Oxygen surrounds us and is fundamental for life and yet we can take it for granted and not realise that it’s a lot more than just a component of the air.
Our atmosphere today contains around 21 percent oxygen. About 300 million years ago oxygen levels reached 35 percent and insects were able to grow super-large- think dragonflies with the wingspans of hawks.
Oxygen does not actually burn as people think it does. However it does support the combustion of other substances and without a supply of oxygen, combustion ceases. If you think about it, if oxygen itself actually burnt, simply striking a match would be enough to burn all of the oxygen in our planet’s atmosphere.
Almost two-thirds of the weight of living things comes from oxygen, mainly because living things contain a lot of water and 88.9 percent of water’s weight comes from oxygen.
Oxygen (O2) is very unstable in our planet’s atmosphere as it is very reactive and must be constantly replenished by photosynthesis in green plants. Without plant life, our atmosphere would contain almost no oxygen. If we discover any other planets with atmospheres rich in oxygen, we will know that life is almost certainly present on these planets as significant quantities of oxygen will only exist on planets when it is released by living things.
The Northern (and Southern) Lights: The green and dark-red colours in the aurora Borealis (and Australis) are caused by oxygen atoms. Highly energetic electrons from the solar wind split oxygen molecules high in earth’s atmosphere into excited, high energy atoms. These atoms lose energy by emitting photons, producing awe-inspiring light shows. These usually occur in the polar regions because solar electrons will accelerate along our planet’s magnetic field lines until they hit the atmosphere in the polar regions.
A common urban myth is that hyperventilation is caused by breathing in too much oxygen. When we hyperventilate, we breathe too quickly, and this can lead to symptoms such as headache, light-headedness, dizziness, chest pains, tingling, slurred speech, fainting and spasms. Hyperventilation actually causes us to get rid of too much carbon dioxide from our bodies. The trouble with this is that we need carbon dioxide in our blood to stop it from becoming too alkaline. When we hyperventilate, we lose too much carbon dioxide, which disturbs the balance of substances in our blood, causing its pH to increase; this causes the blood vessels leading to our brains to get narrower, slowing the blood flow and decreasing the amount of oxygen reaching vital organs, leading to the symptoms of hyperventilation.
As a gas, oxygen is clear. However as a liquid, it’s pale blue. If you’ve ever wondered what swimming in a pool of liquid oxygen would be like, the answer is very, very cold,(according to Carl Zorn of the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility). Oxygen must get down to minus 297.3 F (minus 183.0 C) to liquefy, so frostbite would be a bit of a problem.
References: http://www.chemicool.com/elements/oxygen-facts.html and http://www.livescience.com/28738-oxygen.html
Billions of us travel by air each year however we are all individuals with varying needs, including a range of medical conditions and all airlines have different policies regarding this. For example some airlines will require a medical certificate to prove that you fit to fly.
The airline needs to ensure that air travel will not worsen or agitate a pre-existing condition and also that the patient’s ailment will not affect the comfort or safety of other passengers on the flight. Regardless of a doctor’s medical certificate the final decision remains with the airline and the captain of the flight and they may still refuse carriage.
A main considering factor involved in this decision making process is the affect of altitude, humidity and oxygen saturation levels during flight. Modern aircraft have a cabin altitude pressure equivalent of between 5,000 and 8,000 feet above sea level. (source: cyprusairways.com) This means that your blood will not be as saturated with oxygen and can affect breathing, cardiac activity, circulation and brain activity. Sometimes during flight, although not normally for long periods of time, a person’s oxygen saturation level can fall to 90%. A healthy individual can tolerate this temporary change with no problems however a patient with cardiac, anaemia or respiratory problems may find themselves in serious difficulties.
Aircraft cabins have low humidity levels that dry out the air; this can cause dryness of the skin or other mucous membranes within the body such as the throat and lungs and affect respiration.
Reduced cabin pressure can also cause gas volume expansion. Any gas that may have inadvertently been introduced to the body during surgery could then expand and cause pain or even perforation through the membrane.
