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    What is Transient Nocturnal Desaturation?

    What is Transient Nocturnal Desaturation?

    Transient Nocturnal Desaturation
    Transient Nocturnal Desaturation is defined as a temporary drop in oxygen levels during sleep. A healthy lung has between 95% and 100% of oxygen saturation levels. Oxygen saturation is the level of oxygen in your blood. If this level drops at least 4% for five or more minutes during your sleep, you can be diagnosed with Transient Nocturnal Desaturation. Oxygen acts as fuel for your major organs and other tissues, without it your organs cannot function properly. This is very common in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, otherwise known as COPD.

    Causes of Nocturnal Desaturation include hypoventilation and ventilation/perfusion mismatch. Hypoventilation is a slowing of breath during sleep. This can lead to too little oxygen or too much carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. Ventilation/perfusion mismatch occurs when the timing of your breathing is mismatched with the timing of your blood circulating through your lungs. This can also cause a lack of oxygen in your bloodstream, and thus lead to Transient Nocturnal Desaturation. There has also been research that suggests obesity can increase the risk and severity of any sleep-related breathing disorder.

    Long-term oxygen therapy or nocturnal oxygen therapy are both options to treat Transient Nocturnal Desaturation. Oxygen therapy is an oxygen supplement that provides you with extra oxygen. Nocturnal oxygen therapy is oxygen therapy during sleep. Either of these methods can be achieved with an oxygen concentrator. The concentrator will draw in fresh air, compress the air, segregate Nitrogen from it, and put out purified oxygen through the nasal cannula.

    Upper Respiratory Infection 101

    Upper Respiratory Infection 101

    Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs) are one of the biggest reasons people require doctors visits each year and can be so intense it causes many people to miss out on regular responsibilities like school or work.  These contagious illnesses occur most often in autumn or winter and infect areas such as the nose, sinuses, pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchi.  Most occurrences will take their course and go away by themselves with a little TLC, however, there are some cases that are so severe that they can be life-threatening and require a hospital visit.

    Causes of URIs
    Most URIs are the result of viruses, however, bacteria causes a small percentage of cases.  The most common virus to cause URI symptoms is the rhinovirus (the common cold) and there are more than 200 other viruses that cause URIs including coronavirus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, enterovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus.

    URI Types
    The common cold is the most common URI (hence the name!).  Other types include:

    Bronchitis inflammation of the bronchi (the lungsair tubes)

    Epiglottis inflammation of the upper part of the trachea (epiglottis)

    Laryngitis inflammation of the larynx (vocal cords)

    Pharyngitis inflammation of the pharynx (back of throat)

    Sinusitis inflammation of the sinuses

    Symptoms of URI typically subside by themselves with a little TLC after 7-10 days.  If they get worse or last longer, reach out to your doctor as soon as possible. Signs and symptoms of URIs include:

    • Headaches and body aches
    • Runny nose
    • Fever
    • Congestion
    • Sneezing
    • Coughing
    • Sore throat
    • Increase of snot and mucus

    Treating URIs
    Most URIs are not treatable, because they are caused by viruses.  However, the symptoms can be treated at home with the medications:

    • Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen  – Helps relieve fever, pains from sore throat, body and headaches and sinus pressure.
    • Decongestants Helps relieve congestion, pressure, and sneezing.
    • Antihistamines Helps relieve stuffy nose, sneezing, and runny noses.
    • Saline nasal drops may provide relief from congestion and thick secretions.

    Other things you can do at home to help relieve symptoms include:

    • Get plenty of rest
    • Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking 64 or more ounces of liquid.
    • Use a humidifier or take a hot, steamy shower.
    • Use heat pack on your face to reduce sinus pressure pains

    The Spreading of URIs
    The viruses that cause URIs are spread by direct and indirect contact.  People can inhale small droplets that have been propelled into the air by someone coughing or sneezing.  Or germs can be transferred from a sick person to something like a countertop, toy or doorknob to someone else.

