Many people who suffer from COPD also struggle with anxiety.  When you have trouble breathing your brain triggers a response to warn you that something is wrong which can cause panic and sensations of anxiety. Also people find they suffer anxiety due to worrying and being stressed about the condition and prognosis as the disease worsens as well as being linked to depression which many COPD patient’s suffer from. Medications used to treat COPD can also trigger anxiety too.
The Breathlessness-Anxiety Cycle
It is often a vicious cycle where feeling breathless can cause panic and anxiety, which in turn makes it more difficult to breathe. This cycle can be difficult to break and the symptoms of COPD become indistinguishable from the symptoms of anxiety. Many are confused and make lots of trips to the doctors. Many people avoid enjoying social and leisure activities that can cause breathlessness out of fear from potentially experiencing anxiety that may be caused.
Having some degree of anxiety when you have a chronic disease can be a good thing. It can make you pay attention to your symptoms and follow your treatment plan. It can also warn you when you need to seek medical attention, but too much anxiety can severely impact the quality of your life.
Coping With Anxiety
Coping with anxiety can be tricky especially as many medications have a negative impact on your health if you are suffering with COPD as they can cause decreased rate of breathing and interact with other COPD medications.
Your doctor can help you to determine what medication will work best for you. Some people with COPD find relief with non-addictive anti-anxiety medications which don’t interfere with breathing.
Medications are helpful but their effectiveness will be increased by other means of reducing anxiety. Ask your doctor about referral to a pulmonary rehabilitation program, where you will receive education about COPD and get help with coping strategies to deal with your anxiety. One of the most important things that you learn in pulmonary rehabilitation is how to breathe more effectively.
Breathing Retraining
Breathing techniques such as “pursed lip breathing” can help to take the work out of breathing, slow your breathing down, keep your airway open for longer—and help you to relax. To do pursed lip breathing, you simply relax your upper body, and then breathe in slowly through your nose to the count of two. Then with lips pursed as if you were going to whistle, you breathe out slowly through your mouth to the count of four.
Many people with COPD find that individual counselling is effective in reducing anxiety. One common type of therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy helps people with anxiety symptoms decrease them through learning relaxation techniques and breathing exercises.
Group counselling, such as support groups can also help you to learn how to cope with  COPD – and your anxiety – and being with others who have some of the same problems can help you to feel less alone.
Home Oxygen
Many find that if they are in the breathlessness/anxiety cycle then by immediately treating the breathlessness can instantly lessen the feelings of anxiety. By having a portable oxygen concentrator you have access to your oxygen wherever you are, whatever you’re doing and if needed can use it when you are feeling short of breath.  Knowing that you have the portable concentrator to hand can also in itself reduce your anxiety levels and help prevent episodes as you have that security and peace of mind that if your anxiety or COPD symptoms suddenly flare up that you have something close to hand to instantly resolve it.

Using nature to improve your health

healthIt has been discovered just how good certain fruit and vegetables are for you and some have properties which could aid people with respiratory problems and can help improve oxygenation of your body. Supplemental oxygen can provide you with additional oxygen, which in itself has many health benefits but you can supplement this by improving your diet. By adding vegetables high in nitrates or lemon juice to your diet you can improve oxygen levels in your body, breathe easier and be able to get around and exercise a lot better, fundamental for suffers of conditions like COPD.
Beetroot juice contains nitrates which help widen the blood vessels, increasing blood flow and allowing more oxygen to be delivered to the cells that need it and if you drink a glass a day it can help reduce blood pressure by 7%.
It can allow you to exercise for longer as it can deliver more oxygen to the muscles. As well as reducing the workload on the heart and make the heart consume less oxygen during exercise. The exercise itself becomes more effective and you can exercise for longer before becoming fatigued. It was found that you could cycle 16% longer from just 500ml Beetroot juice a day for 2 weeks.
Nitrate also triggers a series of chemical reactions in the blood which can increase oxygen in areas of the body which are lacking an oxygen supply.
Celery, cabbage, spinach and lettuce are also high in nitrates and have similar findings.
Lemons are full of negatively charged ions which increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. This can make us feel more alert, less drowsy and improve our mental activity, as well as protect us from germs in the air.
Drinking lemon juice has been shown to help against heartburn, bloating and belching. Your bowels can eliminate waste more effectively and constipation and diarrhoea can be prevented.
Lemon can also stimulate the liver and help dissolve poisons and toxins. In addition, the high content of potassium in lemons can help nourish nerve cells and brain function.
Lemon juice can help people with a wide variety of health conditions, such as, asthma, colds, coughs, sore throat, diphtheria, influenza, heartburn, liver problems, scurvy, fevers and rheumatism.
Lemon can help increase oxygen levels in the body as the juice will help adjust oxygen and calcium levels by regulating the carbohydrate levels which affect blood oxygen levels.
Some simple remedies include: For a sore throat, dilute one-half lemon juice with water and gargle often throughout the day. A slice of lemon bound over a pus formation – on a joint – will bring everything to the surface and be removed. And, for asthma patients, a tablespoon of lemon juice – one hour before eating will greatly assist in digestion and help to reduce your symptoms.
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Can swimming and a need for oxygen therapy mix?

