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Portable Oxygen and COPD Blog

Portable Oxygen and COPD Blog

Why Self-Care is So Important With COPD

Living with any kind of chronic or degenerative condition can take a toll on someone’s mind and spirit. Even if you are following doctor’s orders, taking your meds, and using your oxygen, you may struggle with your limitations sometimes. It can be frustrating, especially if you are newly diagnosed, having to think about these extra things that come with COPD. It’s important to invest in your self-care, so you can feel mentally and emotionally as good as possible.

There are many things that count as “self-care,” which is a concept that is talked about a lot these days. The basic idea is that you are worthy of having some rest, of eating healthy food, of treating yourself to a bubble bath, or of carving out your “me” time, so you can feel refreshed. It’s not sustainable, to constantly be working or on the go, with no time for taking care of your mind, body, or spirit. This is especially true for those with COPD.

Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s a basic part of being human, and ensuring that you can make the most out of your days. Here are some examples of good self-care:

  • Getting an extra hour of sleep
  • Enjoying a quiet morning of reading, meditation, or prayer
  • Choosing a healthier option at a restaurant
  • Prioritizing your medical or therapy appointments
  • Meeting with a counselor or support group
  • Saying “no” to invitations when you know they would drain you
  • Taking your medications and vitamins as directed
  • Stretching or moving your body

Invest in yourself and take care of all the aspects of who you are. This will make living with COPD much easier.

COPD and Air Pollution

One of the major symptom triggers for those with COPD is air pollution. Unfortunately, there is very little we can do to control the air quality in the area that we live or travel to. Large cities, construction zones, and agricultural areas are some of the worst offenders to our lungs, putting out large amounts of toxins like ash and soot, pesticides, diesel fuel, VOCs, and other contaminants. However, even if you live in the quiet suburbs, you still need to be careful of the air you breathe.

COPD can be exacerbated by air pollution, and for some sensitive individuals, may even cause serious episodes that could require emergency medical care. If you live in a heavily polluted area, or construction has been started in your neighborhood, it’s time to be proactive about your health. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Utilize face masks on poor air quality days, or whenever you are outside
  • Talk to your doctor about starting or increasing your use of inhalers, steroids, or bronchodilators
  • Use a good quality HEPA air filter in your home
  • Try to exercise indoors when pollution is particularly bad
  • Always keep your portable oxygen concentrator with you, especially when traveling through the city

Whether it’s cigarette smoke, car exhaust, farming chemicals, or another source of air pollution, it’s a good idea to be prepared for whatever you may encounter. Don’t stress too much over the things you cannot control (like outdoor air quality), but simply take steps to better protect yourself when you have COPD.

Need help choosing the right portable oxygen concentrator for you? Reach out to us today!

Staying Fit With COPD

When you’re living with a pulmonary disease like COPD, it’s all too easy to lose fitness and strength over time. When you feel limited by your symptoms, it can be hard to prioritize exercising or being active in general. However, being sedentary can reduce your quality of life, and even allow the disease to progress faster. So, it’s important to prioritize your exercise and movement, so you can feel as well as you possibly can, for many years into the future!

Working with your doctor or other healthcare provider, you can put together a plan for you to maintain or build your fitness level. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Make sure you have the right amount of oxygen

Don’t try to start a new exercise program before talking with an oxygen expert. Choose a lightweight, portable concentrator that allows you to move freely, and delivers enough oxygen to meet your needs.

2. Start slowly

Ease into your exercise and give yourself permission to pace yourself as slowly as you need to. Start with just a few minutes a day of light to moderate activity, and gradually work your way up, depending on your current condition.

3. Warm up and cool down

Take time to gently warm up your body, before doing more structured activities like walking, jogging, swimming, or riding a bike. Likewise, allow your body to cool down and stretch, before transitioning into rest again.

Need more tips on how to manage your COPD or choose the right oxygen concentrator for you? Reach out to us today! 