    Avoiding URIs
    If you have COPD or another chronic lung condition, you are at higher risk of developing a URI.  To help lower the risk of developing a URI:

    • Stay away from infected individuals
    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water
    • Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke
    • Make sure you are well rested and hydrated
    • Avoid touching mucous membranes until you have washed your hands
    • Properly vaccinate yourself and family members

    Oxygen Tank vs. Oxygen Concentrator

    Oxygen Tank vs. Oxygen Concentrator

    The terms oxygen tank and oxygen concentrators are often used interchangeably. But contrary to popular understanding, they are not the same. Yes, they both deliver supplemental oxygen to those that need it, but how it is delivered, the devices themselves, and almost everything else is different from there.

    The biggest difference between oxygen tanks and oxygen concentrators is the way the oxygen is provided.  Tanks store a specific amount of compressed oxygen that can be used until it runs out. Concentrators, however, filter the air that surrounds the device to create medical grade oxygen supplying an infinite amount of oxygen as long as the battery is powered.  Oxygen concentrators can be compared to air conditioning units: they both take air in, change it, and deliver it in the new state. Of course, these two differ in that concentrators do not cool the air, but purify it, ridding it of nitrogen and other elements that make breathing difficult. The purified oxygen is then delivered through a nasal cannula. The airflow settings are adjustable and a set pressure is prescribed by a doctor. Another difference between devices is the dosage methods. Tanks deliver a continuous flow, whereas oxygen concentrators can operate on pulse dose delivery, though it varies by device.

    Oxygen concentrators have many advantages over tanks like:

    Oxygen Concentrators are Safe

    Oxygen tanks can start leaking, creating an environment where the air is saturated with pure oxygen.  Air that is enriched with oxygen increases the risk of fire. Because oxygen-induced fires burn hotter and faster than other fires, it is more difficult to put them out.  Oxygen concentrators use the surrounding air and create purified air as needed; there is no risk of leakage, thus reducing the risk of catching fire immensely.

    Oxygen Concentrators are Consistent

    Because an oxygen concentrator uses the surrounding air and purifies that, it will never run out of oxygen, unlike oxygen tanks.  As long as your concentrator has a power supply and is in good working condition, you will have an unlimited amount of oxygen. It is wise to keep a backup battery stored that is fully charged in case of an emergency, like an unexpected power outage.

    Oxygen Concentrators are a More Convenient Size

    Oxygen concentrators are preferred in part because of their convenient size. Tanks are frustratingly bulky and heavy. Portable oxygen concentrators, on the other hand, can be under five pounds.  

    Oxygen Concentrators are a Good Financial Investment

    Buying an oxygen concentrator will, over time, be more financially responsible. Yes, buying a concentrator means a large upfront cost (and, with continued use, replacement filters, and nasal cannulas), but that price is typically less than all the costs incurred with replacement tanks.

    If you need help financing your oxygen concentrator, contact us. We would be happy to come up with a solution. 

    It is always best to talk with your doctor about what which device is best suited for you and your lifestyle.  Be sure to discuss your needs and wants with them. Would you rather rely on batteries or oxygen supply? What is the best size of the device for you?  Overall, your decision should reflect on what gives you the best chance of efficient breathing.

    Tips for Exercising with a Chronic Lung Condition

    Tips for Exercising with a Chronic Lung Condition

    You are not alone if you have a chronic lung condition or disease, like COPD, asthma, or emphysema, and have a difficult time exercising.  Many people that suffer from these (or similar) issues avoid physical activity altogether because of their limiting symptoms. But avoiding working out will only worsen the ailment.  

    Here are a few tips that may help you get through your work out session:

    1. Seek Clearance

    First and foremost, it is important to talk to your doctor before beginning any sort of exercise program or class.  Once youve received medical clearance from your doctor and that youre healthy enough to work out, then proceed with caution; work your way into your programs.

    2. Find Something You Love

    Choose an exercise you like doing.  If you hate biking or swimming, then do not do it!  By selecting a physical activity you enjoy, you are more likely to do it and stick with it.  Not only will you see physical benefits but your happier attitude will help your mental and emotional health, too.

    3. Warm Up and Stretch

    Before you start any part of your workout, be sure your muscles are warm by gently stretching and warming up with easy-on-you movements, like walking or swimming.  By stretching and warming up for five minutes, you can increase flexibility and you also lower the risk of injury.

