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    What are Hyperinflated Lungs?

    What are Hyperinflated Lungs?

    What does it mean?
    A hyperinflated lung is a lung that has air trapped inside. This trapped air can lead to overinflation—which can produce significant and detrimental lung damage. Hyperinflated lungs are common in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Patients with COPD have some degree of hyperinflation of the lungs. Other lung-related problems can also lead to hyperinflated lungs as well, such as asthma or cystic fibrosis.
    When damaged lung tissue results in lu7ngs that become less elastic. Lungs lose their elasticity; the expulsion of air becomes difficult and it can get trapped inside the lungs. It can happen when patients begin to inhale before they’ve fully exhaled. Consequently, air gets trapped within the lungs with each successive breath causing them to overinflate.  


    Static vs. Dynamic Hyperinflation
    There are two distinct types of hyperinflation—static and dynamic. Static is due to a decrease in the elasticity of the lungs. When lung tissue is damaged it can result in the lungs becoming less elastic. The expulsion of air then becomes difficult, leaving air trapped in the lungs.
    Dynamic is the more common form of hyperinflation and is usually found in those afflicted with COPD. This happens when someone begins to inhale before they’ve fully exhaled. Consequently, air gets trapped in the lungs with each breath and leads to over inflation.


    What are the symptoms?
    Keep in mind that the symptoms of hyperinflated lungs may be worsened by other lung related issues. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult with your doctor. Chest x-rays may reveal what you’re dealing with. See your doctor if you experience reoccurring symptoms like:

    • Shortness of breath
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Chronic cough (especially during exercise)
    • Frequent bouts of sickness (often bronchitis)
    • Exercise intolerance
    • Impaired muscle function
    • Heart dysfunction
    • Reduced physical activity levels

    What causes it?
    Hyperinflation lungs, or air getting trapped in the lungs, usually means there is some blockage or lung damage. A blockage in air passages or air sacs that are losing elasticity can interfere with the expulsion of the air from the lungs. A healthy lung should be able to breathe in and out easily. Other afflictions can also cause the symptoms of hyperinflated lungs to worsen. If you suffer from asthma or other breathing related diseases, your symptoms may intensify. Stress can also aggravate hyperinflated lungs.


    What to do.
    Facing hyperinflated lungs? There are a few things you can do to help:

    • Pursed lip breathing—this will reduce the inflation and improve your exercise tolerance. It will also help to regulate your oxygen saturation levels, especially during exercise.
    • Exercise training—working out your body as well as your lungs can reduce lung hyperinflation and improve your exercise tolerance.
    • Oxygen therapy—studies have shown that oxygen therapy has consistently reduced the risk of lung hyperinflation during exercise.
    • Bronchodilators—proven to reduce lung hyperinflation both at rest and during exercise.
    • Lung volume reduction surgery—this is a very dramatic method. The operation removes the worst affected areas of your lungs. It can help relieve breathlessness, increase the ability to exercise and improve quality of life. To qualify for this surgery, you must meet very strict criteria.

    Primary Causes for COPD

    Primary Causes for COPD

    What causes COPD?
    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is a result of long-term exposure to lung irritants. This exposure causes damage to the lungs that leads to bronchitis-like symptoms and blocked airways. Most commonly, COPD is caused by smoke—whether it is a cigarette, cigar, tobacco, second hand, air pollution, or other fumes. Though COPD is usually found in smokers, it is also possible to be afflicted with COPD even if you’ve never smoked or had extended exposure to harmful air, though it is much less common. The lung damage that leads to COPD is treatable but not curable. The best way to avoid a life with COPD is to avoid smoke and other lung irritants.


    What are the early warning signs?
    Symptoms for COPD are similar to bronchitis and often don’t appear until lung damage has already occurred. Sign and symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, chronic cough, blueness in the lips or fingernail beds, lack of energy, swollen ankles, respiratory infections, having to clear your throat often and usually in the morning. If these symptoms seem to worsen or occur for at least a few months over two consecutive years, see a doctor about the possibility of COPD.


    What are the triggers for COPD?
    The symptoms of COPD can be triggered or worsened by exposure to smoke or any other substance that is capable of damaging your lungs and blocking your airways. Anything that is capable of causing the damage of COPD in the first place is also capable of irritating or worsening it. Secondhand smoke is the most common trigger. Others include air pollution, vehicle exhaust, and gas fumes. If you have COPD avoid any prolonged exposure to harmful air to prevent symptoms from worsening and causing more damage to the lungs.

