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The Importance of Oxygen in Managing COPD

For the millions of Americans who are diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) each year, the types of treatments they take and lifestyle changes they make will determine how good they feel each day. While there may not be a “cure” for COPD in the traditional sense, there are many things that you can do to alleviate your symptoms and help your body maintain balance. Supplemental oxygen is one of the most common things that doctors prescribe for their COPD patients, and it can be quite beneficial.

Your lungs are designed to bring in fresh oxygen every time you inhale, and release carbon dioxide every time you exhale. If your lungs aren’t functioning properly, like in COPD, you may have trouble with this vital process. When you aren’t able to get enough oxygen into your bloodstream, or you have too much carbon dioxide, you may feel tired, short of breath, mentally foggy, and may sleep poorly.

Not everyone with COPD needs supplemental oxygen, but if your doctor recommends this treatment, it can help you feel much better. Oxygen can:

  • Reduce the strain on your heart
  • Allow you to exercise longer and/or harder
  • Help you think more clearly
  • Give you a better night’s sleep

This oxygen therapy, usually delivered through portable oxygen concentrators, may be more convenient and affordable than you think. Your doctor will let you know how much oxygen you’ll need, and what type of delivery system is best for you.

If you have more questions about your oxygen needs, and choosing a concentrator, reach out to us at Portable Oxygen Solutions!

Managing Your COPD at Work

There are many people who have not yet retired, who are living with pulmonary diseases like COPD. Holding down a job with this kind of illness can be a challenge at times, and when your symptoms are especially bad, it may be hard to motivate yourself to work. But take it as a good sign if you are able to work, even part-time, with COPD! If you want to keep being able to earn an income, and keep your illness in check, here are a few tips that may help:

1. Ask for accommodations

Many employers are more than happy to make reasonable accommodations for you, so you can continue to work, even with COPD symptoms. Consider talking to your supervisor about things like: accessible parking, more frequent work breaks, a smoke-free area, or other small ways to make things easier.

2. Have oxygen on hand

If you rely on supplemental oxygen, like many people do, it’s important that you keep your portable concentrator with you at all times, along with extra oxygen if possible. This is a simple way that you can stay feeling your best. Look for a concentrator that is small, lightweight, and quiet for the workplace.

3. Connect with your motivation

It can be hard to get up for work when you have COPD, but it can be nice to remind yourself of all the reasons why you like your job, or how it brings value to your life. Perhaps you enjoy the feeling of independence, social support, or mental stimulation.

Want to learn more about living well with COPD? Reach out to us at Portable Oxygen Solutions, and speak with one of our friendly representatives today!

COPD and Fall Weather: How to Stay Healthy

People with respiratory illnesses like COPD are particularly susceptible to seasonal weather changes. Things like temperature swings, wind, humidity changes, and allergens can all exacerbate COPD symptoms, so it’s important to have a plan for when the weather turns. Even though cooler temperatures and lower humidity may initially ease your symptoms, things like decaying leaves, drying grass, and other signs of fall can make breathing more difficult.

Whether you are newly diagnosed with COPD, or you have lived with it for a while, it never hurts to have some good tips in mind, to help you stay as healthy as possible during the autumn season:

1. Wear a facemask

Don’t shut yourself indoors during the beautiful fall weather- invest in a good quality face mask instead. This will allow you to be outside, but protect you from inhaling things like dust, mold spores, and other irritants that may be flying around on the breeze.

2. Drink warm liquids

This is a great season to start making hot herbal teas and ciders, which can help to open the airways, relax muscles, and improve circulation. Reach for non-caffeinated tea throughout the day, or make non-dairy hot cocoa for a special treat.

3. Avoid colds/flus

Seasonal illnesses can make your COPD symptoms much worse, so do your best to stay healthy. Wash your hands often, avoid sick people when possible, and increase your intake of immune-boosting foods like chicken soup, fresh oranges, and elderberry syrup.

Your oxygen needs may also change during this time of year, so if you need help finding the right oxygen concentrator for you, we’re here to help. 

How to Exercise With COPD

Most of us know that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but if you’re living with a chronic disease like COPD, it can be hard to know how to exercise without exacerbating your symptoms. In the majority of cases, aerobic exercise can actually help to alleviate symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, and insomnia.

