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The Importance of Oxygen and the Lungs

1 Jun 2016
| Under Oxygen Levels | Posted by | 10 Comments
The Importance of Oxygen and the Lungs

The importance of oxygen and the lungs is on the minds of many people with chronic lung diseases. Getting enough oxygen can be challenging when you’re living with a chronic lung disease. However, the importance of oxygen and the lungs is essential to good overall health. Let’s discuss how the respiratory system works, and how to increase your oxygen levels.

The Respiratory System and The Importance of Oxygen and the Lungs

Beginning at the nose and mouth, the respiratory system is made up of organs and tissues that allow people to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body. The main parts of this system are the airways, muscles that enable breathing, the lungs and linked blood vessels.

The airways are the pipes that carry oxygenated air into lungs and carbon dioxide out. Airways include the nose and nasal cavities, mouth, larynx, trachea and bronchial tubes and their branches. Inside the airways are tiny hairs called cilia, which are coated with sticky mucus to trap germs and other foreign particles and prevent them from entering the airways.

The Importance of Oxygen and the LungsThe lungs and linked blood vessels deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. The bronchi inside the lungs branch into smaller, thinner tubes called bronchioles, and these tubes end in bunches of tiny round air sacs or alveoli, which are covered in capillaries. The capillaries connect to a network of veins and arteries. The pulmonary artery and its branches deliver oxygen-poor blood to the capillaries that surround the air sacs. Once inside the air sacs, carbon dioxide moves from the blood into the air to be exhaled while oxygen moves from inhaled air into the capillaries. Oxygen-rich blood then travels to the heart through the pulmonary vein and its branches, and on to the rest of the body.

The diaphragm, intercostal muscles, abdominal muscles and muscles in the neck and collarbone work together to expand and contract the lungs. The main muscle used in breathing is the diaphragm, which is dome-shaped and separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. The intercostal muscles are between the ribs and play a major role in breathing.

What happens to the oxygen when you have a chronic lung disease?

To keep a continuous supply of oxygen to your cells and tissues, there must be enough oxygen in the air you’re breathing. The lungs must inhale oxygen-rich air and exhale carbon dioxide, and the circulatory system must move blood through the lungs where it can absorb oxygen and carry it throughout the body. People with chronic lung disease may have more trouble breathing, and therefore, absorbing enough oxygen. One of the symptoms of lung disease is low blood oxygen levels. When blood oxygen falls below a certain level, the result is called hypoxemia, symptoms of which are extreme shortness of breath, headache, confusion and restlessness.

What can I do to increase my oxygen levels?

The Importance of Oxygen and the LungsMany physicians prescribe supplemental oxygen for people with chronic lung diseases as needed. Monitoring blood oxygen levels with pulse oximeters helps people with lung disease track their oxygen level. Some doctors recommend patients attend pulmonary rehabilitation, a program that combines exercise, education and support to help people breathe and function at the highest level possible. Eating healthy, oxygen-rich foods and consuming enough vitamins and minerals could help ease breathing. Increasing exercise tolerance and practicing deep breathing exercises are other ways to increase oxygen levels. Now that you have the information you need about the importance of oxygen and the lungs, discuss these options with your doctor before changing your treatment plan.

Stem cell therapy also helps many people with chronic lung diseases breathe easier by promoting the healing of lung tissue from within the body. The Lung Institute extracts stem cells from a patient’s blood or bone marrow tissue, separates them and then returns them intravenously. The stem cells travel with the blood through the heart and into the lungs to become oxygenated. Once in the lungs, the majority of the stem cells become trapped in the pulmonary trap, and the now oxygen-rich blood travels to the rest of the body. Many patients report improved lung function and are able to come off their supplemental oxygen after treatment. We’re here to help you and to answer your questions, so gives us a call at (800) 729-3065.

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  1. Phoebe

    8 months ago

    Hi David,

    First and foremost, we’re sorry to hear about the challenges you have been facing with lung disease. Chronic lung diseases affect everyone differently and at varying rates of progression. Sometimes, the condition progresses rapidly, and sometimes, the condition progresses slowly. Like you, many people with chronic lung disease and those who have had lung surgeries have difficulty breathing. Often, their doctors prescribe oxygen therapy to them. If you’re seeing an increase or change in your lung disease symptoms, it’s very important to call your doctor and schedule an appointment. Because your doctor knows you and your health situation well, he or she will be able to best guide you.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  2. David B. Renaud

    8 months ago

    My breathing has gotten PROGRESSIVELY worse just in the last few months. I had my right lung removed about 7 years ago. They left a small piece ( 1 lobe).
    I now get out of breath after walking about 10 paces and need my oxygen then.

  3. PB

    2 years ago

    Dear Gayle,

    It sounds like you are taking proactive steps in your healthcare, which is important. Your pulmonologist and primary doctor will be able to best guide you regarding lung disease and medication. Once you have a diagnosis, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak with a patient coordinator about stem cell treatment options.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  4. Gayle

    2 years ago

    I have been on Spirva for years I guess it quit working, I was waking up at night and couldn’t breathe very well, my Doctor has put me on Breo, it seems to be a lot better, no more waking up with shortness of breath. Waiting to get an appt with a pulmonary Doctor, they seem to be backed up, tells me alot of people have some sort of lung disease

  5. PB

    2 years ago

    Dear Carole,

    We’re glad that you found this information helpful. Many of our patients have been able to reduce their oxygen use or even come off their oxygen after treatment. We are happy to answer any questions you have regarding stem cell treatment options, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to learn more.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  6. Carole

    2 years ago

    Thank you I have been on supplemental oxygen for five years now with the setting of three. I am fairly active and live alone I would love not to have to use the oxygen. Especially away from home. Is there any hope for me.

  7. Pingback: Lung Institute | Oxygen Saturation Test for Lung Disease

  8. James C Jones

    2 years ago

    I use oxygen for sleeping. My greatest problem is congestion and my nose and throat filling up with mucus. Coughing and mucus makes it hard to sleep and breathe. This normally starts in the evening.

  9. PB

    2 years ago

    Hello Arthur,

    Thank you for your comment. We’re glad that you’ve found this information about how important oxygen is to the body helpful. We’ll keep writing articles on a variety of topics to help people with chronic lung diseases breathe easier. Feel free to keep checking-in with our blog to read more articles. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about stem cell treatment options, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  10. Artt

    2 years ago

    I wanted to thank you for explaning how important oxygen is to the body, brain & lungs, and request to keep me & my wife informed. I’m enclosing my email address. Thank you & GOD bless. — Arthur.

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

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