COPD & Over-the-Counter Pain Meds

COPD & Over-the-Counter Pain Meds

COPD & Over-the-Counter Pain Meds

“Several studies have found high rates of pain medication use among COPD patients, and pain has also been an important determinant of overall health status and quality of life in COPD,” senior research associate, Melissa Roberts at the Lovelace Clinic Foundation in Albuquerque, NM, said in an American Thoracic Society news release.

Researchers determined pain levels among study participants by reviewing diagnostic codes and pain medication prescriptions in their medical records. Studies found that COPD patients have more indicators of chronic pain and use more prescription pain medications than patients without chronic disease.

“We found the prevalence of chronic pain among adults with chronic disease to be almost twice as high as among individuals without chronic disease,” Roberts said. “Among those with chronic disease, individuals with COPD were similar to those with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in their experience of pain, but with even greater use of opioids.”

What about over-the-counter meds?

COPD is a lung disease, and although it doesn’t cause lung pain directly, it can cause chest pain due to factors such as coughing. Pain management can be overlooked for reasons such as a patient’s reluctance to adequately communicate their pain or due to all-too-common financial constraints on acquiring pain meds.

If you find you need to take over-the-counter meds to manage COPD-related pain, there are basically two types of over-the-counter pain relievers – acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Acetaminophen is an active ingredient in more than 600 medicines, including pain relievers, cough suppressants and cold medications. It’s important to understand that taking a higher dose than recommended will not provide more relief and can be dangerous.

Acetaminophen overdose can lead to liver damage and death. Risk for liver damage may be increased in people who drink three or more alcoholic beverages a day while using acetaminophen-containing medicines. Read and follow the directions on the label every time you use a medicine.

NSAIDs are common medications used to relieve minor aches and pains and to reduce fever. They include aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen and many medicines taken for colds, sinus pressure and allergies. NSAIDs act by inhibiting an enzyme that helps make a specific chemical.

NSAID overdose can cause stomach bleeding. This risk is higher in people who are over 60 years old, taking prescription blood thinners or steroids, have a history of stomach bleeding or ulcers and/or have other bleeding problems.

Using NSAIDs can cause reversible kidney damage. This risk may also increase in people over 60, in those taking a diuretic (a drug that increases the excretion of urine), and people with high blood pressure, heart disease, or pre-existing kidney disease.

Using over-the-counter pain meds too often can make your body immune to their effects. For this reason, the Get Relief Responsibly® advises against taking pain relievers more than twice per week. If you’re in constant or excessive pain associated with COPD, ask your physician about pain management.

Alternative Methods for Alleviating Pain

  • Practice breathing exercises (meditation, yoga)
  • Drink peppermint tea
  • Get more sleep
  • Avoid sleeping in
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid COPD triggers (smoke, chemicals, dust)

We Can Help

If you or someone you love has COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), ILD (Interstitial lung disease), emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, or another chronic lung disorder, call us today at 866-638-4776 and learn more about what our innovative therapy has the potential to do for you. 

Unlike traditional treatments that often mask the symptoms of lung disorders, the goal of our innovative cellular therapy is to help manage symptoms and potentially improve overall lung health and quality of life. Our integrated wellness approach has the potential to improve overall lung health and to offer a better quality  of life. 

Our dedicated team of Patient Care Specialists and Board-Certified Medical Providers are standing by to answer all your questions. 

Medical Disclaimer: This content is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with a physician with any questions that you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read in this article. We strive for 100% accuracy, but errors may occur, and medications, protocols, and treatment methods may change over time. 

Blood Oxygen Level: Is My Oxygen Level Normal?

Blood Oxygen Level: Is My Oxygen Level Normal?

When it comes to your blood oxygen level, a second-look can never hurt.

Let’s be frank: if you’re currently living with a chronic lung disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis (PF) or emphysema, the maintenance of your health and symptom expression is generally your top priority. Often, this can mean a particular level of scrutiny in the foods you eat, the exercise you get, your exposure to cigarette smoke and other harmful airborne conditions, and the continual maintenance of your respiratory metrics, such as your PFT (pulmonary function test) and blood oxygen levels.

