The Importance of Oxygen Reserve in Portable Oxygen Concentrators

It’s extremely important that your oxygen concentrator is able to deliver the amount of oxygen you need at any given time. This amount, which is determined by your doctor, will fluctuate depending on how you are breathing. We aren’t always breathing the same way at different points throughout the day. Your breathing will change while you are sleeping, and it will change while you are doing something even slightly physically exerting, like walking from room to room in your house. It definitely changes when you are exercising.

This fluctuation is why a reserve capacity is important in an oxygen concentrator. Your concentrator might be able to sufficiently meet your oxygen therapy needs, and keep you saturated while you are breathing at rest, but without a good reserve capacity, it won’t deliver enough oxygen while you are breathing heavily from walking up a few flights of stairs.

Continue reading

What Does it Take to Get Back Lost Lung Function?

Being diagnosed with COPD can be surprising to people who went years or all their lives without any sort of health issue. It’s even worse when people feel like it’s their own fault, since 90% of COPD cases are caused by smoking tobacco. Sometimes, however, you can bring back some of your lung function, even after being diagnosed with this lung disease.

Continue reading

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About COPD and Oxygen Therapy

Maybe lately you’ve been experiencing some trouble breathing, and you’re not sure why. You may have gotten a chest cold that you never seemed to fully recover from. These are both serious reasons for concern, and you shouldn’t ignore them. Once you start having trouble breathing, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible. If you’ve been smoking for many years, it could be a sign of a lung disease like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

If you are diagnosed with this disease after all the testing has been done and your doctor has come to a conclusion (chest x-rays, spirometry and arterial blood gas test), the story is far from over. Now you and your doctor have to decide on the best way to treat you. You need to feel free to ask questions, but once you’ve been diagnosed with something like COPD, you might find it hard to concentrate on what you need to do next. Here are some questions that are important to ask your doctor after being diagnosed with COPD and about oxygen therapy.

Continue reading

Vaccine for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) on the Way

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) isn’t as harmful to most adults as it is to children, the elderly to people who have chronic lung diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To everyone else, it just comes on like a regular cold virus, with a cough, runny nose, fever, earache and a mild sore throat. They just need to rest and drink plenty of fluids and they should feel better in about a week or less.

Babies, small children, the elderly and people with chronic lung conditions will be hit much harder and will likely turn into pneumonia. It’s always a good idea to go straight to the doctor if you or someone in one of these groups is showing signs of a cold like this, just to play it safe. In someone with asthma or COPD, this can be very dangerous, just because it will bring on an asthma attack or an exacerbation. COPD exacerbations make COPD worse and decrease lung function even more.

Continue reading

New Study Shows Safe Electronic Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Usually a patient who is trying to treat sleep apnea will be prescribed a CPAP machine to use while they are sleeping. This is usually effective, and many people need some time to adjust to using it, as it can be disruptive and uncomfortable at first. CPAP machines are the first and so far, best line of treatment for people who don’t want their obstructive sleep apnea to have an effect on them during the day.

The results of a new study were presented on June 5th at “Sleep 2013”, 27th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. The study was conducted on a small electrical device that is implanted in the mouth, which sends out tiny electrical impulses to the main nerve of the tongue, called the hypoglossal nerve. The electrical impulses are meant to tone the muscle of the throat, so that the throat doesn’t close up during sleep, which will also prevent snoring.

Continue reading

Study Shows COPD Drugs Increase Risk of Cardiovascular Problems

The results of a recent study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, suggests that bronchodilators may increase the risk of heart attacks in elderly patients who take the drug to treat COPD. In Ontario, Canada, 200,000 elderly people taking bronchodilators volunteered in the study. A group out of this number were taking the bronchodilator medication, while there was a control group not taking any sort of bronchodilator. Out of the group taking the bronchodilator, 28% of them had a cardiovascular event over the course of the 6 year study.

It was concluded that patients who are just starting to take a bronchodilator need to be monitored closely for the first few months after being introduced to the new drug treatment. This is especially true for people over the age of 60, who generally have weaker hearts and those who have never before taken a bronchodilator.

Continue reading

COPD on The Rise in Women

A new health report shows that women are now 37% more likely to develop COPD, or die from smoking-related illnesses than their male counterparts. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, was more prevalent among men not that long ago, but new statistics show that more and more women have picked up the habit of smoking, but even so, men are still smoking a little more than women on the whole.

COPD (which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis), is caused mainly by smoking – 90% of COPD cases caused by smoking, while the other 10% is caused by air pollution and a very rare genetic condition known as alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency. Even though on the average, men have been smoking for a longer amount of time and tend to smoke a little more than women, women are developing COPD and other smoking complications at a higher rate. Experts have a few suggestions for why this is:

Continue reading

Warning About COPD Steroids and Diabetes

These aren’t the type of steroids that cheating athletes or body builders take – they are known as corticosteroids and if you have a chronic lung disease like Asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), then you may have been prescribed one of these drugs. These come in several different forms, but to treat lung inflammation, they are taken orally or as a powder or spray taken with an inhaler.

These are taken as an anti-inflammatory, and are also used to treat arthritis and allergies. One steroid known as prednisone is used to keep inflammation down in COPD, and the drug is prescribed on a semi long term basis to help prevent exacerbations. Exacerbations are the flare-ups that occur in those with COPD, and they also lead to the general worsening of the disease. Experts are finding out that taking high doses of prednisone and other corticosteroids, even for short periods of time, increase the risk of diabetes.

Continue reading

A Warning About Using Oxygen Concentrators Without a Prescription

Oxygen therapy should always be treated as a prescription drug, since using too much or not enough can be dangerous. If you come across an offer for a “mini portable oxygen concentrator” at a very low price – much lower than one of the top of the line, prescription only portable oxygen concentrators – it’s most definitely not something you should be using. Getting an oxygen concentrator without a prescription is a bad idea, especially for people with COPD or another illness that requires oxygen therapy.

Some of the new mini oxygen concentrators are actually being marketed as a beauty product. They claim that the additional pure oxygen is good for the skin and hair, as well as for the rest of the body’s function. While taking in pure oxygen over a period of time can be beneficial, it can also be a double-edged sword.

Continue reading

What You Are Actually Allergic to During the Spring

If you’re suffering from allergies right now, you’re definitely not alone. It’s estimated that 35 million people in the United States suffer from allergic rhinitis, hay fever, or otherwise known as seasonal allergies.

Some allergies during the spring are caused by the pine pollen being released by pines during mid to late April. Spring 2013, as announced be allergy experts, was predicted to be a severe allergy season and started 2 weeks earlier than it usually does.

Besides pine trees, some of the other trees that contribute to spring allergies are box elder, hickory, maple, oak, sycamore, poplar and cottonwood. Some varieties of grasses are also putting off spores as they come to life, such as perennial rye, Johnson grass, sweet vernal and fescue.

Continue reading