The official blog of the Lung Institute.
It might sound strange, but the respiratory system and the digestive system depend on one another for optimal function. Because oxygen is essential to the proper functioning of the body, one of the main concerns for people with chronic lung diseases is maintaining enough oxygen in their blood. The body needs energy and oxygen, so let’s take a closer look at oxygen levels and the digestive system.
What does the digestive system do?
The digestive system breaks down food so that it can become energy for the body. The digestive system is comprised of a complex system of organs, nerves, hormones, bacteria and blood work together to digest food. Digestive organs include the stomach, small intestines, large intestines, liver, pancreas and gall bladder.
What’s the connection between the respiratory system, oxygen levels and the digestive system?
The respiratory and digestive systems work together to power the body. A properly functioning respiratory system delivers adequate oxygen to the blood. Because the digestive system breaks down food and uses muscular contractions to move food through the digestive tract, it needs oxygen to function properly.
In turn, the respiratory system depends on a properly functioning digestive system to provide the fuel it needs to work effectively. Each function of the body depends on other functions, and all parts of the body need fuel and oxygen.
What are the risks of having lung disease and digestive system conditions?
In many cases, oxygen levels and the digestive system go hand-in-hand. COPD and other chronic lung diseases carry a risk for certain digestive disorders. Because some foods and drinks can cause symptom flare-ups, it’s important to know what to eat and what to avoid. Foods such as dairy and cruciferous vegetables are linked to increased mucus production and gas. Certain foods can also make GERD symptoms worse.
GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease is common among people with COPD. GERD is a digestive disorder in which the stomach valve that keeps stomach acid down weakens or malfunctions, allowing stomach acid into the esophagus. If stomach acid reaches the lungs, it can result in irritation, increased coughing and shortness of breath.
GERD Symptoms include:
- Dry cough
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hoarseness or sore throat
- Burning in the chest or throat
- Sensation of a lump in the throat
- Regurgitation of stomach contents
What can I do to improve my blood oxygen levels?
Talk with your doctor about any new or worsening symptoms. See your doctor regularly, even if you’re feeling well. Now that you have information about oxygen levels and the digestive system, discuss your oxygen, food and exercise needs with your doctor. You and your physician can decide, together, on the best treatment plan for you.
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. In fact, many patients report improved lung function and are able to come off their supplemental oxygen after treatment. We’re happy to help you and to answer your questions, so contact us at (800) 729-3065.