities which will keep you motivated as you see your exercise levels increase.

Walking:

Walking is an easy choice that everyone can do, especially good if you;re just starting out. Whether it’s around a shopping centre, outside or on a treadmill. Take it at a slow pace to start with and add 30 secs or 10 yards each time.

Biking:

Some people enjoy using a stationary bike as they can have one in the comfort of their own home. Although at a gym you’ll have supervision and can meet other people. If you want to join a class just check with the instructor to ensure it matches your abilities. As you improve you can bike outside in the fresh air and perhaps do it with others.

Arm Curls:

Lifting light weights can help build up your arm muscles so that reaching a high shelf or carrying items is easier. Use hand weights, stretchy bands or water bottles to try arm curls. Hold the weights at your side with palms forward and breathe in. Then lift towards your chest keeping your elbows down and slowly exhale. Then slowly lower your arms back down as you breathe in. Build your repetitions up slowly.
Forward Arm Raises:

To do these hold weights down at your sides with your palms facing in and inhale. Then slowly exhale as you raise both your straight out in front of you up to shoulder height. Then inhale as you slowly lower your arms. This exercise will strengthen your upper arms and shoulders. Start with light weights and build up your repetitions and then you can increase to heavier weights and slowly build up the repetitions .

Calf Raises:

This exercise will strengthen your calf muscles to help you to be able to walk easier and further. Stand 6-12 inches behind a chair with your feet hip-width apart and use the chair for balance and support. Then lift yourself up high on your toes while you exhale slowly. Hold the position briefly and then lower your heels back to the ground. As you get stronger you can try doing just one leg at a time. Slowly work up the repetitions.

Leg Extensions:

In order to strengthen your thighs you can sit in a chair, inhale and then stretch one leg out as straight as you can and then breathe in slowly, as you lower your foot back to the floor. Do one set at a time and then as your muscles strengthen you can add ankle weights. Again slowly work up your repetitions.

Diaphragm:

A stronger diaphragm will make breathing easier for you. Lie down with your knees bent or you can sit in a comfortable chair. Place one hand on your chest and one below your ribcage. Slowly inhale and your lower hand will rise. Purse your lips and exhale while you tighten your stomach. Your upper hand should remain still throughout. Do this exercise for 5-10 min3 or 4 times a day.

Chair Dancing:

This can be a more fun exercise if you enjoy dancing. You can buy DVD’s to do at home and then you can do the workouts to your own favourite genre of music. There are different levels that you can work your way through and you can add weights to increase the challenge.

Tai Chi:

Many COPD patients find Tai Chi relaxing as it eases stress while providing a mild workout for your heart and lungs and helps to tone your muscles. There are DVDs or classes that you can join.

You should make sure you stretch your muscles briefly before exercising so that you don’t do yourself any damage.
Other fun exercises can be jogging, skating, rowing or swimming. These are more sociable and more fun. Water aerobics is good for COPD and arthritis.
Make sure that if your COPD symptoms begin acting up or if you feel tired or muscle pain then give yourself a day off from exercising until you start feeling better.

References: http://www.webmd.com

Accessories can make all the difference

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In the past patients diagnosed with respiratory conditions requiring oxygen therapy faced the problems associated with traditional canister oxygen technology. Bulky heavy equipment that resulted in many losing their mobility and independence. Now with portable oxygen concentrators this is becoming a thing of the past as these light weight pieces of equipment mean that patients can maintain their lifestyles and still keep active. There are still aspects of having to wear and use oxygen for long periods of time that can make patients feel conspicuous, uncomfortable, restricted or cause secondary health ailments. Technology is moving quickly and devices are becoming smaller, lighter and customisable. There are now products available to aid with the smaller inconveniences to help improve patient’s quality of life even more. These may not be available from your normal supplier via the NHS but are worth the small purchase cost if it aids in improving your mobility, sleep quality and health. Many private oxygen supply companies stock these or other accessories that may suit your own personal needs or many customers purchase online.
Oximeters:

You can purchase finger pulse oximeters that are small units that check your heart rate and oxygen saturation at any time, at your own convenience. This way you can check that your oxygen levels are correct and discover early if there is a problem and seek to resolve it before it causes any major health problems. There are also ones specifically designed for children and carry cases are available for them. Drops in oxygen saturation could be an indication of faulty equipment or of a worsening health condition. Being able to monitor and record your changing oxygen saturation levels is not only more convenient than having to wait for a GP appointment to check your levels but it could also help your GP from understanding your oxygen requirements more specifically.

Sleep Face Pads:

Many find sleeping at night with masks and tubes very difficult with the tubes rubbing their skin and the feeling of discomfort preventing them from getting a good night’s sleep. There are Sleep Comfort Pads available that are clear in colour so as not to make you feel conspicuous. They are designed to act as a comfort barrier between the mask and your skin to decrease air leaks, improve the comfort of the mask or nasal cannula and are hypoallergenic to reduce irritation.

