Portable Oxygen Monitor for Older Adults With Respiratory Illness

Portable Oxygen Monitor for Older Adults With Respiratory Illness

There are many age-related changes in the pulmonary, immune, and respiratory systems. These changes include reduced lung volume, weakened cough strength, and more susceptibility to infections.

A Clinical Interventions in Aging study showed that chronic lower respiratory tract disease is the third primary cause of death in individuals aged 65 years and older.

The decline in respiratory health can increase the risks of rare lung-related conditions like mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is rare cancer that usually affects the lungs and is typically caused by asbestos exposure. The incidence rate of this condition is higher in older adults.

Mesothelioma symptoms vary depending on the condition’s progress. For example, this mesothelioma stages guide lists difficulty in breathing as an early symptom.

Suppose your senior loved one has a respiratory-related condition like mesothelioma. In that case, a portable oxygen monitor may help them manage their symptoms.

Other age-related changes in the lungs include:

  • Peak airflow (how fast one can exhale) and oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange rates decline
  • Weakening respiratory muscles
  • Decreases in lung function measures like vital capacity or the maximum amount of air that people can breathe out after a full inhalation
  • The lungs’ natural immunity is less effective

A portable oxygen monitor is a small device you can attach to your finger. This tool can monitor your heart rate and the amount of oxygen in your blood.

How can a portable oxygen monitor help older adults with respiratory illnesses? What is a portable oxygen monitor?

This article discusses the use and value of portable oxygen monitors for older adults with respiratory conditions.

The Benefits of a Portable Oxygen Monitor for Older Individuals With Respiratory Conditions

If you know an older adult or an individual at high risk for respiratory illnesses like coronavirus, a portable oxygen monitor or oximeter can help them monitor their oxygen levels.

Depending on a person’s health, oxygen saturation levels can vary greatly, but older individuals often have lower oxygen saturation levels.

The blood should have an oxygen level between 95% and 100%. However, hospitalized individuals due to coronavirus have oxygen saturation levels of 70% to 80%.

With an oxygen monitor, patients more susceptible to respiratory conditions like the coronavirus can be admitted to the hospital sooner and before their oxygen levels fall dangerously low.

A portable oxygen monitor is often helpful for individuals with illnesses that reduce oxygen saturation. For example, a sleep specialist can advise people with severe snoring or sleep apnea to use a pulse oximeter for monitoring oxygen saturation throughout the night.

At the same time, some medical professionals can suggest wearing an oximeter while exercising or using one to determine whether physical activity is safe for patients with respiratory conditions.

Moreover, some hospitals use pulse oximeters for vulnerable patients. For example, they might attach a pulse oximeter to an infant in a neonatal critical care unit to notify the medical staff of low oxygen saturation.

Furthermore, your doctor can use an oxygen monitor as a stress test.

Typically, you use a portable oxygen monitor by inserting your finger into the gadget. After a few seconds, the device will give you a complete measurement of your oxygen levels.

These smart gadgets assess blood oxygen levels using light.

A sensor analyzes the amounts of light wavelengths absorbed by hemoglobin with and without oxygen.

Then, a LED (light-emitting diode) sends the light waves from one side of the finger to the photodetector sensor on the other side of the finger.

The amount of oxygen in the blood affects how much light is absorbed.

Blood Oxygen Levels

“Blood oxygen level” means the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Low blood oxygen levels could indicate a lung or circulatory problem.

Portable oxygen monitors cannot diagnose conditions like coronavirus disease. Still, this device can help older individuals track their overall well-being and identify potential symptoms.

Here’s a list of things you can consider that may help you identify if your senior loved one is showing symptoms of a respiratory condition:

  • Your loved one is shaking or shivering.
  • If you use an oxygen monitor, your loved one’s blood oxygen level is 94% or 93% or continues to decline than their typical reading where their normal oxygen saturation is below 95%.
  • Your loved one is feeling breathless or having difficulty breathing, especially when moving or standing up.
  • Your loved one experiences severe muscle aches or tiredness.

You might have read or heard about oxygen monitors and how medical professionals use them to keep an eye on the well-being of people with coronavirus disease.

But hospitals typically use oxygen monitors to spot early signs of respiratory conditions.

Suppose you don’t have a portable oxygen monitor. In that case, you should order from providers that can deliver the device in a few weeks or months.

You may also ask a friend to lend you the device or request your doctor to check your senior loved one’s oxygen levels.


