Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Is using oxygen contraindicated in patients with COPD?


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2009-02-08 19:50:28
2009-02-08 19:50:28

In COPD a person breaths in air but it gets stuck in their lungs and can't exhale all the air from their lungs. This results in the barrel-chested look of COPD patients. Because the person can't fully exhale, there is a build-up of CO2 in the lungs. The drive for a person to breath is low CO2 levels which stimulates the body to intake more oxygen/air. If you give a person with COPD oxygen, more CO2 will build up in their body further decreasing their respiratory rate. It is not contra indicated but should be used with caution. In healthy people, high levels of carbon dioxide is what triggers respiration (to help get rid of the carbon dioxide), but because people with COPD are used to having high levels of carbon dioxide their bodies become immune to it and respiration in this case is triggered by low levels of oxygen. Therefore if you give a person with COPD high concentrations of oxygen, you are removing their trigger to breath, leading to respiratory depression or even arrest (stop breathing completely). This is known as hypoxic drive (hypoxia means low levels of oxygen)


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COPD and lung diseases.

There is no cure for COPD. It can be treated with inhalers, steroids, anti inflammatory medicines, and oxygen treatment.

There is a perpetuated myth in the healthcare community that high levels of oxygen can "stop a patient from breathing". This concept is widely viewed as a reason to withhold oxygen from people suspected of suffering from COPD, with the result being under-treated patients. There is research that suggests that administration of too much oxygen in the blood can cause negative changes in the cardiovascular system. Please note the main difference between DELIVERING high concentrations and the patient absorbing too much oxygen. People with breathing problems may receive high concentrations but not be able to absorb it. This is not a reason to withhold oxygen. Current protocols suggest that heathcare practitioners deliver as much oxygen as is necessary to achieve and maintain normal blood concentrations but not to allow too much to enter the bloodstream (they can check it easily without having to take blood).

The following are some of the ways doctors are treating COPD to help improve health: use of medications to help ease symptoms, such as bronchodilators, vaccinations to help prevent different types of infections that can complicate COPD, oxygen therapy and in some cases surgical procedures.

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Some of the treatments for COPD are simply lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking. Often patients are prescribed inhalers and steroids to improve lung function as well.

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is the number one cause of sickness and death across the globe. COPD is a lung disease that is composed of two or more lung conditions, such as chronic asthma and emphysema. The symptoms that the patient experiences depend on the disease that is most prominent. Recognizing the symptoms of COPD is an important part of controlling the disease and preventing further lung damage. Healthcare professionals work with patients to choose the best treatment options for their symptoms.Difficulty BreathingThe most common sign and symptom of COPD is difficulty breathing. COPD patients experience a shortened or obstructed flow of air which makes for shortness of breath and labored breathing. Patients typically have the most trouble exhaling air from their lungs. Patients experience shortness of breath that fluctuates in severity. On occasion, symptoms flare, making breathing increasingly difficult. While difficulty breathing is a symptom of COPD, it cannot be considered a warning sign. Once a patient begins having trouble breathing, significant lung damage has already taken place.Coughing and WheezingPatients with COPD experience chronic coughs with wheezing. Coughs and wheezing vary in severity for COPD patients. If the patient experiences a flare-up, these symptoms increase and worsen. An increase in mucus and saliva coughed up from the lungs is also common. Changes in mucus include increased thickness and stickiness. Patients will notice mucus that is green or yellow in color. Some COPD sufferers notice blood in their mucus when they cough. Other SymptomsWith shortness of breath and lack of oxygen, COPD patients experience an overall feeling of illness and fatigue. Patients also experience trouble concentrating and forgetfulness and trouble sleeping. It is not uncommon for COPD sufferers to experience swelling of the legs or ankles or sudden and rapid fluctuations in weight, which include weight gain or loss. Headaches and light-headedness and dizziness are also common.ConsiderationsSymptoms of COPD are different for every patient. The primary symptoms experienced depend on the lung disease that is affecting the patient the most. Smoking is the number one cause of COPD. Smoking and second-hand smoke greatly exacerbates symptoms and cause further lung damage in COPD patients. It is vital for smokers to quit to avoid the onset of COPD or worsening of symptoms.

That is the good question and you probably know the answer. In case of the COPD patient you have less perfusion of the oxygen. The red blood cell production is stimulated by the low concentration of the oxygen.

COPD life expectancy may be a topic that many patients don't care to talk about. Actually, there are several key factors associated with COPD life expectancy.

Hypoxia is where there is low oxygen concentrations in the tissures so therefore this must be due to the lack of oxygen in the blood due to poor/lack of gas exchange caused by the copd

It is the body's attempt to overcome the lack of Oxygen getting to its Cells. Having more hemoglobin to carry Oxygen is one way to do that. Unfortunately, the real problem, when there is COPD, is in the lungs and not in the Blood.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease ("COPD") is often caused by smoking. The most effective treatment to improve lung function is to quit smoking. Other treatments depend on the severity of the symptoms experienced by the patients but can include: both short and long acting bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and oxygen therapy.

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