Even the word is terrifying!
A lot of people immediately think of Alzheimer's Disease. Actually Alzheimer's accounts for between 60 and 80 percent of Dementia. Other well known forms of Dementia are Parkinson's and Huntington's. But there is also Lewy Body Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia, Hydrocephalus, alcohol induced Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (a.k.a. mad cow's disease), and Vascular Dementia.
It's this last form of Dementia I wish to bring to your attention. Research has shown that individuals with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are at a higher risk of Dementia. This could be due to lower brain oxygen levels as a result of problems with blood supply from blood vessels in the brain. The study, published in Experimental Physiology, proved that Oxygen Therapy improves cerebral oxygen delivery and neurovascular function in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease patients.
Having worked with Dementia patients, I can tell you with certainty that although after the early stages of forgetting when the patient is aware that they have Dementia, the patient becomes unaware of their loss - their Families and Loved Ones suffer greatly!
Talk to your Doctor and get a Pulmonologist if you don't already have one. They know which parameters determine who needs OT and how much and how often. You may find that you only need OT during sleep. Or you may not need OT yet. I became sick in November and was diagnosed with pneumonia. Having had pneumonia various times in the past I was concerned but not really worried about the long term effects. It turns out that I permanently lost 15% of my lung capacity with one single illness. The peculiar thing is that I didn't feel all that bad physically! But as a precaution my Dr. put me on 2 liters continuous. I've been there ever since and most likely for the rest of my life - until it get worse!
My quality of living has changed dramatically since. First, yes, OT is burdensome unless you have the $3000 laying around to purchase a portable oxygen concentrator. But I am protecting myself from vascular disease. I am very well aware now why pulse oximeters not only measure oxygen saturation levels but also heart rate. My sats could be a nice comfortable 95% while my heart rate jumps to 120 at times.
Monitoring heart rate is just as important as monitoring oxygen saturation. It can indicate vascular distress and one needs to consult with their medical team about keeping their heart rate in a more normal range. A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute.
- Changes in heart rate.
- Decreased circulation in the hands or feet.
- Parts of the body turning blue.
- Fainting, seeing spots, or being unable to think clearly.
- Decreased judgment or awareness.
- Inability to follow directions or complete complex tasks.
Protect your body, protect your brain, take care of yourself!