The summer and holiday season is only round the corner, looking forward to swimming in the villa pool or in the sea. For those suffering with lung disorders requiring oxygen therapy this may seem like a fantasy, but it doesn’t have to be.

swimming and oxygenIf you have lung problems swimming could be the perfect exercise for you. As your body is floating it’s less strenuous on your breathing and can help to improve your fitness and breathing. It’s so beneficial that it even helps people who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People with COPD have a decreased lung capacity and get less oxygen with every breath than healthy people; therefore they tire out more quickly with just regular activities like walking or vacuuming. But those who exercise in a pool or swim lightly often end up with less breathlessness and can walk longer on land because of their lungs becoming stronger. It is a form of exercise that you can control, you can stop and start when you wish and go at a speed that suits you.
If you swim regularly at a private pool to improve your confidence and fitness then swimming on holiday won’t be an issue and you can enjoy your holiday more.
You may think that it is impossible to combine oxygen therapy and swimming but there are those that have managed it with some handy hints to share:
•    Go to the swimming pool at a quiet time or when there is a slow lane available. Sometimes the swimming pool offers lessons or times for disabled or poor swimmers.
•     You can have your POC at the side of the pool ready to use if you feel short of breath.
•     Start off slow and don’t push yourself too hard or fast. It will take time to build up your lung strength and fitness.
•     You can get extra tubing to use with your cylinder and ask someone to walk alongside you in the pool to carry your cylinder as you do laps. You can ask your provider for spare tubing and cannula that you can use as a spare ‘swimming set’. Check with the pool staff first to ensure they don’t mind you doing this.
•     You can walk to and from the pool to increase your exercise and use your oxygen on the way there and on the way home and have it by the pool, so if necessary you can use it after each lap. As your fitness improves you will hopefully use it less and less.
•     You can get an inflatable cushion and have your oxygen machine floating alongside you as you swim if you need oxygen constantly. Many find they can still use it in shallow and calm sea water too so you can swim in the sea on your holiday.
•     If you’re worried about the warmth and humidity of an indoor pool severely affecting your breathing you can go and visit and sit by the poolside with your oxygen to ‘test the waters’ first.
•     There may be an option for you to use your rehab pool at the hospital for a while so that you can get used to swimming in a more controlled environment which will help with your confidence before venturing to a public pool, ask your doctor about options.
•      There are water-proof cases that you can buy for your oxygen cylinder so that you can have it in the water with you.
•     Start off slowly with just floating, walking around and exercises before moving onto short bursts of swimming and then onto laps. Do what you’re comfortable with doing and progress at your own speed.
•    Please note: Some indoor pools with water that contain a high level of chlorine and have bad ventilation might do you lungs more harm than good.
Obviously it depends upon the stage and severity of your lung condition and your reliability upon your oxygen and which equipment you use but there are options and ways around it. For most people they are able to take up swimming using these handy hints and find that after a period of time their fitness improves both in the water and on land and they become less reliant upon their oxygen. Also it means that you can then swim on holiday and enjoy the sun, sea and sand more!
If you require oxygen still on holiday whilst swimming or just want to have a back-up POC nearby on the shore or by the pool side then there are global oxygen supply companies that can supply these for you whilst you are on holiday in whichever country you’d like to visit.
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How Do Different Devices Provide My Oxygen?

