The benefits of oxygen can be felt by anyone, not just those suffering from a medical condition and requiring supplemental oxygen. We can all find easy ways to increase our oxygen levels naturally through breathing exercises, general exercise, getting more fresh air and eating a balanced diet of foods that help increase oxygenation in our blood.
The general benefits that oxygen brings to our body includes:
• Create energy
• Digest food
• Eliminate toxins from the body
• Fuel the body muscles
• Metabolize fat and carbohydrates
• Increased clarity
• Transport gases across cell membranes
• Strengthen our immune system
• Manufacture hormones and proteins
• Remove viruses, parasites and harmful bacteria
• Keeps the heart pumping and healthy
• Incites the lungs to breathe
• Allow the nerve system, and all other body tissues to function normally
Increasing your oxygenation levels and being fit and healthy has shown to be important for your health as optimum oxygen levels can improve wound healing, vision, mental clarity and intelligence, boost your immune system, help fight cancer cells, reduce stress levels, improve your heart and respiration and help you to lose weight.
For those people who use supplemental oxygen at home there are also long-term benefits:
• Prolongs life by reducing heart strain
• Decreases shortness of breath
• Makes exercise more tolerable
• Results in fewer days of hospitalization
• Improves sleeping
• Improves quality of life
Additional Benefits of Oxygen:
With increased oxygen levels the red blood cells can become fully saturated to provide their maximum potential of oxygen to our cells. Waste gases and toxins are removed more efficiently and cells can perform optimally. Many viruses and bacteria are anaerobic and cannot survive in oxygenated conditions. Oxygen can help build persistence to infections as it not only boosts the immune system but prevents anaerobic organisms from thriving. Oxygen also helps to neutralise acids such as lactate acid which builds up from high-working muscles. It improves wound healing by generating capillaries to grow into the wound to provide blood flow and oxygen to the injured cells to boost regeneration. It generally boosts all chemical pathways in our body and we can burn more fat. We feel better, our body is healthier and we think more clearly because of increased oxygenation.
Recent research has also discovered other benefits:
• Removes free radicals
• Reduces tissue swelling
• Increases energy metabolism in the brain
• Can create sustained cognitive improvement
• Wakes up idling brain cells that are metabolising enough to stay alive but are not actively ‘firing’
• Deactivates toxins and poisons (e.g. side effects from some chemotherapy, spider bites, air pollution, etc.)
• Enhances wound healing (stimulates new capillaries into wounds)
• Acts as an anti-inflammatory
Oxygen is required for nearly every mechanism within our body and by ensuring your body has the optimal levels of oxygen will improve your general medical health and well-being.
Too much oxygen however has a negative impact on our health which is why supplemental oxygen needs to be prescribed and regulated by a doctor to ensure that no oxidative stress occurs on the body which could lead to heart and respiration problems and necrosis.
Cigarettes on their own are the leading cause of house fires, but add to this the risk of oxygen being stored in the home and the danger dramatically increases.
Over the last few years there have been a staggering number of reports of people on home oxygen therapy being admitted to hospital with facial burns, eyebrows and hair burned off, death, smoke inhalation injuries and fire damage to their homes in the thousands of pounds. These occurred because they or a friend/family member were smoking whilst the patient’s oxygen equipment was in use.
However, do not interpret this to mean that oxygen therapy is something to be afraid of, it just needs to be respected.
General Advice when using oxygen equipment:
• If you’re on oxygen, DO NOT smoke.
• If you live with or visit someone on oxygen, DO NOT smoke around them.
• Stay away from open flames, sparks, and gas (including gas stoves).
• Turn the oxygen off while not in use.
• Avoid petroleum-based products.
• Do not use aerosol sprays nearby.
• Comply with all safety instructions provided by your home medical equipment company.
• Keep your oxygen concentrator in a well-ventilated area.
• Never allow the tubing, cannula, or mask to be covered, as it can result in a build-up of concentrated oxygen.
• Keep the name and number of your home medical equipment provider in a prominent spot for reference.
• Post a sign stating ‘DANGER: No Smoking-Oxygen in Use’ for the benefit of engineers or visitors.
There are also health risks associated with smoking while on oxygen therapy. Smoking is the most common cause of many medical conditions associated with the requirement of oxygen therapy. Smoking got you here therefore it is highly recommended that you put as much effort as possible into trying to give up this harmful addiction, or to at least cut down. Smoking more will just continue to damage your lungs and increase the deterioration of your respiratory capability and make you increasingly more dependent upon supplemental oxygen. Using supplemental oxygen can improve your health and improve your medical condition but if you smoke you are hampering the possible medical benefits of the treatment.
There should be a respectful balance between your own lifestyle choices, your medical needs and the safety of yourself and others around you. Be aware of the dangers and make sure you take all possible safety precautions.
References: http://lambertshc.com and http://scienceblogs.com