    4. Use Your Inhaler

    If you require an inhaler, be sure to use it before you start exercising.  Using a bronchodilator prior to physical activity can increase movement tolerance.

    5. Work Your Way Into It

    It is best to start with short 5-10 minute, easy-going sessions a couple times a day and gradually increase their length and intensity. Start with once or twice a week and work your way up to three to four times weekly.

    6. Be Sure to Hydrate

    Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, if youre not on a fluid restriction.  If you fail to drink plenty of water before, during and after an intense workout, you can become dehydrated.

    7. Supplemental Oxygen

    If your doc suggests it, be sure to use your supplemental oxygen during your work out.  Using your oxygen concentrator can increase performance and help with feeling breathless.  It is very important to follow your doctors recommendations.

    8. Make Sure to Cool Down

    Once youve completed your workout, be sure end your session with a quick cool down and stretch.  Your body and heart need time to recover, so slow down for 5 or so minutes before you stop completely.

    9. Skip Exercising if You’re Sick

    Dont exercise if youre sick or experiencing an exacerbation, episode or attack.  Wait to begin exercising again until youve healed completely and your symptoms have stopped.  Once youre feeling better, slowly and gradually work your way back to where you were before you paused.

    10. Notice How You Feel During Physical Activity

    Be sure to notice how you are feeling during your exercise sessions.  Be sure to note extreme shortness of breath, coughing fits or other anything else that causes discomfort.  Youll likely need to report back to your doctor.

    Do I Have COPD? 7 Warning Signs of COPD

    Do I Have COPD? 7 Warning Signs of COPD

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disorder that causes many issues like breathing difficulties and can even lead to death.

    There are more than 15 million people that live in the United States that are living and dealing with COPD. Many more, maybe even millions more, could be suffering from COPD and not even realize it.Symptoms of COPD are similar to symptoms of aging, which is one reason why COPD is so under diagnosed.

    People experiencing any of these symptoms should speak with their doctor right away. The sooner the diagnosis, the better the treatment.  Here are 7 warning signs and symptoms to watch out for.

    Shortness of Breath

    Feeling short of breath is the largest warning sign of COPD.  Simple, everyday tasks (that you were once able to do without losing your breath) like walking the dog and taking the stairs, or not doing anything at all, like laying down or reclined in a chair can leave you breathless.  Feeling out of breath and/or a tightness in your chest is not normal and should be addressed with your doctor right away. Even if it only happens here and there.

    Coughing for No Reason

    A very common symptom of COPD is a nagging cough.  Coughs that dont seem to go away after time or are for no apparent reason (coughs that are not accompanied by other cold/flu symptoms) should be checked out by your doctor stat.  

    Mucus Changes

    Lots of mucus produced by your lungs (versus your sinuses) could be a symptom of COPD.  It is normal for lungs to create some mucus to keep airways moist, but you should chat with your doctor if you notice big changes in mucus production.  Especially if you are producing yellow, green, and/or bloody mucus.

    Swollen Ankles

    People that experience swollen legs, ankles or feet may have COPD.  Swelling happens with blood vessels are not receiving the amount of oxygen they need and strains the heart.  This causes fluid to build up in the body, leaving your lower extremities to swell. Talk to your doc immediately if you notice swelling in your body.

    Unexplained Weight Loss

    People that suffer from COPD tend to lose weight for seemingly no reason.  There are actually a couple of reasons: 1. Your lungs are working harder to allow breathing.  This requires more energy (calories) which can lead to weight loss. 2. Those with COPD can also have a lowered appetite which leads to weight loss.

    Morning Head Aches

    Do you ever wake up with head pain or aches?  This can be a symptom of COPD. As previously mentioned, if your lungs are not properly working, your body will not receive enough oxygen.  Since breathing can be especially difficult while laying down, this leads to mornings of pounding headaches, feeling dizzy or lightheaded.

    Trouble Sleeping

    Another warning sign of COPD is sleeping troubles.  Sleep becomes more difficult because youre unable to breathe effectively, but also because you may be awakened by coughing fits and other problems like sleep apnea or reflux diseases.