Oxygen therapy is administered in a variety of ways depending upon the circumstance, the patient’s requirements and the devices used. It is required in order to provide additional oxygen to the patient and to increase the level of oxygen in the body needed by your body to function.
In most cases the oxygen first passes through a pressure regulator which controls the oxygen pressure as it passes from an oxygen cylinder to the device which is at a lower pressure. Once the oxygen is at this lower pressure, the flow of the oxygen can be controlled by a flow-meter and is measured in litres of oxygen per minute (lpm). The usual flow rate for most devices is between 0 and 15 lpm but can be as high as 25 lpm in some units. Many flow-meters are based on a ‘Thorpe tube’ design which can be set to ‘flush’ which is useful in an emergency situation.
In room air the content of oxygen is only 21%, which although is adequate for healthy individuals, needs to be increased to help those with certain diseases or medical conditions in order to increase the oxygen that manages to get through to their blood stream. Usually increasing the oxygen to 30-35% is enough to make a significant difference and this can be achieved using a nasal cannula, a thin tube with an individual tube for each nostril. This can provide the oxygen at a low flow rate (0.25 to 6 lpm) to achieve an oxygen level of 24-40%.
To achieve higher oxygen concentrations various face masks can be used including a simple face mask, which can deliver oxygen at 5-15 lpm to achieve 28-50% oxygen levels. The Venturi mask can provide oxygen up to 40% and a partial re-breathing mask, which includes a reservoir bag attached to it can provide oxygen at between 40% and 70% concentration.
For patients requiring 100% oxygen the most common device is the non-breather or reservoir mask. This is similar to the re-breathing mask but has a number of valves to stop air that has been exhaled from the lungs from returning to the bag. At a flow rate of 10 lpm up to 80% oxygen levels can be achieved.
For patients requiring the therapy on a constant long-term basis, the oxygen can be warmed and humidified before administration through the nasal cannula to prevent irritation and dryness.
If a patient cannot breathe independently then positive pressure may be needed to force air into the lungs, which is provided by complex artificial respirator machines such as ventilators or a continuous positive airway pressure machine.
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Do Oxygen Facials Work?

Oxygen facial therapy is a new anti-aging treatment that has been supported by many celebrities and is increasing in popularity. However is it just yet another beauty fad or is there any scientific basis and proof that it works?
The basic idea behind the therapy is to apply oxygen to the skin along with other cosmetic ingredients to rejuvenate the skin’s appearance and to create a more radiant look.
Oxygen facials can be done on men and women and promises to offer benefits such as firming up the skin, softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making expression lines less obvious, and improving blood circulation to give your face more colour and an improved complexion.

Why Apply Oxygen to the Skin?

Cells in your body function optimally when fully oxygenated, which we achieve by breathing oxygen in from the air, which reaches the cells via our blood circulation system. The theory is that oxygen can also be applied externally to increase this process of oxygenation and ensure our skin cells are fully oxygenated. The blood circulation worsens in our body with increasing age which means that our oxygenation potential also diminishes, therefore applying oxygen directly to the skin helps to maintain oxygen levels and keep your skin looking younger for longer.
Most treatments also use some kind of anti-ageing serum which contains vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and moisturisers, as it’s believed that oxygen can be used as a delivery mechanism to enhance the absorption of these ingredients which are beneficial to the skin.
Oxygen can also be used to kill bacteria, and so it can be useful for helping to give the skin a clearer looking complexion or for treating skin disorders such as acne.


Microdermabrasion is carried out first which removes dead skin cells and cleanses pores which can allow the oxygen therapy to be more effective.
The therapy is usually carried out with a small pen like device called an airbrush, which blasts pure oxygen at high pressure into the uppermost layer of the skin along with the anti-ageing ingredients. As it is at high pressure it can be blasted deeper into the skin where it can be absorbed more effectively and produce greater effects.
One of the biggest advantages of oxygen facials over topical administration is that many of the skin care ingredients are made up of molecules i.e Hyaluronic acid, that are too large to pass into the deeper layers of skin. The ingredients themselves work but by applying them as a cream onto the skin, they don’t penetrate very far into the skin and therefore the results are limited. However if applied via high pressure and at a lower molecular weight they can pass deeper and stands a better chance of producing results.
An oxygen facial also involves no pain and no downtime.
A facial can take 30-60 mins and your skin should feel smoother, hydrated and plumper as well as seeing a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. You should also notice an improved colour and glowing radiance to your skin, with a clearer complexion due to increased blood circulation and higher tissue oxygenation levels.
The initial results usually only last about seven days however with multiple treatments the effects are cumulative and after 6 treatments of one a week the results will last 1-3 months.

Do Oxygen Facials Work?

However most of this is all theory and based on personal stories and recommendations and there isn’t actually any scientific evidence as yet to prove that oxygen facials work.
Critics of the therapy have suggested that the plumping effect of the skin is actually caused by localised inflammation caused by the high pressure liquid oxygen spray being blasted at the skin’s surface. If it is due to inflammation, then this could actually be harmful to the skin in the long run, as prolonged inflammation is known to be one of the major causes of ageing and disease. However many other anti-ageing treatments work by causing localised inflammation as this inflammation stimulates collagen production which is good for our skin.
Furthermore, pumping oxygen into the skin may result in the production of free radicals which could further contribute towards premature aging. However if your anti-ageing serum contains vitamins E, C and green tea extract then these are known to protect against free-radical damage.
Finally, it is possible to increase the oxygen levels of your skin naturally and for free by doing aerobic exercises. This increases blood circulation throughout the whole of the body, which is why your skin tends to look better after a good workout.
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