Summer is on its way and this means we are exposed to a lot more summer related allergies and with COPD even though there are multiple contributors to COPD such as tobacco smoke, occupational dusts, chemicals and air pollution, vitamin D and sun deficiencies may also play a role. Research has demonstrated that the severity of the disease is correlated directly to levels of vitamin D, and other research demonstrates that severe disturbed lung and peripheral muscle functions are more pronounced in COPD patients with vitamin D deficiency. In addition, recent research shows that cardiopulmonary exercise capacity is increased remarkably in people with high vitamin D levels compared to those with low levels. Of course, 90% of vitamin D blood levels are produced by sun exposure.
One may intelligently conclude, based on this information, that a part of the cause for both diseases is a lack of sun-derived vitamin D.
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)
- Brussels sprouts
- Raw apples
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.
People with a lung condition can get short of breath but The British Lung Foundation have set out the following tips for breathing exercises to help the shortness of breath and breathe more easily each day.
- relaxed slow deep breathing: breathe in gently through your nose and breathe out through your nose and mouth. Try to feel relaxed and calm each time you breathe out.
- pursed-lips breathing: breathe in gently through your nose and breathe out with your lips pursed as if you are whistling.
- blow as you go: use this when you’re doing something that makes you breathless, such as standing up. Breathe in before you make the effort. Then breathe out while making the effort. Try using pursed lips as you breathe out.
- paced breathing: this is useful when you’re active, such as climbing stairs. You pace your steps to your breathing. For example, breathe in when on the stair, and breathe out as you go up a stair.
Try to practise them every day. They can also help if you get out of breath suddenly. Being in control of your breathing means breathing gently, using the least effort, with your shoulders supported and relaxed.
A great resource over at COPD.net on the safety tips of travelling with oxygen.
- DO fill the portable tank carefully, if using liquid oxygen. Liquid oxygen is extremely cold and can injure your hands, if frost should develop.
- DO carry your portable tank only in the case supplied with it.
- DO use a cart or holster to carry portable oxygen cylinders.
- DO keep your oxygen delivery system out of the bright sunlight or other heat sources.
- DO secure your tank, cylinder or portable concentrator so it does not roll around in the car. Liquid tanks should never be laid on their sides; portable cylinders may be.
- DO bring extra batteries to power your concentrator.
- DON’T put a portable tank inside a backpack or other carry bag.
- DON’T place your tank, cylinder or portable concentrator in a car trunk or other tightly enclosed space.
There are quite a few DO’s for you to remember and t is always best to be prepared before embarking on a week or two away on holiday. Any advice needed on arranging oxygen please do just speak with the team at OxygenWorldwide.
The benefits of oxygen can be felt by anyone, not just those suffering from a medical condition and requiring supplemental oxygen. We can all find easy ways to increase our oxygen levels naturally through breathing exercises, general exercise, getting more fresh air and eating a balanced diet of foods that help increase oxygenation in our blood.
Increasing your oxygenation levels and being fit and healthy has shown to be important for your health as optimum oxygen levels can improve wound healing, vision, mental clarity and intelligence, boost your immune system, help fight cancer cells, reduce stress levels, improve your heart and respiration and help you to lose weight.
For those people who use supplemental oxygen at home there are also long-term benefits:
- Prolongs life by reducing heart strain
- Decreases shortness of breath
- Makes exercise more tolerable
- Results in fewer days of hospitalization
- Improves sleeping
- Improves quality of life
There are millions of people diagnosed with COPD around the world and 15% of these are prescribed oxygen. The number of COPD patients coming into the market is increasing and is expected to continue to increase for many more years. COPD patients are also increasingly being prescribed oxygen until the end of their life expectancy combined with the fact that COPD is being diagnosed earlier in life due to an increased awareness of the condition means that many more people will be requiring oxygen for longer periods of time.
For those people who suffer with any type of lung condition they may have difficulties when travelling by air. This is due to the reduced air pressure in the aircraft cabins as well as the lack of mobility for long periods of time. Air pressure in an aircraft cabin is lower than air pressure at ground level and feels like being at 6000 to 8000 feet on a mountain. At high altitudes blood oxygen levels fall in everyone, and some people may feel a little breathless. In most people this has no health effect, but if you already have low blood oxygen levels because of your lung condition, then the extra dip that happens while you are in the plane can cause breathlessness and discomfort for you.
Essential Tips to remember before flying:
- Ask your doctor well in advance for a letter to take in your hand luggage with details of your condition and medication.
- Be sure to take your inhalers in your carry-on bags. One of the most common problems is that people pack their inhalers in the luggage that goes into the hold.
- If you get breathless when walking, make sure you have help at airports.
- Try to move about every hour. Sitting for too long can lead to blood clots in the legs.
- Drink plenty of water and non-alcoholic drinks during the flight..
At OxygenWorldwide we wanted to know if in our 25 years of existence with oxygen users had died from the use of medical oxygen. We are glad to state that we have not found any proof of death related to the use of medical oxygen.
As November marked National COPD Awareness Month we thought it gave justice to another article! An internationally-recognized event held annually to enhance exposure around chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The main cause of COPD is tobacco smoke or exposure to air pollutants like cigarette smoke or outdoor pollution in the home or at work, family history, and respiratory infections like pneumonia also increase your risk.
Symptoms of COPD include:
- Frequent coughing or wheezing
- Excess phlegm or sputum
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble taking a deep breath
If you experience these symptoms, you should discuss them with your GP. One way to treat COPD is supplemental oxygen from a portable oxygen tank if blood oxygen levels are low.