Travelling with oxygen? A short guide what to do and what not to do…

Travelling with oxygen by car or other forms of transportation may seem intimidating. With a little planning, it can be easy, and safely, done. Travelling with portable oxygen by Aeroplane, by Cruise ship, by Car, by Train can be done without any stress when you know how. Here are a list of popular destinations that people travel to for holidays.

What to Do…

  • DO allow time to make arrangements for your oxygen needs when travelling long distance, especially if it will be by plane. Each airline has their own policies and procedures for travelling with oxygen. If travelling by car or train, you might need to arrange both portable and a more long-lasting oxygen supply.
  • DO carry your portable tank only in the case supplied with it.
  • DO keep your oxygen delivery system out of the bright sunlight or other heat sources.
  • DO bring extra batteries to power your concentrator in case of emergency.
  • DO be aware that high altitudes, whether flying or just driving in the mountains, can increase your need for supplemental oxygen.

What not to Do…

  • DON’T overlook the fact that portable oxygen tanks can only carry a finite amount of oxygen.
  • DON’T put a portable tank inside a backpack or other carry bag.
  • DON’T place your tank, cylinder or portable concentrator in a car trunk or other tightly enclosed space.

OxygenWorldwide works with Oxygen Suppliers across the globe in over 80 Countries

1,2,3,4,5 tips to manage your COPD

Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) doesn’t mean you have to stop living your life.

Here are 5 tips on lifestyle changes that you can make to help you manage the disease:


1) Stop Smoking
Smoking is the number one cause of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Together these diseases comprise COPD. If you haven’t already quit, it’s very important to take steps to stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation strategies. Even if you do not smoke, people with COPD should avoid all inhaled irritants such as air pollution, dust, or smoke from wood-burning fireplaces.


2) Defend Against Infections
People with COPD are at risk for respiratory infections, which can trigger flare-ups. Infections that affect the airways can often be avoided with good hand-washing hygiene. Cold viruses, for instance, are often passed through touch. Simple soap and running water do a good job of removing potentially infectious germs.


3) Focus on Good Nutrition
Eating right is an important way to keep your body and your immune system strong. It may be helpful to eat smaller meals, more often. Try to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil, and whole grains. Cut back on red meat, sugar, and processed foods. Following this dietary pattern has been shown to help reduce chronic inflammation, while supplying plenty of fibre, antioxidants, and other nutrients to help keep you healthy.


4) Tend to Your Emotional Needs
People living with disabling diseases such as COPD occasionally succumb to anxiety, stress, or depression. Be sure to discuss any emotional issues with your doctor as they may be able to prescribe medications to help you cope or also recommend other approaches to help you cope.


5) Stay Active and Physically Fit
Research shows that exercise training can improve exercise tolerance and improve quality of life among people with mild to moderate COPD. It can also help provide relief from shortness of breath and improve your mental well-being.

OxygenWorldwide are here for all your medical oxygen needs when travelling across the globe.


References: http://www.healthline.com

10 Steps To Improve Oxygen Levels

Take a look at these ideas as in conjunction with your home oxygen therapy a little change could greatly increase your oxygen levels and quality of life.

These 10 ideas will help to improve your oxygen levels:
1.    Open your windows.

Fresh air will bring additional oxygen into your home and even if you are constantly breathing in oxygen through a cannula, whenever you talk or open your mouth fresh air containing higher oxygen levels can be drawn into your body. If you live in a smoggy area then you could consider investing in an air-filtration system.

2.    Have Plants.

They are the opposite of us as they take-in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen. Thereby increasing the foliage and plants in your home will decrease the carbon dioxide and increase the oxygen levels in your home.


3.    Create Aromas.

Many of the chemical-filled candles and various other incense type products actually contain carcinogens. Instead it is better to burn all-natural beeswax candles as then you’ll have better luck breathing in oxygen.


4.    Exercise More.

Even a small amount of exercise will help to improve your respiration ability, as your breathing rate increases and deepens your lungs can absorb more oxygen.

5.    Increase your water intake.

Water is made up of oxygen so by increasing your water consumption you can increase the amount of oxygen in your body.


6.    Go Green.

Eating more fresh, raw green juices is beneficial as they are full of vitamins and minerals which your body utilises to aid in the uptake of oxygen.


7.    Daily Meditation. 

Daily meditation or just simply sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing and taking deep breaths for a few minutes can greatly help in reducing stress and improving your oxygen intake.


8.    Eat lron-rich foods.

Your diet can seriously impact your oxygen levels. Certain foods can help improve your oxygen levels in the blood naturally. Target iron-rich foods such as meats, poultry, fish, legumes and green leafy vegetables as they can improve iron deficiency, which in turn improves blood oxygen levels.


9.    Cut out Salt.

A diet low in sodium can lead to increased oxygenation via the kidney and the blood.