A main deciding factor in whether or not a person may be considered ‘fit to fly’ is their oxygen saturation level. If a person’s saturation level is equal to, or more than 95%, they do not need oxygen for flying. If an asthma sufferer has a stable status then they should be able to fly as long as they keep their medication to hand. Anyone with an active exacerbation of respiratory disease should wait until their condition has improved before considering to fly. Consultation with a doctor or respiratory specialist will aid in ascertaining whether it is wise to fly or whether additional aids or medication would be wise to use during the flight. This may also help to persuade the airline that you are fit to fly.
As passengers sometimes cannot take their own oxygen equipment on board due to regulatory requirements although this is changing and more and more POC’s (portable oxygen concentrators) are allowed on board of the aircraft. If a passenger has used oxygen provided by the airline company he or she will have to pre-arrange oxygen at the end of the flight. OxygenWorldwide does provide an Airport Service where they have somone waiting at the door of the aircraft to hand over a portable oxygen device so one can travel onwards to their hotel or other holiday destination.
Please check with OxygenWoldwide for availability on your destination
Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) is a debilitating disease, marked by progressive scarring of the lungs, that increasingly hinders a person’s ability to breathe.
Sometimes pulmonary fibrosis can be linked to a particular cause, such as environmental exposure, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, infection, or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. However sometimes there is no known cause and is referred to as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF.
The cause of Pulmonary Fibrosis still remains a mystery, but it is seems to involve changes in the lung’s normal healing processes. Patients may have an exaggerated or uncontrolled healing response that over time produces excessive fibrous scar tissue, or fibrosis, in the lungs. This scarring causes the lung’s tiny alveoli to thicken and harden, rendering them less able to function and provide the body with the oxygen it needs.
There are a few risk factors that may alter the lung’s healing process and cause scarring. These may include:
Occupational exposure to dusty environments (e.g. wood or metal dust)
Genetic predisposition (10-15 percent of cases)
Viral or bacterial lung infections
Acid reflux disease
Pulmonary Fibrosis hinders a person’s ability to take in oxygen. It causes shortness of breath and is usually associated with a persistent dry cough. The disease progresses over time, leading to an increase in lung scarring and a worsening of symptoms. Unfortunately, Pulmonary Fibrosis is ultimately disabling and fatal.
If you have been diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, there are a number of things you can do to take part in your own treatment and help yourself stay healthy.
Get your flu vaccine every year.
Consult your doctor about enrolling in a pulmonary rehabilitation or respiratory therapy program to help increase your strength, learn breathing techniques, and expand your social support network. Many patients report improved breathing and quality of life after adding education and exercise to their treatment.
Eat a well-balanced diet to maintain in ideal body weight. This helps support your body and keeps up your strength.
Consider eating smaller, more frequent meals during the course of your day. Many patients find it easier to breathe when their stomach isn’t completely full.
When Pulmonary Fibrosis progresses to a point where your blood-oxygen levels are low, another important tool that can help sufferers is supplemental oxygen therapy. Oxygen can be prescribed by your doctor or via a local oxygen supply company. It contains a higher percentage of oxygen and helps increase the amount of oxygen that is available to be transferred from your lungs into the bloodstream, thereby producing more energy to be used by the cells of your body.
Supplemental oxygen can:
Decrease your shortness of breath – especially with exercise
Improve your ability to perform daily activities
Improve your overall level of fitness
Improve your quality of life
Increase life span by decreasing the extra work your heart is doing because of low oxygen saturation levels
And in case you need medical oxygen at any destination worldwide please contact us on [email protected] and we will try to meet your specific requirements.
Home oxygen treatment involves breathing high concentrations of oxygen from a cylinder or machine in your home. If you’ve been prescribed oxygen therapy, it’s because your blood oxygen level is low. Low oxygen levels can potentially damage your heart or brain. The main purpose of home oxygen treatment is to raise your blood oxygen to a level that prevents such harm. It also helps relieve breathlessness and other symptoms of low blood oxygen, such as ankle swelling and blue lips.
