• The Freedom from Smoking program is now on line at www.lungusa.com.
  • If you know someone who wants to quit smoking but can't find a convenient program, this may possibly be an answer to their problem.
  • Marilynn feels that she gets short of breath after eating chocolate and wants to know if anyone else has this problem. Wellllll, depends on how much chocolate you are eating, Marilyn. Eating a large meal, or half a dozen brownies, fills your stomach and causes the mechanical problem of your stomach getting in the way of your expanded lungs and flattened diaphragm. This can lead to shortness of breath. Also, blood flow is directed to the stomach to digest a meal, leaving less oxygen rich blood for the rest of the body. This is why you are warned not to swim or exercise right after a meal. Chocolate has a high fat content which might take it longer to digest. That said, chocolate also contains some theophylline and theoretically might even make your breathing easier! We are not suggesting, however, that our chocoholic readers replace their inhalers with chocolate! But, each person is unique. Our Easter wish for you, whether you succumb to a piece of chocolate from the Easter basket or indulge in a whole box of that yummy stuff, is easy guilt free breathing.
  • Marjorie is also complaining of shortness of breath is. Responding to our last newsletter, she wrote that it is difficult for her to stay off her concentrator for 5 or 10 minutes, let alone an hour, which could occur during a California power outage. We sympathize with you, Marjorie, and agree that you shouldn't have to endure the stress of potential blackouts. But may we add a few comments or suggestions that might be of help?
  • First of all, everyone dependent on an oxygen concentrator should have at least one back-up e-cylinder that can be used if the power goes out, as well as for trips outside of the home. In this current climate of electrical uncertainty you should insist upon more than one back-up cylinders. Don't be afraid to speak up if you have a home care company that is reluctant to provide this service. If you have a problem, give us a call and we will try to help you.
  • That being said, do you remember how the doctor first determined that you needed oxygen? Your blood oxygen level probably had been slowly decreasing for months. How did your doctor decide that you needed oxygen? There are only two accepted methods of determining if you need oxygen and how much you need.
  • One method is arterial blood gases drawn with a needle from the artery, usually in the wrist, and the other method is oximetry testing done with a clip on your finger. In order for these tests to be accurate, you should be off all oxygen for 20 minutes before these measurements are taken. Even after you have once had oxygen prescribed these tests may be repeated, sometimes in 3 months, and sometimes annually.