10.    Eat green raw foods.

Oxygen-rich foods can naturally increase your blood oxygen levels. Try eating more green vegetables like kale, broccoli and celery in order to boost your oxygen levels and hopefully breathe easier.

For more information head over to speak to our team at OxygenWorldwide for all your medical oxygen needs when travelling across the world.

Here you can request a non-binding quotation for oxygen services abroad.


References: http://lunginstitute.com

Oxygen is like love

As we approach Valentine’s day and being in the month of love it would be ideal to talk about all the things we admire, love and reach out to. For most oxygen is the dearest thing that is the lifeline to be able to carry on and be able to travel with oxygen, move around with oxygen, stay at home and be with loved ones around you. It is the most important and critical medical need for many.

love is like oxygen

During this time our dearest friends and family are our support network and loving them is so close to our hearts and keeps our spirits up. If you love you health then keeping up with exercises, breathing techniques and being healthy will help to assist continuing being able to do the things we love such as visitig amazing cultures and countries across the globe.

Feeling the love – read our client testimonials here for those who have travelled with medical oxygen via OxygenWorldwide.

M.O.V. – Medical Oxygen Vest.© read on…

 M.O.V. –  Medical Oxygen Vest.©

Rutger Berntsen, founder of international company, OxygenWorldwide has designed and named the M.O.V described as a body warmer vest that was based upon the principles of a portable oxygen concentrator (POC).  This medical oxygen vest contains the necessary equipment to provide medical oxygen to the wearer. The vest would be ideal for oxygen users who require a constant supply of medical oxygen and the life line of being able to be mobile and freely move around without the constraints of a more conventional oxygen device. The M.O.V is designed for e.g. young children or active sport users to give the ability to move around more freely such as going to play a game of golf or running around in the playground.
A portable oxygen concentrator (POC) is normally carried around by means of a shoulder strap. This is not convenient when one has to make movements beyond normal walking. The main advantage of the M.O.V. is that the weight of the equipment in the vest is equally divided over two sides located under the arm pits. The fact that the equipment is ‘concealed’ inside the vest could take away the burden of having to carry around a medical device, which to many medical oxygen users indicates the appearance that you are in fact a ‘patient’. Flexible solar panels are placed on the chest and back of the vest to provide (at this stage) power to the display panel. To make the system fully operational the batteries should (at this stage) be charged by plugging into a AC outlet.
For more information and/or a 3D animation contact: rutgerberntsen@oxygenworldwide.com

WHAT IS PULMONARY HYPERTENSION (PH) ?!

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a condition where the blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries (the blood vessels carrying blood to your lungs) is high. This increased pressure causes progressive damage to the heart and lungs.
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When you exercise the heart beats more quickly to get more oxygen to the muscles. At the same time the pulmonary arteries expand to allow more blood through so that more oxygen can be carried to the muscles. They expand by stretching outwards slightly to create a larger inner area. In a person with PH, the walls of the pulmonary arteries are thicker, so are less able to stretch. Because of this the heart has to work harder to pump blood to the lungs, especially during exercise. If the heart has to work harder than usual over a long period of time then it begins to work less effectively and damage occurs.
PH affects many different types of people. In most people with PH, it is associated with another medical condition:
•    portal hypertension
•    connective tissue disease, eg systemic sclerosis
•    HIV infection
•    congenital heart disease
•    sickle cell anaemia.
Some people develop PH with no known cause which is referred to as idiopathic PH and in some rare cases it can be inherited.
Your stage of PH is classified as shown in the table below, depending upon when your symptoms occur.
WHO classification of PH:
Class    Description
1    No symptoms of any kind. Physical activity does not cause any symptoms
2    Comfortable at rest, but symptoms occur with ordinary physical activity
3    Comfortable at rest, but symptoms occur with less-than-ordinary effort (eg lifting the arms)
4    Symptoms while resting
Treatment for PH can be split into three categories:
•    Conventional therapy (often called background therapy), which can include the following:
•    Oxygen
•    Warfarin
•    Diuretics
•    Targeted therapy
•    Calcium channel blockers
•    Endothelin receptor antagonists
•    Phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors
•    Prostaglandins
•    Surgery
•    Pulmonary endarterectomy
•    Atrial septostomy
•    Transplant surgery
Most patients will have a regime involving a combination of background and targeted treatment which varies from person to person depending upon the cause of the PH and what stage they are at.
Many patients will need oxygen therapy, although some only need it at night. Oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen in the blood and it can also help to relax the arteries in the lungs which leads to reducing the pressure in the pulmonary arteries. Oxygen therapy can reduce tiredness and breathlessness in some people with PH and it can improve concentration and the ability to do everyday tasks.
Having PH can make you tired and lethargic. This may make it more difficult to do ‘normal’, everyday things. Here are some tips from the PHA website from patients to help make life a little easier.
Housework
•    Where possible, avoid bending, lifting or over-stretching when doing housework.
•    Use a lighter vacuum cleaner and iron.
•    Do jobs sitting down where possible – a kitchen stool can really help.
In bed
•    If your duvet is heavy, consider buying a lighter one.
•    Use extra pillows to raise your head and make it easier to breathe.
•    If you use an oxygen concentrator, consider putting it outside the bedroom to avoid the noise disturbing you.
General
•    After a bath, open windows before the house becomes too humid.
•    Have chairs ready for places where you stand (eg, shaving or applying make-up).
•    Slightly larger clothes can be less tiring to put on and take off.
•    Put on a bathrobe straight after a bath or shower to avoid having to towel yourself dry.
•    If bending down to put your shoes on is difficult, use a long-handled shoehorn.
Out and about
•    Plan ahead to avoid having to rush.
•    Consider asking for a wheelchair.
•    If you drive, carry spare medication in the car.
References: http://www.phassociation.uk.com and www.who.int