However, using oxygen just for relieving symptoms of breathlessness is not helpful and can cause long term harm by making you less fit. This can also cause a delay in finding out why you are breathless.
If you have a medical condition that leads to a low oxygen level in your blood (hypoxia), you may feel breathless and tired, particularly after walking or coughing. You may also have a build-up of fluid around your ankles (oedema) and blue lips.
Breathing air with a higher concentration of oxygen can help increase the amount of oxygen in your blood. This makes it easier to do activities that might otherwise be more difficult. It also helps reduce the symptoms mentioned above.
Oxygen therapy can help people with a range of health conditions that affect breathing or blood circulation, including:
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a long-term disease of the lungs, severe long-term asthma
cystic fibrosis – an inherited disease that causes the lungs to become clogged with thick, sticky mucus
pulmonary hypertension – high pressure inside the arteries to the lungs, which causes damage to the right-hand side of the heart
obstructive sleep apnoea – a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep diseases of the nerves and muscles or ribcage
heart failure – when the heart struggles to pump enough blood around the body.
Different types of home oxygen:
Oxygen can be obtained from:
compressed oxygen cylinders
liquid oxygen in cylinders
an oxygen concentrator machine, which extracts oxygen from the air
You breathe the oxygen through a mask or through soft tubes in your nose, called nasal cannulae. You can talk, eat and drink while using cannulae. Cylinders containing oxygen compressed into liquid form can contain more oxygen than standard cylinders. This type of oxygen supply will last for longer, and the tank may also be lighter.
Oxygen concentrator machine
An oxygen concentrator machine is convenient if you would benefit from having oxygen for a large number of hours a day, including while you’re asleep. It ensures you have a source of oxygen that never runs out.
Portable cylinders can provide oxygen at a rate of 2 litres or 4 litres a minute, or have an adjustable scale up to 4 litres a minute. The flow required is determined by your lung specialist or the oxygen service healthcare professional. When full, these cylinders weigh just over five pounds (2.3kg) and hold just under two hours of oxygen (at 2 litres a minute).
When going on holiday make sure that you have enough supply to last you plus speak with oxygen providers who can help source medical oxygen for you and even supply back up help for safe peace of mind.
An injection that delivers oxygen directly into the bloodstream for patients who cannot breathe has been invented by scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital, according a report published in Science Translational Medicine. The authors explained that when patients suffer from an obstructed airway or acute lung failure, they urgently need oxygen to reach their blood, otherwise they have brain injury or suffer from cardiac arrest.
The researchers designed an injection filled with tiny, gas-filled microparticles that can be administered directly into the bloodstream, supplying it with much-needed oxygen.
The microparticles are made of a single layer of fatty molecules that surround a miniscule pocket of oxygen – they are placed in a liquid solution and injected into the patients.
John Kheir and team say that patients who are injected with this solution, may regain near-normal blood oxygen levels within seconds.
In animal experiments, the authors reported that they could beep the animals alive without breathing for 15 minutes, drastically reducing the incidence of organ injury and cardiac arrest (the heart stops completely).
The oxygen injection may buy the patient valuable time John Kheir explained that the microparticle solutions are easy to carry around, and could conveniently be utilized to keep people who cannot breathe alive, giving emergency personnel more time to get patients to a safe place where more sophisticated life-saving procedures can be carried out.
The authors say the microparticle solution injections could not be used for more than fifteen to thirty minutes, because they contain fluid that would overload the blood if used for any longer.
These are not blood substitutes, Kheir stressed. Blood substitutes carry oxygen, but are of limited use when the lungs are not working and cannot oxygenate them. These microparticles are specifically designed for people who cannot breathe.
After caring for a young girl who had severe pneumonia in 2006 and suffered severe brain injury because of extremely low blood-oxygen levels, Kheir starting looking into the idea of injectable oxygen.
The little girl died before the medical team could get her on a heart-lung machine.
It was several years before the team managed to get the microparticles safe for injection. Kheir said “The effort was truly multidisciplinary. It took chemical engineers, particle scientists and medical doctors to get the mix just right.”