Oxygen Carry Bags:

In order to aid with your mobility and getting out and about with your oxygen equipment there are bags specifically designed for carrying oxygen equipment and supplies. They allow easy, hands free transport of your oxygen tank or concentrator with a padded single shoulder strap for easy on and off. It carries the equipment on the centre of your back for comfort and is padded and insulated to protect your equipment. They can also come with a padded support waistband that can be converted for you to be able to go walking, golfing, biking, gardening or any hands free activity to keep you active and mobile. With mesh to allow the tank to breathe or the concentrator to have air flow around the equipment and some have a vehicle headrest carrier strap to ensure it remains upright whilst you drive.

Medical Oxygen Glasses:

Wearing a nasal cannula can feel odd and uncomfortable enough without the additional hassle of wearing prescription glasses. Many people feel self conscious and feel like there are too many things on their face. With the tubing normally going from the nose and out over the ears many patients find it awkward to do their hair or long hair becomes tangled with the tubing or the tubing can become caught on things. Some patients find it too much hassle and either stay at home or remove the tubing when they go out which can have a detrimental effect on your health if you’re not using your oxygen supply when you should be.
These glasses are specially designed for oxygen therapy users and the tubing runs from the nose up to the glasses and is virtually invisible and also out of the way. You can choose the frames that suit you and either have clear or prescription lenses. The tubing follows the frame of the glasses and the tubing is near invisible and doesn’t go across your face making wearing your cannula more comfortable and less conspicuous.

These are just a few of the accessories that are out there, as well as different tubing and prongs that may suit you better. They’re designed to improve oxygen therapy users’ quality of life as if the user feels more comfortable, suffers from less irritation, feels more able to have an active social life and do more activities whilst still using their oxygen then their overall health, well-being and quality of life will be much improved.

References: http://oxyview.com.dnnmax.com and http://www.gbukhealthcare.com and http://www.oxygenconcentratorstore.com

Sleep is important for your health

Those who suffer with COPD or other respiratory diseases may find it difficult trying to get a full night’s sleep. It is even more important for COPD sufferers than non-affected individuals to try and get a proper night’s sleep as your body tires easily during the day from trying to complete basic daily tasks and activities let alone if you are tired from not having slept the night before. A good night’s sleep will enable your body to have more energy so that you can socialize, perform normal daily tasks, breathe better and have an improved quality of life. In the summer months it can be particularly more difficult to try and sleep with the warm humid nights and external noises. However it is in these months that many people want to go out and do more activities to enjoy the good weather, so getting a full night’s sleep in the summer is particularly important.

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There are also long term health benefits of sleeping, a lack of sleep has been linked to obesity and diabetes but also now research has shown that a lack of sleep can affect your long-term mental health and can cause memory problems and increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
A study in mice has shown that even brief periods of sleep deprivation can disrupt the chemical pathways in an area of the brain called the Hippocampus and affect the levels of certain enzymes and molecules, which resulted in a decrease of memory function.
Researchers from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health have linked disturbed sleep to cognitive impairment in older individuals. Their study suggested that reduced sleep and poor sleep quality may be linked to an increased build-up of beta-amyloid plaques in the brains of older adults, which is a major sign of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is the most common form of dementia and almost half of older adults with the disorder report insomnia-based symptoms.
These studies suggest that whether you are young or old it is important to get a decent period of undisturbed sleep each night to prevent any imbalances/build-up of certain molecules within your brain, which long-term can potentially lead to a variety of mental disorders from memory impairment to Dementia.

Tips to help you sleep:
1.    Talk to your GP about whether you need oxygen at night or how best to use/monitor your current night time oxygen prescription. If your oxygen levels remain stable through the night you will awaken less often.
2.    Some people find that using oxygen at night to be awkward or noisy but there is newer technology that is a lot quieter and more user friendly-it may be that you can talk to your oxygen machine supplier and get yourself an upgrade.
3.    Also talk to your GP if you think that you may suffer from Sleep Apnea. Ask about CPAP or another non-invasive, positive-pressure ventilation. This can help improve oxygen saturation levels during the day and night.
4.    Try to clear your airways during the day so they are clear at bedtime. To do so, try coughing or huffing (take a breath in and forcefully exhale, like “huffing” onto a mirror/window to steam it up). Huffing is not as forceful as a cough but it can work better and be less tiring.
5.    Don’t forget to review your medications with your GP, as some may cause side effects that can keep you up at night.
6.    Practice pursed-lip breathing while lying in bed to help you relax and drift to sleep.
Some other more generic tips:
1.    Keep your bedroom cool, dark and cozy. Without distractions, you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
2.    Do not use your bed for working, chatting on the phone or watching television. Use it only for sleeping.
3.    Avoid caffeine after lunchtime.
4.    Wear loose, comfortable clothing to bed.
5.    Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day, even weekends. When your body has a sleep cycle to rely on, rest comes more naturally.

References: http://www.domorewithoxygen.com and http://www.nursingtimes.net and http://www.medicalnewstoday.com