Would You Like Your Very Own Robot?!

robot
Home Oxygen Therapy is a medical treatment for patients suffering from chronic lung diseases. It involves the use of an oxygen concentrator to deliver oxygen via a nasal cannula or face mask to the patient and some may require being tethered to the machine on a constant basis. COPD is an umbrella term for these conditions and patients have restricted airflow through the lungs and experience coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. The effect on quality of life can be significant and some are unable to participate in physical activities and require help to move. Home oxygen therapy aims to improve the patient’s freedom, health and quality of life by allowing treatment at home. Patients are encouraged to try and maintain a certain level of activity as research has shown that if exercise and mobility are retained then lung capacity and respiration improves.
However some patients find this difficult as they are tethered to a pressurized oxygen container via tubing and the weight, which is typically 4kg, can make transporting and lifting awkward especially for the more elderly patients. Some patients use a small hand cart to transport their equipment around or use a portable unit which they can carry over their shoulder.  Despite the huge benefits of H.O.T it still imposes restrictions on the user’s movements, mobility, ability to participate in certain activities and quality of life.
A Follower Robot has been devised to help improve these patient’s lives. The robot can carry the equipment thereby reducing the physical burden and increasing freedom of movement. It is capable of following the patient’s movements and can follow behind the patient. It is simple to use, low weight, compact and at a low cost.
They have started testing these robots on H.O.T users to see if they are indeed beneficial and can aid them in their daily activities efficiently. Most users have found the robot easy to use and to manoeuvre with. It is hoped that after more trials are completed it can be manufactured and sold commercially for COPD patients. These robots could drastically improve patient’s lives allowing them to easily move around and enjoy more out of life which could have a positive effect on their health also. More importantly, how amazing would it be to have your own robot?!
References:  www.robomechjournal.com and http://link.springer.com

Respiratory Breakthrough!?!

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Scientists claim to have found the root cause of asthma which could also aid in the treatment of other respiratory diseases like COPD. This breakthrough could mean that there could be a new treatment within 5 years.
They have found a protein within the airways which they believe triggers an asthma attack. Asthmatics seem to have higher levels of this protein and when they breathe in a trigger such as dust or pollen these protein molecules cause a rapid increase of calcium within lung tissue cells. High levels of calcium within these cells make them contract and cause the airway spasms which trigger an asthma attack.
The presence of this protein makes cells more sensitive to any asthma triggers, which then makes an attack much more likely.
A drug already exists which can deactivate the protein and clinical trials could start within 2 years, raising hope that a treatment could be available within 5 years.
It is hoped that a few courses of treatment would be enough to stop asthma attacks. Not only this but there is hope that it may have a role in tackling COPD and chronic bronchitis for which there is currently no treatment. Hopefully at a minimum it may prevent flare-ups for these patients and make them less susceptible to the triggers such as dust, smoke and pollen, which can stimulate a severe respiratory event. This could help COPD sufferers enjoy fewer flare-ups and less respiratory distress improving their ability to lead more normal lives.
References: www.dailymail.co.uk/health