    Everything You Need to Know About a Portable Oxygen Concentrator

    Everything You Need to Know About a Portable Oxygen Concentrator

    What does it do?
    A portable oxygen concentrator or POC is an oxygen providing machine powered by a rechargeable battery or portable battery. These devices allow you to get the oxygen that you require while still being on the move with your everyday life. Many POCs also come with car adapters so that you can charge in vehicles. With a POC, your need for oxygen won’t be restrictive.

    How does it work?
    POCs take in the air around you and compress oxygen. They remove the nitrogen from the compressed air and send purified air through a tube to the user. This process is continually repeated as needed. Airflow is generally adjustable to meet the needs of the user. A POC is a safe and easy way to get clean oxygen wherever you go.

    What makes up a portable oxygen concentrator?
    A compressor, sieve bed, tank, and nasal tube make up a POC. The compressor compresses air that it intakes and the sieve bed filters it to remove the nitrogen and create purified oxygen. This oxygen is then pushed into the tank and through the nasal tube to be delivered to the user.

    Why should you try one?
    Unlike regular oxygen tanks, a portable oxygen concentrator will allow you to be mobile without worry of running out of oxygen. There are lightweight and compact POC options that can easily be transported and carried around. A POC can keep up with you and your lifestyle without requiring you to slow down.

    POC Patients: 5 Emergency Tips You Should Know

    POC Patients: 5 Emergency Tips You Should Know

    Dealing with an emergency situation is always stressful, but especially if you are dealing with potentially running out of oxygen. There are a few precautionary things to do to prepare for the worst and stay safe in case of an emergency.


  • Have a recharge plan in place.
  • Before you lose power in a disaster, have a plan prepared for recharging. Keep extra batteries recharged and ready to go at all times. Know how long your battery lasts and how many recharges you have to be sure you can last until you have access to power again.


  • Install an emergency generator.
  • One way to ensure you won’t run out of power and be unable to recharge—install an emergency generator. This will enable you to connect to an alternative power source when disaster strikes.


  • Reduce your flow if necessary.
  • Consult with your doctor to know if it is possible for you to reduce your flow in an emergency situation to help your oxygen to last longer. Reducing your flow will extend the life of your oxygen supply but be sure to speak with a medical professional to know what a safe level of oxygen for you is.


  • Be informed.
  • Knowing when disaster is heading your way is not always possible but is always helpful. Stay informed on local news and always be prepared with your plan in case of emergency.


  • Get a support team.
  • Keep others informed and prepared in case of catastrophe. Establishing a support team that you can call on will help you to stay safe. Anyone nearby who can be aware of your situation and lend a hand can qualify.

    How to Care for Your CPAP Machine

    How to Care for Your CPAP Machine

    Proper care and cleaning of your CPAP machine are vital, without it germs and contamination can build up and cause infection. Taking good care of your machine will also extend the life of the equipment. Follow these steps to caring for each part of the machine to ensure long lasting and effective use.


    Headgear

    When cleaning your headgear (mask, straps, tubing, and chinstrap) use a mild, hypoallergenic, unscented soap. Allergens and perfumes can cause irritation to your skin. You can also use some dish detergents. Wash with soap and warm water by hand and allow pieces to air dry. Dirt and oils from your face can build up in your mask over time. To avoid any sort of build up or potential irritation, wash your mask thoroughly and regularly. The tubes are also vital because any contamination there can make you sick or block the tube and prevent it from performing properly. All headgear should be cleaned at least once a week, or more regularly if needed.


    Humidifier

    Because of the warm and moist nature of the humidifier, bacteria can build up quickly if not cleaned out. Water should be changed daily. Clean the water tank with warm soapy water at least weekly, more if needed. Use a disinfecting agent, such as vinegar, and warm water, then rinse and allow it to air dry.


    Filter

    The filter of your CPAP machine should be changed annually and washed weekly. Remove the filter and run it under warmer water, squeezing out and debris. Blot dry with a towel and allow it to air dry until needed.

    Check out this link if you're interested in other ways to care for your oxygen concentrator. If you're in need of new accessories or supplies click here