If you are looking for a way to get in shape, while managing your COPD, make exercise part of your routine. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Talk to your doctor first

It’s always best to chat with your doctor about starting a new exercise program. They will be able to guide you on how much, and what types of exercise you can tolerate to start. Plus, they can help you keep track of your progress, as you get fitter.

2. Get the right oxygen concentrator

When you’re on the move, whether that’s walking around the block or riding a bike at the gym, you’re going to need adequate oxygen support. Make sure you adjust your oxygen needs, and find a lightweight, portable concentrator that allows you to move freely!

3. Warm up and cool down

Don’t jump right into intensive activity, without taking time to warm up your muscles and lungs. Start slowly, stretch, and ease into it. Also, don’t go directly from exercise to sitting down- give yourself a chance to cool off and do some more stretching, before going to your next activity.

Need help understanding your oxygen needs for exercise with COPD? Reach out to us at Portable Oxygen Solutions today!

Pollution and COPD: Tips to Cope

If you have a respiratory illness like COPD, you have to be more mindful of the air that you breathe. And these days, air quality can be hit or miss. Air pollution is a serious issue, and depending on where you live, can be something that prevents you from going outside at all. Everyone is different, but most people find themselves to be sensitive to air pollutants, and these things can exacerbate COPD symptoms. Some of the most common pollution sources include:

  • Outdoor: smog/ozone, car exhaust (nitrogen dioxide), soot/coal particulate, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, wood ash, other small toxic particle pollution
  • Indoor: cigarette/cigar smoke, carbon monoxide, artificial fragrances and air fresheners, radon, off-gassing from furniture and/or building materials, toxic cleaning or household products

In order to best manage your COPD symptoms, it’s critical that you do your best to avoid air pollutants both inside and outside of your home. Make small changes to your own home lifestyle, to eliminate toxins, and also invest in quality air filters. As for the outdoor pollution, you don’t have much control over that, but you can protect yourself in a few ways:

  • Wear a filtered mask when going outdoors
  • Avoid doing a lot of travel or physical activity on “red air days” or ozone advisory days in your area
  • Avoid standing near idling vehicles
  • Step away from the gas pump while filling up
  • Go outside during early mornings or later in the evenings, when pollutants are lower
  • Always have your portable oxygen concentrator with you

Want to learn more about how to manage your COPD symptoms, or how to choose the right oxygen for your needs? Reach out to us at Portable Oxygen Solutions today!

Taking Care of Your Mental Health Is Important for Those With COPD

Living with any kind of medical condition can be stressful, but especially when that condition is disabling, and requires routine treatment. For those living with COPD and other pulmonary disorders, it can feel frustrating and isolating at times, and many experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. While it’s important to continue following your doctor’s orders for things like supplemental oxygen, diet, and exercise, it’s also a good idea to take extra care of your mental and emotional health.

So what are some tips that you can use, to prioritize your mental well-being? Here are some to keep in mind:

1. Talk to someone

Thankfully, the stigma around seeing a counselor or therapist is slowly fading, because this kind of behavioral and talk therapy can be very beneficial. Find a provider that is familiar with chronic diseases like COPD, if possible.

2. Find your joy

No matter how you’re feeling physically, try to make time each day to do something that you love. Watch a funny video, play with your pets, make music or art, or socialize with a good friend.

3. Get outside

The healing and uplifting power of nature is always at your fingertips, so make time to go outside, even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes. Breathe in the fresh air, sit in the sunshine, or do something active like gardening or hiking.

Resist the urge to ignore your blue moods or anxious thoughts, and be proactive about your mental health. This will help you feel better overall, and have an improved quality of life. Want to learn more about living with COPD? Reach out to us and speak with one of our representatives today!

Summer Travel Tips for Those with COPD

The season of vacations and reunions is upon us, and thousands of people will be traveling in the next few months. If you have COPD or another pulmonary disorder, there’s no reason why you should stay home and let everyone else have the fun. With the right attitude and preparation, you can enjoy traveling and spending time with your loved ones this summer. Here are a few tips to keep in mind, as you get ready for your upcoming seasonal trips:

1. Get the right oxygen concentrator

When you’re equipped with a light, portable oxygen concentrator that you can count on, travel is so much easier. Look for one that is user-friendly and travel-ready with ergonomic straps, multiple flow settings, and a small unit. Also, don’t forget to pack extra oxygen tanks, so you can have the support you need, wherever you go.