They used asonicator– a device which emits high-intensity sound waves to mix lipids and oxygen together. Oxygen gas gets trapped inside tiny particles, about two to four micrometers in size – too small to see with the naked eye. They found that a solution in which 70% of the volume consisted of oxygen was just right for human blood.
In previous studies in the early 1900s, scientists attempted to oxygenate blood with intravenous oxygen, but they failed. Sometimes they caused fatal gas embolisms.
reference:Copyright:Medical News Today
Travelling with oxygen has become much easier with the development of portable oxygen concentrators (POCs). These devices run on a battery pack, can be recharged, plugged into the wall or a cigarette lighter in a car, and can be taken on airplanes.
There are several makes and models, with widely differing features, so it is important to choose the one that is best for you, that delivers enough oxygen to keep your saturation 90 percent or greater at rest and with activity.
Some tips for air travel with POC’s:
· Start making arrangements with the airline well ahead of time to find out which POC is allowed. Many airlines list accepted manufacturers and brands on their websites.
· Allow plenty of extra time for check-in.
· Carry several extra battery packs. FAA regulations require enough battery time to cover 150 percent of the flight time.
· POC’s and battery packs can be rented.
· Carry an extra three-way plug for recharging your POC in the airport. People often need to recharge their electronic equipment in the airport during layovers, and this will help assure that you will be able to recharge yours.
· POC’s are exempt from the carry-on allowance.
· Carry a prescription for oxygen, signed by your doctor.
For more information about oxygen supply whilst on holiday please enquire now atwww.oxygenworldwide.comand register for our SOS back up service.
The government has issued health warnings due to high levels of air pollution spreading across England this week.
The pollution is a mix of local and European emissions and dust from the Sahara desert, and is affecting parts of southern England, the Midlands and East Anglia.
The elderly and those with lung or heart disease are urged to avoid strenuous exercise outside. British Lung Foundation honorary medical adviser Dr Keith Prowse spoke today about the implications of high levels of pollution for people with lung disease.
“Air pollution can have the greatest impact on people with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, worsening symptoms such as coughing and breathlessness. The dust from the Sahara that we are seeing at the moment are worsening many local air pollution levels. “When levels of air pollution are high, people with these conditions, or anyone else who finds themselves coughing or wheezing in times of high pollution, should avoid strenuous exercise outdoors and are better off trying to exercise away from pollution hotspots, such as busy roads or during rush hour. “People who use a reliever inhaler should make sure that they carry it with them. If they feel that their conditions are worsening then they should contact their GPs.”
This is supposed to only last a few days but was high risk for people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
We have a house at Portugal and found your service browsing the internet. We would like to thank you for arranging the liquid oxygen plus the portable which my husband needed recently so that we still can enjoy our house together which we bought many years ago. Thank you OxygenWorldwide‘ Mr. and Mrs. Atkinson
Sleep apnea can worsen blood sugar control in people with Type 2 diabetes by disrupting the deepest stage of sleep, a new study suggests. The findings provide another good reason for people with sleep apnea to wear a CPAP mask that helps assure uninterrupted breathing, the standard treatment for the condition, throughout the night.
It is well known that sleep apnea, which causes breathing pauses and dangerous drops in oxygen during sleep, sharply raises the risk of Type 2 diabetes. More severe cases of sleep apnea are generally associated with poorer blood sugar control in diabetics.
While breathing pauses can occur throughout the night in apnea patients, the new study, published in Diabetes Care, found that episodes that occurred during the rapid eye movement, or REM, phase of sleep had the most detrimental effects on long-term blood sugar control.
Most REM sleep occurs in the early morning hours before waking. But research shows that many patients remove their CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, mask in the middle of the night because it can feel uncomfortable, said Dr. Babak Mokhlesi, an author of the new study and the director of the sleep disorders center at the University of Chicago.
As a result, their apnea is more likely to go untreated during REM sleep, a time that may be particularly important for anyone with diabetes, Dr. Mokhlesi said.
reference to Anahad O’Connor, New York Times, 2014