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

All About Oxygen Therapy and Free Radicals

It’s true that the increased amount of oxygen brought into the body with oxygen therapy causes a small amount of oxidation and the production of free radicals, especially in our lungs. In most cases, lung damage is only caused by overuse of oxygen – if a patient takes it upon himself to turn up the dosage or use his oxygen concentrator for longer than prescribed by his doctor. In other cases, there might be a malfunction in the oxygen machine when using a tank, that can cause the flow rate to go much higher than it should. An overdose of oxygen can definite be a bad thing.

The damaging free radical caused by an excessive presence in the lungs is known as peroxynitrite. When there are lower levels of oxygen in the lungs, as with the amount prescribed by your doctor and normally put out by your oxygen concentrator, your lungs only produce the enzyme known as nitric oxide, which is harmless, but can lead to the production of peroxynitrite.

Continue reading

Foods You Should Be Eating More of and One to Avoid

One thing your doctor will tell you when you have COPD, or really any other chronic disease, is you need to eat a healthy diet so your body can function and defend itself in the best way possible. Along with getting as much physical activity as you can stand, you also need to eat well to keep a good quality of life.

Specifically, if you have COPD, there are some foods that will help you more than others in improving lung function and keeping your immune system strong. Your immune system is even more important when you have a chronic disease such as COPD, because it can be worsened if you get sick with even a common chest cold. If someone with healthy lungs catches a chest cold, they will simply be sick for a week or so, take some medicine and start to feel better. If someone with COPD gets the same cold, they could end up in the hospital.

Continue reading

Nuclear Medicine Can Help with Early Diagnosis of COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is largely a preventable disease, and the ease of which it is treated greatly depends on how early it is discovered and diagnosed. The disease takes quite a long time to progress in the beginning stages, but once it has made it to moderate to severe status, you can require assistance with daily medications and oxygen therapy. Once it has been diagnosed as severe, exacerbations or flare-ups will increase in how often they occur and how damaging they are. An exacerbation causes the disease to worsen and usually requires hospitalization.

The numbers for COPD are on the rise, and it is now recognized as the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States, and most of the cases are caused by years of smoking tobacco. If you’ve been smoking for a while and you are around the age of 35, you might want to consider getting checked for the early stages of the disease with the use of a nuclear medicine.

Nuclear medicine is a safe and cost effective way of diagnosing a number of diseases in their earliest stages. A recent study showed how only a small amount of inflammation caused by cigarette smoke, and a sign of pre-COPD, was visible in the lungs of lab rats through vivo ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) imaging.

Continue reading

The Effects of Alcohol on Breathing – Sleep Apnea, COPD and Asthma

Alcohol works as a depressant, which means it slows down activity in your central nervous system. Your whole body relaxes, as well as your mind and your reaction time slows down. A little bit of alcohol will relax you, while more than a little bit will make it harder for you to function.

Not surprisingly, it also has an effect on the lungs, which can be dangerous for people who have reduced lung function and who need to use oxygen therapy, or a CPAP machine for sleep apnea.

Continue reading

The Dangers of Inhalers for People With Diabetes

According to a research study conducted in Quebec, the use of corticosteroids used to treat asthma and COPD have been linked to causing insulin resistance. Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory medications that contain drugs that are made to mimic cortisol, the hormone that your adrenal glands produce naturally. When corticosteroids are taken, they treat inflammations, such as those in the lungs. Many people with COPD take a corticosteroid as a preventative medicine, or “control inhaler”. Sometimes during a flare-up of asthma or COPD, a common corticosteroid known as prednisone is prescribed.

Prednisone is also prescribed for other ailments besides asthma and COPD, but it is usually only prescribed to be taken for a short period of time. If you have been on a corticosteroid off and on over a period of time, you can develop steroid-induced diabetes.

Continue reading

Easy Things to do to Improve Air Quality at Home and in the Environment

Poor air quality is a big problem for everyone. All living things need air to survive. The only things that might not be so affected by pollution are trees and other plants, since they emit oxygen and inspire carbon dioxide. Pollution and other causes of poor air quality is even more dangerous for people who who have a hard time breathing – people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma and COPD, and anyone who needs oxygen therapy.

This is a total lost cause, however. If the air quality is poor in your home, in your town/city or both, there a number of things you can do to improve the general quality of the air around you. Once you start putting these things into practice, it won’t be long until your new habits start to wear off on the people around you. It seems that being conscious of the environment is something that spreads from person to person over time.
Continue reading

Air Travel Tips for Seniors with COPD or Prescribed Oxygen Therapy

Unless you are very sick and limited by order of your doctor, your age and your condition shouldn’t get in the way of your freedom and life goals. With a few accommodations and the right equipment, you’ll be able to keep up with your younger colleagues, do the things you could always do and go to all the places on your life’s itinerary. Let’s say, you’ve been wanting to go to Italy for years, and now you are using oxygen therapy. With the right preparations, you can definitely still go and see the sights, and eat at all the bistros and restaurants without worry. The world is still your oyster.

Continue reading

Oxygen Therapy Fights Fatigue, Boosts Energy

Exercise is an important way to build strength and energy while maintaining your weight. The fact is that people who consistently move on a regular basis also have longer lifespans on average. However, many oxygen therapy patients have the misconception that their equipment completely holds them back from exercising. While it is important to consult with a doctor before beginning any exercise regimen, many patients can still engage in physical activities while on oxygen therapy.

Continue reading