Simply put, for those with lung disease, it’s not only incredibly important to monitor your health and make adjustments in your behavior when necessary, but for many, it’s a way of life. Your blood oxygen level is one of the most important metrics to measure; as it is a clear indicator of how well your body is distributing oxygen (more on that in a moment). Taking the time to determine your blood oxygen level and how it fits in with the national average can be a vital marker for the direction of your respiratory health.

With your health in mind, Centers for Respiratory Health is here to break down the things you need to know on your Blood Oxygen Level: Is My Oxygen Level Normal?

What is Your Blood Oxygen Level?

In the most basic terms, your blood oxygen level is the amount of oxygen in your blood. Sounds simple, right? However, the complexities of this measurement come into play when trying to increase this amount by doing more than taking deeper breaths. As you can imagine, the level of your blood oxygen is important for your general health. If your blood oxygen is too low—in comparison to the average blood oxygen level of a healthy adult—you may be hypoxemic.

As is the case of most people with COPD, oxygen levels are below normal and hypoxemia can frequently occur over time. This means that your body has trouble nourishing your cells, tissues and organs. As your blood is the medium for getting oxygen (via red blood cells) throughout your body, poor circulation can produce the symptoms of chronic lung disease—namely shortness of breath.

Overall, this can reduce your quality of life, impair your skeletal muscle function, impair your exercise tolerance and increase your risk of death.

How is Your Blood Oxygen Level Measured?

A normal blood oxygen level typically ranges from 75 to 100 mm Hg. In the case of dangerously low blood oxygen, the level that requires supplemental oxygen is anything under 60.

The best way to monitor blood oxygen levels is through your arterial blood gasses (ABGs); however, this can be difficult to do at home. In place of using an ABG test, it’s more convenient to use a pulse oximeter, which measures oxygen saturation through a small clip on your finger. In the realm of oxygen saturation levels, normal is often considered anything between 95-100 percent.

Anything below 90 is usually considered low, therefore if you are below this metric, you should consider asking your doctor for a prescription for supplemental oxygen.

What Does My Blood Oxygen Level Mean for My Health?

Your blood oxygen levels have a direct effect on the expression of your symptoms. A low blood oxygen level can signify a lack of proper circulation or oxygen saturation within the body, which can ultimately result in a variety of conditions typically associated with chronic lung disease.

These may include:

  • Confusion
  • A sense of euphoria
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Dizziness, lightheartedness and/or fainting spells
  • Lack of coordination
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Visual disturbances
  • Bluish tint to lips, earlobes and/or nail beds
  • Elevated red blood cell count or polycythemia

What Can I Do Moving Forward?

Understanding your blood oxygen levels is a key step in learning how to measure your health. Whether it’s through measuring it yourself using a pulse oximeter, or having it properly tested through an ABG test with your primary physician, knowing the basic metrics of your respiratory health is critical to making the changes necessary to improve it.

Although the most important step in taking control of your health is to quit smoking, a close second is to address your general health through diet and exercise.

With these behavioral changes, it’s possible to greatly affect the pronouncement of symptoms for people with COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema. However, when lifestyle changes fail to improve your quality of life in the way that you may expect, it may be time to consider cellular therapy. Rather than addressing the symptoms of lung disease, cellular therapy may directly affect disease progression and may improve quality of life.

If you or someone you love has COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), ILD (interstitial lung disease), emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, or another chronic lung disorder, call us today at 866-638-4776 and learn more about what our innovative therapy has the potential to do for you.

Our dedicated team of Patient Care Specialists and Board-Certified Medical Providers are standing by to answer all your questions.

Medical Disclaimer: This content is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with a physician with any questions that you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read in this article. We strive for 100% accuracy, but errors may occur, and medications, protocols, and treatment methods may change over time.