A new survey has shown that 75% of people who suffer with asthma blame their illness for a significant reduction in productivity at work and asthma patients on average miss 3 hours of work a week due to their illness. The survey also showed how patients are also feeling that they have a lack of productivity when it comes to household chores and daily activities as well as at work.
All 1,598 patients surveyed were taking their prescribed medications and were from various countries. 74% reported issues around productivity at work and also 3 hours of work missed a week. 9% reported a complete inability to work and 67% reported sleep disturbances.
The survey was conducted by the Think.Act.Breathe campaign who help asthma patients identify personal risk and improve immediate and long-term risk of asthma exacerbations.
Dr. Kevin Gruffydd-Jones, lead author of the report said the findings illustrate how asthma can impact a patient’s economic burden, even while on medication.
“People with asthma often accept their symptoms and the impact they have on their daily lives. It is important that people with asthma talk to their doctor about how their asthma is affecting them at work, their sleep and daily life, and to discuss what more could be done to help them feel better and live life to the full.”
Asthma may cause physical and mental affects as well as the obvious physical ones and can have an impact on your whole life. Only 13% reported no impact on their work but 23% reported feeling tired and weak at work as well as 18% feeling mentally strained. 51% also stated that their symptoms had a negative impact upon their ability to complete daily chores outside of work.
“Asthma affects millions of people worldwide and most people with asthma have low expectations of what can be achieved by asthma management and don’t realise that their condition can be improved,” said Boehringer Ingelheim’s Head of Respiratory Medicine.
Many people get an initial diagnosis and treatment but never go back to the doctors for a check-up. However symptoms change and science moves forward and it is important to go back to your doctor regularly especially if symptoms lessen or worsen. New drugs, new treatment methods, breathing techniques and supplemental oxygen among other things could be available to you to help to improve your quality of life, reduce the frequency of exacerbations and lessen symptoms. Sleep disturbances could be due to sleep apnoea which could be eased with supplemental oxygen and a slight change to your treatment could greatly improve your oxygen levels, sleep and breathing which would greatly improve your productivity at work and at home.
ieCrowd has recently announced that they have achieved a huge milestone by designing an advanced supplemental oxygen delivery device called Smart Oxygen. It is designed to be used by patients suffering with diseases such as COPD. The device has the ability to automatically adjust to the patient’s oxygen needs, even if they are constantly changing, through analysing the level of activity.
It has been confirmed by the FDA that the Smart Oxygen device has been submitted for approval by the FDA as it would need several bench and laboratory performance tests before it can be approved for commercial marketing. It is expected that if the device passes all testing criteria then it could be available in the early part of 2016.
The device can adjust automatically on a breath-by-breath basis. It uses an algorithm which is patent-pending, to allow it to deliver a specific dose of oxygen in response to the respiratory pattern that the patient is exhibiting. If the device is enabled to respond to a patient’s changing metabolic activities and oxygen requirements then the patient will receive the specific and appropriate amount of oxygen when they are carrying out activities that require short bursts of increased oxygen consumption, such as climbing the stairs, walking or exercising. This then maintains satisfactory blood oxygen levels without the need to manually adjust the oxygen flow rate (which patients are not recommended to do themselves anyway). This results in a more dynamic lifestyle with increased mobility, better exercise performance and improved quality of life.
Keeping active and maintaining an exercise routine is crucial for COPD patients however many find it difficult as they get out of breath so easily whereas this device would adjust and increase their oxygen flow rate if necessary and only when the body required it to allow them to exercise and perform daily tasks much more easily and ultimately improve their fitness levels and their medical condition.
References: http://www.rtmagazine.com and http://copdnewstoday.com
Whether you’re abroad or at home this summer it is recommended that those of us with respiratory-related illnesses should use caution as there is a strong link between rising temperatures and increased hospital admissions.
Older people have more difficulty adjusting to rising outdoor temperatures than younger people because as we age our body finds it harder and is less efficient at thermoregulation. This is the body’s ability to maintain your internal temperature within a healthy temperature range. Older people are also more likely to suffer from conditions such as heart failure, obesity, heart disease and obesity which heat can worsen, and take medication such as diuretics, beta blockers and antidepressants which can interfere with the body’s ability to cool off and perspire.
In a recent study there was shown a correlation between rising temperatures and the number of emergency admissions for people suffering with COPD and respiratory tract infections in the over 65 population. Even when air quality, pollution, pollen and ozone levels were taken into account, the heat exposure factor was still the most significant and even the following day after heat exposure the risk of hospitalisation was still extremely high.
The study suggested that the poor respiratory effects to heat exposure was likely due to the inhalation of hot air.
Inhaling hot air can exacerbate disorders like COPD as it can cause a bronchospasm which contracts he airways making it harder to breathe and this can happen just a few minutes are exposure. Breathing hot air may also aggravate existing respiratory infections which may also be initiated by pollen or mould.
Poor thermoregulation also plays a part as if you cant cool your body off it will result in hyperthermia which has symptoms such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. It can cause a rapid heartbeat and increased blood flow to the skin for it to cool off, leaving vital organs deficient in blood flow and therefore oxygen.
The body will work harder as it tries to keep cool and therefore require additional oxygen supplies leading to rapid deep breathing (hyperpnea) and can lead to decreased lung function.
However it does seem that if you grew up in an area that experiences high summer temperatures then your body is used to acclimatising to these temperatures. It can thermoregulate fairly efficiently as your body’s ability to do this improves with repeated exposure. People who are not used to long-term heat can have a harder time adjusting and when we experience a heat-wave or go on holiday our bodies have difficulty adjusting and being able to regulate our body temperature and can impact our respiration ability.
The advice is to keep informed of heat, humidity and air quality whether at home or abroad and make sure you are prepared in case your symptoms worsen suddenly. Ensure you have enough medication, water to take it, oxygen equipment and a back-up concentrator and cannula in case of equipment failure. If travelling abroad a global oxygen supplier can arrange for additional equipment to be available for you, as it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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