Could An Oxygen Concentrator Be The Answer To Your Chronic Bronchitis Woes?
What is Chronic Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is the inflammation of the tubes that deliver air to the lungs. This inflammation is in response to the irritants in the system. Most commonly the source is smoking. The inflammatory response consists of the mucus lining becoming hyperactive. The cilia in the airway become compromised and so the collected mucus and dirt/irritants from inhaled air get caught in this mucus. The mucus and the swollen airway make it difficult for air to pass to the lungs.
The suffering patient presents with a persistent cough and usually produces a lot of sputum.
In acute bronchitis, the irritation resolves itself and everything goes back to normal. This usually occurs when someone has a cold or flu, or acute infection.
Chronic Bronchitis doesn’t go away and even if it does, some symptoms of the disease remain. The patient is diagnosed as having chronic bronchitis if the symptoms persist for at least 3 months. Or chronic bronchitis can also be random periods of coughing over a period of 2 years.
Chronic bronchitis falls under the umbrella term Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Long-Term Effects of Chronic Bronchitis on the Body
Chronic bronchitis affects the body in such a way that many body functions get affected.
Polycythemia Triggered By Chronic Bronchitis
Considering the effect of low oxygen in the blood, the body understands that there is not enough blood. This triggers the formation of more red blood cells. This makes the blood thick and there is an increased risk of a clot forming in the blood vessels. This blood clot can travel to any of the body’s organs and choke its blood supply, leading to organ damage.
Chronic Bronchitis Leading to Cardiac Diseases
The reduced oxygen carried by the blood results in the heart overworking itself to deliver oxygenated blood to the body. This causes extra stress on the heart muscles and can directly lead to heart diseases. Heart failure and pulmonary hypertension are quite common amongst these patients.
Tissues Under Effect of Chronic Loss of Oxygen
The lowered blood oxygen can also cause deficiencies in molecules that make blood vessels and lung tissues flexible.
Chronic Bronchitis Induced Acidosis
Another cause of concern is the growing amount of carbon in the blood. The body normalizes the blood pH by releasing carbon in the exhaled air and through urine. A decrease in carbon release can make the blood acidic. This can affect brain function, resulting in memory problems, concentration issues, and even trouble in movement. Acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis can easily make the situation dire. At this point, treatment with oxygen therapy is avoided.
Infections and Chronic Bronchitis
The persistent cough and sputum production produces a fertile environment for even more infections. The chances of getting infected successfully are increased. An added way this happens is because low oxygen impacts the body’s ability to fight back.
Daily Routine In a Low Oxygen State
The cough will affect the patient in their daily life as they survive on low oxygen. They get weaker and more tired. These people thank their luck if they get a full night’s sleep.
Patients with chronic bronchitis are easily triggered by smoking (even passive), dust particles, and other harmful particles (exposure through the place of work). It is important that lifestyle changes take place for these patients. Otherwise, the condition only decreases the quality of life for the patient.
Are your symptoms getting worse?
Chronic bronchitis on its own is not worrying enough to warrant a visit to the hospital’s emergency room. There are yet times when there is a sudden exacerbation of the condition. These acute bouts can make sure that you end up in a hospital.
Another thing to remember is- If you smoke, you have a higher chance of landing in an emergency room than non-smokers.
The acute bouts of chronic bronchitis show up as an increase in body fatigue, sputum production, breathing difficulties, and chest pain.
There is evidence that chronic bronchitis can also worsen in the presence of pneumonia. If fever, chest pain, and breathing difficulties start, make sure to contact your doctor because you might have pneumonia.
Simply put, an oxygen concentrator is a device that filters the air for you so that you could only inhale oxygen from the air. Nitrogen and everything else is filtered out.
There are different concentrators available in the market. A patient can easily get a home unit or a portable unit if their doctors prescribe them. The patient does not need to stay in the hospital to get oxygen therapy. There are 2 main ways oxygen is administered to the patients- nasal tubes or facial masks.
Oxygen therapy is often called supplemental oxygen.
Oxygen Therapy and Chronic Bronchitis
Oxygen therapy can reduce the symptoms of breathlessness found in patients with bronchitis. The continued low level of oxygen is worrying, and so Long Term Oxygen Therapy (LTOT) is a mainstay in the treatment of patients with COPD.
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Oxygen therapy or supplemental oxygen is prescribed when the oxygen pressure in arterial blood is severely diminished. LTOT allows the patient access to oxygen for 15 hours per day. It is better if oxygen therapy is also maintained at night time because oxygen is lower in blood at night time.
This treatment is carefully administered only when the carbon level in the blood is not high. In case of sudden changes/exacerbations, LTOT is avoided.
Oxygen concentrators are recommended for people who have been prescribed LTOT. It is much better than living with an oxygen tank, cost-effective.
Portable oxygen concentrators allow for a greater moving space for the patient.
Oxygen is administered mostly through the nose and drying of the skin and nasal mucosa is a common side effect. The use of moistening agents is encouraged to avoid irritation.
The Effects of Using Oxygen Therapy on Your Body
Oxygen therapy increases the blood oxygen level. There is-
– Better brain function (concentration)
– Stable mood.
– Reduction in stress on the heart.
– Burst of energy.
Chronic Bronchitis patients can benefit from the use of Oxygen Therapy. The symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis tend to get worse over time. Oxygen availability can help reduce the load on the respiratory apparatus in our bodies. Hence Oxygen Therapy comes as a relief.
Oxygen concentrators provide an excellent alternative to oxygen tanks. The different variations in designs allow the COPD patient to pick and choose.
However, it is better to ask your physician if you are eligible for this treatment.