2. Plan for some down time

Instead of packing your travel itinerary with nonstop activity, make sure you leave time every day for rest. Getting adequate downtime, where you can relax and recover, is essential for anyone with an illness like COPD.

3. Avoid the heat

Much of the country experiences high heat and humidity throughout the summer, so just be mindful of the climate and weather forecast for your destination. Pack cool, breathable clothing and a sun hat, and plan to be indoors during the hottest part of the day, if possible.

When you can anticipate your travel needs, you can enjoy your vacation even more. If you need help finding the right portable oxygen concentrator for your COPD, reach out to us today!

Getting Good Sleep With COPD

We all know that sleep is important for our health, but for anyone living with a chronic disease like COPD, this nightly rest becomes critical. Solid, refreshing sleep can boost the immune system, improve cognitive function, and help us feel our best. However, some illnesses, especially those that affect the airways, can make sleeping difficult. There are many things that may interfere with your ability to get good sleep every night, including:

  • Uncomfortable sleeping positions
  • Certain medications
  • Sleep apnea
  • Acid reflux
  • Anxiety and depression

Solving the puzzle of poor sleep often requires the help of a trained medical professional, so don’t forget to talk with your doctor about ways to improve your rest quality. In the meantime, here are a few things to consider trying:

1. Oxygen therapy

The right amount of oxygen, delivered straight to your airways via mask or nasal cannula, can help the brain relax.

2. Sleep medications

If they will not interfere with your current medications, certain sleep drugs may assist you in getting deep rest.

3. Bedroom detox

Remove allergens, dust, and chemicals that may irritate the airways from your sleeping area. Add a HEPA filter too, if you are especially sensitive.

4. Relaxation techniques

When your body and brain just won’t quiet down, try things like meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises to get in a restful state of mind.

Want more tips on how to manage your COPD, or choose the right oxygen concentrator for you? Reach out and speak with one of our representatives today.

Spring Allergies and COPD

Springtime is a wonderful time of the year, with the flowers beginning to bloom, and the weather turning warmer. However, as the leaves unfurl and the grass turns green, seasonal allergies can crop up, potentially exacerbating COPD symptoms. COPD already comes with difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath, but when you add on allergy symptoms, it can get pretty miserable!

Allergies are typically not serious, but more of a nuisance. However, if you are already living with a pulmonary condition like COPD, it’s worth taking extra precautions during allergy season. Here are a few tips to help you manage:

1. Avoid allergens when possible

If you tend to have trouble breathing on windy spring days, try to avoid going outside during those times. You may also have to avoid parks and other nature areas during the height of the bloom. Pay attention to your local pollen alerts, and use your best judgement.

2. Filter your indoor air

When outdoor allergens are high, they tend to make their way inside too. Make sure you have a HEPA filtration system for your indoor air, and/or have portable air filters in the rooms you spend the most time in.

3. Use OTC medication

For those who suffer significantly during allergy season, it may be worth trying OTC allergy meds like Zyrtec, Benadryl, nasal steroids, or inhalers. Talk to your doctor about options that are safe for your COPD.

Want more tips on managing COPD symptoms in allergy season? Reach out to one of our friendly technicians today!

COPD and Relationships: Tips for Success

Living with any kind of chronic illness can put stress on your relationships, and too many people tend to withdraw from their friends, partners, and other loved ones after a diagnosis. However, even if you have a condition such as COPD, it doesn’t automatically mean that all of your relationships are doomed. You can make choices that will help all of your connections, both romantic and platonic, grow in a positive way.

Here are some tips for maintaining healthy relationships, while managing your COPD:

1. Advocate for yourself

Only you can truly understand your body and your limits, so don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. Don’t overcommit or overextend yourself, but instead be honest with people about where you can go and how much you can handle. This open communication will be helpful for you and them!

2. Schedule time together

For those with chronic illness, calendars can be hard to coordinate. Between rest time, medical appointments, errands, and other activities, it’s easy to forget about quality time with our loved ones. Set specific times to meet with your friends, or have a date night with your partner.

3. Embrace all of you

We all want truly authentic, supportive relationships, and this requires a certain amount of vulnerability. Don’t be afraid to talk about your COPD or things you’re struggling with, but also focus on your unique gifts and capabilities too. Be yourself, and be present, and your loved ones will thank you.

Want to learn more about how to manage life with COPD? Reach out to speak with one of our friendly technicians today!


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