The dangers of summer

Whatever stage your respiratory disease may be at, preventing flare-ups is highly important to ensure you stay as healthy as possible and to keep your breathing as easy as possible. This means you need to be aware of the triggers and eliminating any exposure to cigarette smoke, fire smoke, dust, chemicals, excessive wind and pollution. Breathing can also be difficult at temperatures around or below freezing, above 90 degrees F, or on days with high humidity, ozone levels or pollen counts.
sea
Many patients have a component of asthma and some prefer warm, dry climates whereas others may prefer more humid environments.
Extreme hot or cold conditions can put stress on the entire body. In order to maintain a constant body temperature, you exert additional energy to warm or cool it down. This additional energy requirement also increases the amount of oxygen that your body is using. Breathing hot or cold air can also have a drying or irritating effect on the airway causing bronchospasm (contraction of the smooth muscle that surrounds the airway). This decreases the size of the airway and makes it more difficult to get the air in and out of the lung, increasing shortness of breath.
In general most patients find that they prefer minimal humidity levels of about 40%. This is also true of indoor humidity levels which can be difficult to maintain throughout the year, if it is a hot summer or a cold winter with the heating on. You can purchase a humidifier that works with your heating system or independent units for single rooms. De-humidifiers can also be purchased to help lower the humidity in certain rooms.
High indoor humidity is often also the source of mould growth in the home which is another trigger, as well as an increase in common indoor air pollutants like dust mites, cockroaches, bacteria and viruses. Also as humidity increases, the density of the air increases. This more dense air creates more resistance to airflow in the airway, resulting in an increased work of breathing (i.e. more shortness of breath).
Look out for common signs of high humidity:
•    flooding or rainwater leaks from the roof or basement/crawl space
•    poorly connected pipes or leaky pipes under sinks or in showers
•    carpet that remains damp
•    poorly ventilated bathrooms and kitchens
•    condensation build-up from humidifiers and dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and drip pans under refrigerators/freezers
Here are some helpful pointers for when it is hot, although many are applicable to other weather conditions as well:
1.    Drink plenty of fluids, fairly obvious for Australians, but please take into account if you have a fluid restriction.
2.    Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
3.    Plan your activities carefully. Try to organise your activities or exercise for the coolest times of the day – early in the morning, or in the evening. When driving, park in shady areas if possible, and choose places to go that are air conditioned. Place sun protectors in your car when it is parked.
4.    Keep cool, indoors. Use your air-conditioner if you have one and remember you do not need it to be freezing cold. A second benefit of the air conditioner is that it removes a great deal of humidity from the air as it cools it. If an air conditioner is not available, use fans and open windows to circulate the air during hot days. Special programmes are available in many places.
5.    Use the buddy system. This means making sure that someone contacts you at least twice a day to check that you are OK.
6.    Avoid rigorous exercise or excess activity.
7.    Take your medications as directed.
8.    Pay attention to weather reports.
References: www.healthline.com and http://lungfoundation.com and https://rotech.com

OXYGEN ALSO NEEDS NITRIC OXIDE FOR US TO BREATHE!

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A new study conducted by Jonathan Stamler, a professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, OH, and colleagues has shown that the respiratory cycle involves three gases and not just two. He says their findings will transform our understanding of the respiratory cycle and could save lives as it will alter our treatments of various associated diseases linked to the respiratory system and also affect blood banks.
The current understanding is that the respiratory cycle uses blood to transport two gases – oxygen and carbon dioxide. Red blood cells pick up freshly inhaled oxygen from the lungs and carry it to cells in the tissues of the body; and then they bring back carbon dioxide as a waste product to be exhaled from the lungs.
However their study has proven that without the presence of Nitric Oxide it doesn’t matter how high the oxygen level is, the cells cannot accept the oxygen without it. The researchers show how nitric oxide controls the blood flow in small blood vessels inside tissue in a process known as “blood flow auto regulation.” It is the Nitric Oxide that controls the release of oxygen from red blood cells into the tissues that need it. Haemaglobin in the Red Blood Cells needs to be also carrying Nitric Oxide to enable blood vessels to open and to supply the oxygen it is carrying to the tissues.
Prof Stamler says “Within the tissues, the tiny vessels and the red blood cells together make up the critical entity controlling blood flow. Red blood cell dysfunction is likely a hidden contributor to diseases of the heart, lung and blood such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke and ischemic injury to kidneys.”
If you suffer from a condition where there is a lack of oxygen uptake to your cells, it may not be the answer just to increase the oxygen supply, but to also look at whether your Red Blood Cells are functioning correctly and if there is an adequate Nitric Oxide supply. Then if necessary treat the Red Blood Cell problem in conjunction with oxygen therapy.
The study also has implications for blood transfusions. Recent evidence shows that blood transfusions lacking nitric oxide have been linked to higher risk of heart attacks, disease and death. It’s not enough to just increase oxygen content of the blood via a blood transfusion. If the Nitric Oxide mechanism is failing then the oxygen will not be able to make it to its destination. Blood in blood banks are known to be deficient in Nitric Oxide and transfusing this blood may actually make things worse by plugging up blood vessels in tissues and to solve this the nation’s blood should be replenished with Nitric Oxide.
It may be the case that many sufferers on oxygen therapy in the future could be helped and treated even more by investigating their Nitric Oxide levels, as there could be additional failings in their respiratory system that could be investigated and more successfully treated.
References: www.medicalnewstoday.com and www.sciencedaily.com