Spring Allergies and COPD

For many people, the arrival of springtime is a wonderful thing. New blooms start popping up, the temperatures rise, and the whole world seems to come alive. However, for those with pulmonary disorders like COPD, the allergens in the spring air can cause difficulty with breathing and functioning fully.

If you want to stay as healthy as possible this spring, here are a few tips to manage your environmental allergies:

1. Choose wisely when to be outside

For both COPD and seasonal allergies, it’s important to spend the majority of your outdoor time when the air quality is the best. Try to avoid it during poor/”red” air quality days, or on days when it’s particularly windy.

2. Change clothes when you get home

To avoid contaminating your entire home or bedroom with allergens, change your clothes when you come inside. Keep your outdoor clothes in a hamper or mudroom.

3. Replace your air filters

Springtime often means open windows and doors, and more outside time for you and members of your household. Consider changing your air filters now, to best handle the influx of allergens.

4. Use medication if needed

Sometimes, in order to breathe, those with COPD need to use medications, either Rx or OTC. If you’re really struggling with shortness of breath, clogged sinuses, or other symptoms, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about a medicine that might help you.

Having the right amount of oxygen is also key in managing springtime allergies for those with COPD. Need help choosing the right portable concentrator for you? Reach out to us today!

COPD Breathing Exercises

If you’ve been diagnosed with COPD or other similar pulmonary disorder, chances are good that your doctor has given you several tools to manage your illness. Perhaps you have been advised to use supplemental oxygen, or to exercise, or have been given the number for a local support group. One other thing that some physicians recommend is to do certain breathing techniques. This is a kind of physical therapy, which may help keep your muscles stronger, and alleviate some symptoms of COPD.

Like with most exercises, the more often you do these, the more benefit you will receive. If your doctor gives you the green light, consider adding these breathing techniques to your daily routine:

1. Deep belly breathing

Also known as “diaphragmatic breathing,” this exercise invites you to take deep breaths into your lower abdomen. Using the muscles of your diaphragm, you can increase the amount of oxygen you get with each breath. Lie down on your back, and place your hands on your stomach area. Breath deeply, watching your hands lift gently. Then, on the exhale, gently push all the air out, using your abdominal muscles. Repeat 5-10 times.

2. Pursed lip breathing

One technique that may ease shortness of breath is pursed lip breathing. By controlling the flow of your exhale, you can better regulate your breath rate and perhaps calm your nerves too. Begin by closing your mouth, and inhaling slowly through your nose, for two seconds. Then, imagine that you are sucking a straw, making your mouth into an “O” shape. Exhale smoothly and evenly through your pursed lips for four seconds. Repeat 5-10 times.

There are many ways that you can live your best life with COPD. Want more tips, or need help choosing the right oxygen for your needs? Get in touch with us today!

New Year's Resolutions for Those With COPD

Another year has come to a close, and many people are looking ahead at ways they want to take better care of themselves. If you want to make this coming year a great one for your health, it can be a nice idea to set some resolutions. Especially if you are living with a chronic illness like COPD, putting your well-being first can take some practice and dedication.

Here are a few ideas for healthy New Year's resolutions to better manage your COPD:

1. Drink more water

Good hydration is key for overall health, but especially to thin mucus in the lungs and airways. Keep a bottle/glass of cool, clean, filtered water with you at all times.

2. Address sleep issues

Many people struggle with sleep, and this can make COPD symptoms worse. If you have a hard time sleeping, resolve to talk to your doctor about it this year, and find a way to get your zzz’s.

3. Increase your activity

There are many ways to stay active, even for those who aren't able to do more strenuous things like bike riding. Consider trying fun, low-impact activities like yoga, tai chi, swimming, or gardening this year.

4. Watch air quality

The air in your environment can make a big impact on your COPD, so make a resolution to clean up your indoor air, as well as keep a better eye on the outdoor air quality.

5. Find support

You don’t have to handle the challenges of COPD all on your own. Reach out to a local support group, open up to a friend, or join a community of like-minded people.

Want more ideas on how to manage your COPD? Reach out to us today!

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!


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