1. The aging lung


Best Sleep Position for Sleep Apnea

Best Sleep Position for Sleep Apnea

You probably fall right into your favorite position when you curl up under the covers at night without giving it much thought.
However, could one sleeping position be more beneficial to your health than another?
Finding a comfortable sleeping position can be more challenging for people with sleep apnea, a disorder in which one’s breathing stops and starts during sleep. If you want to understand better and help someone with this condition, you may ask:

What is sleep apnea? Is sleeping on the stomach, back, or side better for sleep apnea? If sleeping positions do not work, are there any alternatives to try? Are there products or tools that can help with sleep apnea?
Whether you’re a mother looking for self-care practices to help you support your family or a college student wanting to take better care of your brain, sleep is one of the most crucial areas you must consider.

However, establishing healthy sleep habits can be more demanding for individuals with sleep apnea:
This article discusses the following topics:

  • The most effective sleep positions to reduce sleep apnea symptoms
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask as an alternative if sleep positions do not work
  • How sleep apnea affects sleep

The Most Effective Sleep Positions to Reduce Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Various tools and treatments can help improve sleep apnea symptoms, including breathing difficulties.
For example, a CPAP machine may help maintain a continuous air stream at the user’s optimal air pressure level.
Still, sleeping in specific positions can also help people with sleep apnea manage their symptoms while sleeping.
A Better Sleep Council (BSC) survey showed six common sleep positions in the United States. These positions include sleeping on your back, side, and stomach.
Here are several sleeping positions that can affect your sleep apnea symptoms:

Sleeping on the Left Side

Sleeping on the left side may help improve sleep apnea symptoms by alleviating related conditions.
For example, a study showed sleeping on the left side may help prevent gastroesophageal reflux (GER). GER happens when stomach content comes back to your esophagus, leading to regurgitation and spitting up.
Another research indicates that gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) correlates with obstructive sleep apnea.
GERD is a more severe form of GER in which repeated symptoms can cause complications. The study suggests that GERD may aggravate sleep apnea symptoms.

Sleeping on the Right Side

Another obstructive sleep apnea symptom is loud snoring. This kind of snoring may become disruptive, waking a person with sleep apnea multiple times at night.
Consequently, loud snoring may prevent sleep apnea patients from getting adequate rest.
However, sleeping on the right side may improve the body’s air and blood flow, lowering the chances of snoring.

Sleeping on Your Stomach (or Belly)

Gravity pulls your tongue and soft tissue downward when sleeping on your stomach. This situation may help reduce airway obstructions.
However, suppose you cover your face and mouth with a pillow while sleeping on your belly. In that case, blocking your airway may worsen your breathing difficulty.
You must also consider what sleeping positions may worsen your sleep apnea symptoms. For instance, sleeping on your back may cause the soft tissues in your upper airway to resist airflow.

The CPAP-Mask as an Alternative to Sleep Positions for Sleep Apnea

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may help prevent air blockage during sleep.

CPAP machines with masks optimize the pressure inside the airway and keep it open, preventing the airway from getting smaller or closing.

Suppose you have obstructive sleep apnea, and your doctor recommends you use a CPAP machine with a mask. In that case, understanding different mask options may help you maximize your CPAP use.

The appropriate CPAP mask may depend on your sleeping position. You may consider the following factors when choosing your CPAP mask.

  • For side sleepers: Nasal pillow masks and nasal masks are excellent options for side sleepers because they allow users to move more freely while not having many facial touchpoints.
  • For back sleepers: CPAP users who sleep on their backs can choose from various masks because this position easily fits even full-face masks. However, removing your mask in that position is also challenging, and some back sleepers may have trouble with single-strap headgears.
  • For stomach sleepers: Most people can only use nasal pillow masks when sleeping on their stomachs. However, CPAP users who wear nasal pillow masks should check if their actual pillows can accommodate the mask.

For instance, some masks include tube placement along the temples, which might cause air restriction depending on your position and cushion firmness.

How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Sleep

Obstructive sleep apnea patients may experience breathing disturbances at least five times per hour during sleep.
Moreover, each episode of breathing interruption reduces the body’s oxygen supply, resulting in either partial or total waking.
Furthermore, the brain’s normal processes may experience significant disruptions, leading to severe medical conditions.
If you think you are exhibiting some sleep apnea symptoms, consult with your doctor.


Starfish or Freefall? What Your Sleep Position Can Tell You
The Relationship Between Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Inpatient Settings: A Nationwide Study
A Novel Sleep Positioning Device Reduces Gastroesophageal Reflux: A Randomized Controlled Trial
The Sleeping Positions for Sleep Apnea Patients
Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What Triggers Excessive Blood Clotting in the Heart and Brain?

What Triggers Excessive Blood Clotting in the Heart and Brain?

Your body creates blood clots, which is a thicker mass of blood tissue, to help stop the bleeding when you acquire a cut or a wound. These clots consist of blood proteins called fibrin and platelets.

Blood clotting, also known as coagulation, decreases blood loss, which benefits the body after an injury.

Generally, the body disintegrates and eliminates the clots once the bleeding has ceased and healing has taken place.

However, occasionally, blood clots develop too quickly or fail to disintegrate completely, causing the clots to move through the body and restricting or blocking blood flow.

Hypercoagulation, commonly known as excessive blood clotting, is severely dangerous. This condition can cause clots to develop in or move to the arteries and veins of the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys, and extremities, which can cause heart attacks, organ damage, strokes, and even death.

Various medications, diseases, and genetic alterations may induce hypercoagulation. Experts divide these factors into two groups: acquired and hereditary.

  • Acquired: This excessive blood clotting has resulted from other disorders or conditions.

The following list includes some triggers of acquired hypercoagulation:

  • Use of hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills
    • Extended bed rest, or plane or car trips
    • Cancer
    • Pregnancy
    • Smoking

Another condition that may adversely affect blood clotting is obesity. For example, a 2015 study showed that obese individuals with trauma are more prone to hypercoagulation compared to their normal-weight counterparts.

Consequently, overcoming obesity may help reduce the risk of excessive blood clotting. Weight-loss procedures such as bariatric surgery may help address this problem.

  • Genetic: This hereditary type of excessive blood clotting is less frequent and is typically due to genetic defects. These abnormalities generally occur in the proteins required for blood clotting.

Moreover, genetic issues can also affect the compounds that dissolve or delay blood clots.

Factors That May Trigger Hypercoagulation

Many conditions and diseases may lead to excessive blood clotting. Some illnesses can increase the likelihood of clot formation in particular parts of the body.

The following list includes possible triggers of hypercoagulation in the heart and brain:

  • Vasculitis: This condition can cause inflammation in the body’s blood vessels. Platelets can form clots by sticking to damaged blood vessels.
  • Atherosclerosis: This ailment occurs when a waxy material known as plaque accumulates inside your arteries. The plaque may rupture over time.  

Platelets also congregate to form clots at the site of the injury.

  • Heart failure: A heart failure occurs when there is damage or weakening of the heart. When the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, blood flow slows, leading to the formation of clots.
  • Diabetes: This ailment increases the likelihood of plaque buildup in the arteries, leading to dangerous blood clots.

Moreover, approximately 80% of people with diabetes have the potential of dying from clot-related causes.

  • Atrial fibrillation: This condition is the most common type of arrhythmia, also known as irregular heartbeat. Atrial fibrillation can cause the blood to pool in the heart’s upper chambers, which can form clots.
  • Metabolic syndrome: This syndrome refers to a set of risk factors that increase your chances of developing heart disease and other health problems, including a greater risk of blood clot formation.

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Other Factors

Below are additional factors that result in excessive blood clotting:

  • Smoking: This habit increases the risk of blood clots and makes platelets more likely to stick together. Smoking also causes damage to blood vessels’ linings, which can result in clot formation.
  • Pregnancy: Due to increased platelets and clotting factors, pregnant women are more likely to develop blood clots. The uterus can also compress the veins, slowing blood flow and increasing the risk of blood clots.
  • Use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy: These medications can slow blood flow and cause clot formation.
  • Cancer: Several types of cancer increase the proteins that clot the blood.
  • Dehydration: This situation occurs when your body does not have enough fluids. Lack of fluids can cause blood vessels to narrow and blood to thicken, increasing the likelihood of blood clots.

If you have experienced any of the conditions above you may have a higher risk of developing hypercoagulation.

Tracking your health, especially in areas related to your blood measurements such as your blood oxygen level, may help prevent complications, which can lead to hypercoagulation.

When to Consult a Doctor

Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficult or painful breathing
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Cough that shows bloody sputum
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Pain extending to your arm, back, shoulder, or jaw
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of your arm, face, or leg

Furthermore, it is important to consult a physician if you develop the following symptoms or signs on your arm or leg:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain