McLEOD HEALTH 27 NOVEMBER 2023
Vinod Jona, MD
McLeod Pulmonary and Critical Care Associates
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women in the United States, more than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers combined. In addition, 90 percent or more of all lung cancers are caused by cigarette smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The risk of developing lung cancer for a current smoker with a history of smoking a pack a day for 40 years is about 20 times higher than that of a non-smoker. The best way to minimize the risk of developing lung cancer is to never start smoking.
Our mission at McLeod through the Healthy Lungs Initiative Program is to save lives in our community through early detection and enhanced access to care. This allows us to see an increase in detection in early lung cancer diagnoses with curative options while decreasing later stages of lung cancer. We want to provide not only access to screening, but for patients to also have easy access to our experts in pulmonology, cardiothoracic surgery, radiation oncology, and medical oncology.
As with most cancers, early detection remains the key to survival. Until recently, there were no reasonable tests for early detection because the tumors are not always visible on a chest X-ray. Historically, a patient would be diagnosed with lung cancer once they developed symptoms such as coughing up blood, unintentional weight loss, or shortness of breath.
Additionally, early-stage lung cancer patients often do not have symptoms and can go for months and potentially years without detection. These are the reasons that screening for those at high risk for lung cancer has been recognized as an important method in saving lives.
Fortunately, for those who have been smoking for years and are considered high risk, there is now a screening tool to detect lung cancer with scientific data showing the benefits. Screening means testing an individual before they have symptoms of disease. A landmark study, called the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLCST), published in 2011 indicated that low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans of the lungs of a patient with a significant smoking history led to earlier diagnosis, treatment, and a reduced chance of death. A lung CT scan can detect small nodules on the lungs years before they can be seen on a regular chest X-ray.
The NLCST involved more than 53,000 patients who were former or active smokers. Results showed a low-dose CT scan of the chest was better than a chest X-ray for detecting lung cancers. The study went on to reveal that for every 320 high-risk patients screened, one life was saved. Additionally, the study of patients ages 55 to 74 years with a 30-pack-year history of smoking or former smokers, who met the requirements such as being without signs, symptoms, or history of lung cancer, found that there was a 20 percent risk reduction in mortality using low-dose CT scans versus chest X-ray.
In 2014, the McLeod Lung Cancer Screening Program was established based on the results of this trial. This is the biggest advancement in lung cancer detection for more than 25 years. Physicians can now detect small, early-stage, potentially curable lung tumors. In fact, when lung cancer is detected at an early stage, patients have a five-year survival rate of 56 percent after treatment. If the cancer has spread to nearby organs, the five-year survival rate declines greatly to five percent.
The screening guidelines followed by McLeod Health include:
- 50 to 80 years of age who have had a 20 or more pack-year history of cigarette smoking (20 pack-year is equivalent to one pack per day for
- 20 years or two packs per day for 10 years)
- currently exhibiting no symptoms of lung cancer
- currently smoking or have quit smoking within the last 15 years
Similar to cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate, it is obvious that the early detection of lung cancer with a screening CT scan provides for a greater chance to be cured with surgery including the possibility of minimally invasive surgery or radiation treatment such as stereotactic body radiation therapy.
Additionally, five McLeod Health facilities have been designated as Lung Cancer Screening Centers by the American College of Radiology (ACR) — McLeod Regional Medical Center, McLeod Health Loris, McLeod Health Seacoast, McLeod Health Carolina Forest, McLeod Health Clarendon, and McLeod Family Medicine Dillon.
The ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center designation is a voluntary program that recognizes facilities that have committed to practice safe, effective diagnostic care for individuals at the highest risk for lung cancer.
For more information on Lung Cancer Screenings, please call the McLeod Healthy Lungs Initiative at 843-777-5953.
Dr. Vinod K. Jona joined the medical staff of McLeod Health in 2001 and has been instrumental in the expansion of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine programs. Dr. Jona serves as Medical Director of the McLeod Healthy Lungs Initiative Program and the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Committee. He is also a member of the Medical Staff Executive Committee, Quality Operations Committee, and the McLeod Physician Associates Steering Board Committee. Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, and Sleep Medicine, Dr. Jona obtained his medical degree at Kakatiya Medical College in Warangal, India. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Jacobi Medical Center of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Yeshiva University, in Bronx, New York, and a fellowship in Pulmonary Disease at Albert Einstein Health Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Jona cares for patients at McLeod Pulmonary and Critical Care Associates.
Rick Scroggins has worked hard and played hard throughout his 75 years. So, it didn't sit well with him when severe emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) forced him to slow down and rely on oxygen treatment to handle even minor daily tasks. In fact, it was so bad, that it took him minutes to climb the 12 steps to his home office, while having to stop and rest at each landing after four steps. "I've gone 110 miles per hour my whole life," he says. "It's very difficult for me to have to slow down."
Thanks to the experts at The Christ Hospital Physicians – Pulmonary Medicine, and a breakthrough minimally-invasive treatment called The Zephyr Valve, Rick is back to enjoying long periods of physical activity, usually without the need for external oxygen.
Zephyr Valve - A groundbreaking and “breath-giving” procedure
The lungs of patients with COPD are often damaged and can get clogged with or blocked by phlegm, which restricts airflow and can cause air to be trapped in the damaged lobes. This restricts the ability for other lobes to inflate properly, causing shortness of breath and restricting the intake of air/oxygen, which can lead to many other health concerns such as heart problems, weakened muscles and brittle bones, and depression and anxiety.
The Zephyr Valve is a minimally invasive treatment qualifying patients with COPD and emphysema that involves the insertion of valves through the airway and into a lung with no incision required. They make it easier for patients to breathe by deflating and restricting airflow to the more damaged lobe(s), which lessens the restriction on the healthier adjacent lobes.
Eligible patients are typically those with moderate to severe emphysema, and stage three or four COPD, according to Vishal Jivan, MD, the pulmonologist with The Christ Hospital Physicians-Pulmonary Medicine who implanted the five valves in Rick’s lungs. Patients undergo a series of testing and scans to determine if the valves will work for them, and to identify the best location to implant them.
“We’re looking to deflate the part of the lung that has the most emphysema, and the lowest amount of blood supply,” Dr. Jivan says. “This diverts the airflow to the healthier lobes which were impeded by the lobe with more emphysema and allows them to supply more oxygen to the blood, which gives the patient more energy.”
Some patients, including Rick, see a significant reduction in the need for the use of external oxygen, but Dr. Jivan reminds his patients that isn’t the case for everyone. Still, he says, even if they still need oxygen, the differences in their breathing, energy, and stamina are noticeable.
“We’re looking for a difference in tolerance for exercise and physical activity,” he says. “Even for those who still require oxygen, they’re going to notice a big difference in that tolerance. I recently spoke with a patient who was excited to be able to walk around a county fair for four hours, where before, he couldn’t walk for more than an hour.”
What to expect after a Zephyr Valve procedure
The procedure to implant the valves is minimally invasive with little physical stress on the patient, and according to Dr. Jivan, patients can notice an immediate difference, and continue to feel better in the weeks after receiving the implants. However, he points out that the valve does require a minimum three night stay for observation.
“There is a minor risk for a collapsed lung during the first three days, and it’s important for us to monitor for that during that period,” he says.
There is also a risk for the valves to come loose after they are implanted, often from the patient coughing. This isn’t a major concern, however, and Dr. Jivan points out that the procedure to remove and replace the loose valve is the same simple procedure as the original.
“It’s not a medical emergency and there’s very little risk to the patient when the valve comes loose,” Dr. Jivan says. “But they do experience a return of their original symptoms, so we like to move quickly to get them feeling better as soon as possible.”
Rick has experienced a valve coming loose from coughing. “It’s no big deal,” he says. “It’s the same easy procedure and well worth it.”
A lifesaving scan
Zephyr Valve implants require ongoing follow-up scans. When Rick went for a follow-up after having a loose valve replaced, the results indicated that a small nodule that had been previously detected during scans had grown. Rick had lung cancer.
Rick wasn’t going to lose his new-found momentum, however, and began the journey to beat the cancer.
“I had some help,” he says. “My wife and my daughter, who happens to be a nurse, were with me for every visit. I always tell me people, ‘I have my nurse and my bodyguard with me, I’ll be OK.”
Julian Guitron-Roig, MD, a thoracic and cardiac surgeon with The Christ Hospital Physicians – Heart & Vascular, successfully removed the top lobe Rick’s right lung that contained the cancer. Then began the road to recovery, that was admittedly longer and more challenging than recovery from the valve implants, but after about a month of inpatient care, Rick’s back to enjoying his active life, but he wants people to know that he had help.
“The people at The Christ Hospital are great,” he says. “There are none better. And that’s not just Dr. Jivan, Dr. Guitron and the other doctors. That’s everybody from the nurses in the endoscopy department to the nurses in the stepdown unit after cancer surgery. In fact, I’ve told Katie, a nurse in the endoscopy department, ‘Your bubbly personality and positive attitude make this easier. You can take somebody having a terrible day and having to go through with this and make them feel like they are having the best day ever.”
Back to 110 miles per hour
Rick’s procedure did reduce the need for oxygen and he’s back to enjoying some his favorite activities with his family. “I’m not out here running any races,” he says, “but I’m comfortable to cover a lot of ground.”
He and his wife of more than 50 years have two adult daughters and four grown grandchildren, and they’ve always enjoyed travelling with their family. Rick is happy to be back to travel activities such as walking for miles on the beach in Florida or hiking in the mountains of Tennessee with his wife. He also enjoys helping out for hours at a time at the farm owned by his oldest daughter and her husband.
“It’s amazing what I can do that I couldn’t do before,” Rick says. “There’s no way I could have done any of this before those valves.”
Current patients can ask their primary pulmonologist if they believe they may be a candidate for a Zephyr Valve, or call our office at 513-241-5489 for more information. Ask your primary care provider about a referral if you believe you may be a candidate but if you are not an existing patient of The Christ Hospital Physicians - Pulmonary Medicine.
- Neck spasms, often caused by stress, poor posture, or whiplash, result in muscle pain and discomfort
- In a modern lifestyle, bad postures and stress can enhance the risk of developing neck spasms.
- Improper sleeping posture and muscle strain from heavy weight lifting can cause neck spasms.
- Botox, heat/ice therapy, stretching, and over-the-counter pain relievers can effectively manage neck spasms.
- Always consult a medical professional for the correct diagnosis and treatment of persistent neck spasms.
It is quite common for individuals to experience neck spasms or neck muscle strain at some point in their lives. Neck spasms can be incredibly uncomfortable and make it challenging to carry out everyday activities. In most cases, neck spasms last only a few days and can be treated with heat/ice, pain relievers, or other forms of physical therapy. Here’s a look into neck spasms, their leading reasons, and how to deal with them.
What Are Neck Spasms?
Neck spasms are involuntary muscle contractions in the neck, shoulders, and upper back region. They can be described as a sudden and intense tightening of the muscles that can cause pain and stiffness. Neck spasms often occur due to overuse or strain of the affected muscles, which causes them to become inflamed and irritated.
Common Causes of Neck Spasms
There are many reasons for neck spasms, but some are more common. Here are some of those common causes:
1. Poor Posture
One common cause of neck spasms is poor posture. With more people working from home, staying indoors for longer periods, or performing activities for extended periods, it is easy to slouch or remain in a position that can lead to injury. When the head and neck are slouched forward for extended periods, muscles in the neck and shoulders become tense, leading to spasms or even severe pain. Elevate your computer screen to eye level, sit up straight when working, and stretch the neck and shoulder muscles during regular breaks. These countermeasures can reduce the chances of developing neck spasms due to bad postures.
Modern lifestyle presents many challenges that can lead to stress, which can culminate in neck spasms, among other physical and psychological illnesses. People experiencing stress may feel tension in their necks and shoulders, leading to muscle spasms and pain. Stress management practices, including regular exercise, deep breathing, positive thinking, and sleeping well, can help manage stress and lower the risk of neck muscle strain.
Neck spasms may also be caused by whiplash resulting from a car accident or some other traumatic event. In this case, the neck muscles can become sore and strained, leading to spasms and other symptoms like dizziness, headache, and difficulty moving the neck. To avoid further injury, pay attention to instructions from medical professionals and seek treatment that can include pain medications, physical therapy, or even surgery.
4. Poor Sleeping Posture
Neck spasms can also result from improper sleeping posture or pillow use. A pillow with the wrong size and shape can cause the neck to bend unnaturally, thus causing muscle strain and eventual spasms. Use a thin pillow or none if you need to sleep on your stomach. Ensure that your pillow does not bend your neck but provides a neutral position to help align the head, neck, and shoulder.
5. Muscle Strain
Neck spasms can also result from activities that over-exert the neck muscles, like lifting heavy weights without support or playing contact sports, including frequent head or neck collisions. To avoid this type of neck spasm, lift weights properly and take regular breaks during activity to rest your neck muscles.
Ways to Deal with Neck Spasms
Neck spasms can be incredibly uncomfortable and interfere significantly with daily activities. Here are some tips on how to deal with them:
Many people don’t know this, but certain skin treatments can treat neck spasms. One of the best options is botox treatment. It works by temporarily blocking muscle contractions, which helps reduce the intensity and frequency of neck spasms. It is administered by a medical professional and can provide relief for up to three months.
Applying heat or ice to the affected area can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation caused by neck spasms. Applying heat increases blood flow to the area and promotes muscle relaxation, while ice helps reduce inflammation and numb the pain. Alternate between heat and ice for 15-20 minutes each session for maximum effectiveness.
Gentle neck stretching exercises can help relieve muscle tension, helping alleviate neck spasms. Slowly move your head from side to side, up and down, and rotate it in a circular motion. Avoid forcing the stretches and stop if you feel any pain.
Over-the-counter Pain Relief
In mild cases, Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate neck spasm-related pain. However, if OTC medications do not relieve the pain or the neck spasms persist, consult a medical professional.
Neck spasms can be uncomfortable and interfere with daily activities. By understanding their causes, individuals can take steps to avoid developing them in the first place. If neck spasms occur, several remedies, including heat/ice therapy, stretching exercises, or medical treatments, and pain relievers, can help manage them effectively. Remember to consult a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of neck spasms.
Across the globe, communities are grappling with growing populations, ageing societies, and new health challenges emerging at an unprecedented pace. In remote areas, access to quality healthcare remains a distant dream for many. A shortage of healthcare professionals exacerbates the situation, leaving countless individuals without adequate medical attention. Urban centres are not immune to these issues — overcrowded hospitals and clinics strain under the weight of growing healthcare needs.
In the face of such challenges, the role of esteemed institutions like at the University of Galway cannot be overstated. Nestled within the University’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, the school boasts a legacy of teaching excellence that spans over 175 years. It’s this level of experience that attracts students from near and far.
“I chose the University of Galway for its reputation for teaching and research excellence and innovation,” says graduate Conor Hussey. “My postgraduate course provided me with invaluable skills and qualities that I am now putting into practice in the workplace.”
With time, the School of Medicine has evolved to keep addressing the healthcare sector’s most pressing needs through career-ready practitioners like Hussey. Today, it offers a range of postgraduate options, catering to both clinical and non-clinical pursuits. The array underscores the school’s dedication to nurturing a versatile cohort of healthcare professionals.
The MSc in Clinical Research, for example, enhances one’s perspective on clinical trials. Delivered online and in person, and through an interactive and convenient learning platform, the programme explores theory such as research methods and operations such as site level activities, to name just two. Students can add optional modules that they’re interested in. “It is great to pursue the MSc in Clinical Research,” says student Ha Vu.
As a research Fellow, Ha gets to work in the Data Management team and participate in the Business Continuity process at the Institute for Clinical Trials based at the University. “This is a valuable opportunity for me to see how all the knowledge in the lecture is applied in real-world studies and to gain practical experience,” she says. “I believe that studying MSc at the University of Galway is surely one of my best decisions.”
Other School of Medicine postgraduate offerings include the Healthcare Simulation and Patient Safety (MSc), Exercise Physiology and Rehabilitation (MSc), Cardiac Rehabilitation (PgCert), Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (MSc), Cellular Manufacturing and Therapy (MSc), Cheminformatics and Toxicology (MSc), Clinical Education (Masters/PDip), Clinical Education (Masters/PDip), Diabetes (MSc), Exercise Physiology and its Application in Therapy (MSc), Interventional Cardiovascular Medicine, Multidisciplinary Radiology (MSc/PDip), Obesity (MSc), Preventive Cardiology (MSc), Regenerative Medicine (MSc), Surgery, Masters in (MCh), and two brand new additions.
The new Applied Clinical Data Analytics (MSc) offers a distinctive spiral curriculum tailored to train healthcare professionals in analysing healthcare data. Led by experts in Clinical Data Analytics from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, the programme features assignments rooted in real-world clinical research scenarios, including clinical trials, systematic reviews, observational studies, and data sourced from clinical administrative datasets. Students can expect to gain proficiency in applying both traditional statistical techniques and machine learning through weekly assignments and a final thesis.
Launched in 2023 the Evidence-Based Future Healthcare (MSc) is a 100% online inter-professional postgraduate course built for busy healthcare professionals looking to enhance their practice, improve healthcare outcomes and advance their careers. Regardless of their professional background, this programme can equip them with the expertise to address current and emerging healthcare challenges through state-of-the-art evidence identification, evaluation, and implementation approaches.
Delivered by the University of Galway’s leading experts in evidence-based healthcare, supplemented by insights from international specialists, the programme is closely aligned with esteemed centres of excellence such as Evidence Synthesis Ireland, Cochrane Ireland, and the HRB Trials Methodology Research Network.
All programmes place a strong emphasis on practical application, which is why the School of Medicine has spared no effort in providing state-of-the-art facilities and resources in abundance. There’s a Clinical Science Institute and a 40 million euro Human Biology building. Recently, the university launched Ireland’s Institute for Clinical Trials, which seeks to transform the clinical research landscape in Ireland by supporting the development and delivery of clinical trials, from initial concept to reporting. The institute is a focal point for the development of sustained, mutually beneficial partnerships with industry partners, further positioning Galway as the MedTech centre of Ireland and contributing to future economic growth and regional development.
These spaces are home to world-class research teams at the forefront of transformative health discoveries. With a focus on pivotal areas such as cancer research, gene and stem cell therapy, and biomedical engineering science, they are pioneering advancements impactful enough to not just keep the School of Medicine’s curricula up-to-date, but to shape the future of healthcare as well. Collaboration is crucial for these complex tasks.
In fact, collaboration lies at the heart of the school’s research endeavours, partnering with esteemed institutes and centres, including CÚRAM, REMEDI, The Martin Ryan Institute, Corrib Core Lab, Galway Diabetes Research Centre, Galway Neuroscience Centre ..
As a whole, the School of Medicine links arms with community organisations at the local, national, and international levels. The school is also the proud holder of the prestigious Athena Swan Bronze Award, a recognition of its unwavering commitment to equality and diversity.
ROME (AP) — Pope Francis went to the hospital Saturday for tests after he came down with the flu, but the results ruled out any respiratory problems, the Vatican said.
Francis, who had part of one lung removed as a young man, underwent a CAT scan, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.
The test at Rome’s Gemelli hospital, where Francis was treated for a respiratory infection earlier this year, was done to rule out any possible respiratory problems and came back negative, Bruni said in a statement.
Earlier Saturday, the Vatican said the pope had canceled his audiences because of the flu.
Francis is due to travel on Friday to Dubai for the COP28 conference on climate change. Bruni provided no information about any change in his plans and the Vatican on Saturday gave new details about his itinerary, suggesting the trip was still on.
Francis, who will turn 87 next month, spent three days at Gemelli in April for what the Vatican said was bronchitis after he had trouble breathing. He was discharged after receiving intravenous antibiotics.
Francis spent 10 days at the same hospital in July 2021 following intestinal surgery for a bowel narrowing. He was readmitted in June of this year for an operation to repair an abdominal hernia and remove scarring from previous surgeries.
When asked about his health in a recent interview, Francis quipped in reply what has become his standard line — “Still alive, you know.”
Sanchez, 38, had a double-lung transplant in 2019.
For years, Maria Sanchez’s lungs were in such rough shape just laughing would leave her so desperately short of breath she ran the risk of going unconscious. Enjoying a simple popsicle presented similar challenges. The West Palm Beach resident was suffering the debilitating effects of cystic fibrosis.
In 2019, the disease appeared to have won, sending her into respiratory failure. But Sanchez survived, receiving a double-lung transplant.
Laughing is no longer a threat. Popsicles aren’t dangerous. And she no longer has to endure seemingly endless rounds of breathing treatments or tote around an emergency inhaler.
Though Sanchez’s life has been handed back to her, the transplant didn’t resolve all her challenges - both to her health and to her family’s financial well-being.
The 38-year-old must take a bevy of medications to protect her lungs from her body’s own immune system and from the genetic disease that wreaks havoc on her other organs. She also has discovered she is diabetic, battles hospital-visit inducing gout and has developed issues with her digestive system, requiring multiple surgeries.
Now, however, Sanchez is seeing her path forward with fresh eyes.
“Before the transplant, I didn’t think I had much to lose. Now I have a lot to lose, and so it's taking a lot more effort on this side to stay alive,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez is married to a minister. The doctors have advised against her working due to her fragile health, so they live on his one income. The couple say they can barely afford groceries. Meanwhile, thousands of dollars in pharmacy bills loom. She’s allowed to delay repayments, but she worries a day will come when the pharmacy tells her she can’t get the medicine she needs until she makes hefty payments
Defying the doctors and the odds
But Sanchez has proven her resilience since she was a child. When she was born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that troubles digestion and breathing, doctors told her parents she wouldn’t live past age 7. Her parents moved to the US while she was still a baby to get treatment here. As she grew, doctors continued to forecast her death, maybe not 7, but 14, maybe not 14 but not beyond high school.
All the while she fought, tracking her medications, regulating her symptoms, turning doctor visits into her extracurricular activity. Adulthood arrived and she soldiered on until 2018, when she went into respiratory failure. Instead of celebrating her parent’s anniversary, she went to the ER and stayed for six weeks.
The respiratory failure caused her kidneys and colon to suffer and her blood sugar to skyrocket. When hope arrived in the opportunity to get two new lungs, doctors delivered a warning that she might not survive the procedure.
“Statistically, they tell you that 10% of people die on the table,” Sanchez said. “The odds are stacked up against you.”
But she survived and spent weeks in the hospital re-learning how to breathe and begin a new routine — including a drawer full of medicines. She takes 20 to 30 medications a day, including drugs to prevent her body from rejectign the transplanted lungs.
Sanchez said the pharmacy did not process a grant she received to cover post-transplant medications for 18 months, and that has now become part of her debt.
Through it all, Sanchez says prayer and faith and the support of her husband are sustaining her.
Her faith has been with her since she was in school tracking her vitals and trying to mitigate the coughs. It has seen her through each time her husband, or her faithful dog Daisy Duke, would find her in unconscious on the kitchen floor. And it was there through the transplant surgery, when out of delicate caution family treated it as a day for goodbyes.
And now that faith carries her through each day she can still take the medications that keep her alive.
“There's many more things stacked up against us, just the thought of rejection — that it can come on at any time is a sobering thought I live with every single day since transplant. The whole notion of ‘I can have rejection at any point’ — that's every day,” Sanchez said.
Maria Sanchez’s Wish
Born with cystic fibrosis, Maria Sanchez has spent much of her life at odds with her own lungs. Then, four years ago, they finally gave out. She went into respiratory failure, but her life was saved by a double lung transplant. Her recovery has been difficult and the costs steep. She and her husband are struggling to pay the $4,381.15 she owes her pharmacy to cover the first year-and-a-half of post-transplant medications. Maria also suffers from diabetes, gout and digestive issues that have required multiple surgeries. Sanchez health prevents her from working and they are supported only through her husband’s single income as a minister. They need help paying off their medical debt and and getting a leg up on growing medical bills.
Nominated by: Piper’s Angels
The Global Respiratory Monitoring Devices Market reached USD 4.6 billion in 2022 and is projected to witness lucrative growth by reaching up to USD 9.3 billion by 2030. The Global Respiratory Monitoring Devices Market is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 9.3% during the forecast period 2023-2030.
Respiratory monitoring devices play a crucial role in diagnosing or monitoring acute and chronic respiratory issues by assessing the lung's breathing capabilities. These devices aid in conducting respiratory examinations to evaluate the efficiency of gas exchange in the lungs and identify any obstructions in the respiratory tract.
The global market for respiratory monitoring devices is influenced by several factors. Notable among them is the escalating government expenditure on healthcare in emerging economies like India. Additionally, the increasing prevalence of respiratory disorders is contributing to the growth of the market. The market is further driven by ongoing product innovations and technological advancements in respiratory monitoring devices, enhancing their capabilities and expanding their applications. These combined factors are projected to propel the global respiratory monitoring devices market forward.
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The surge in technological advancements is significantly impacting respiratory research and monitoring.
In longitudinal epidemiological studies, advancements in technology have led to the widespread use of portable electronic spirometers. These devices are employed to measure and continuously track forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC), providing valuable insights into respiratory health.
As an example of recent progress, in July 2022, Sleepiz, a Switzerland-based medical technology company, achieved FDA approval for its Sleepiz One+ contactless respiration and heart rate monitoring device. This regulatory milestone enables Sleepiz to introduce its innovative solution for remote patient monitoring in the United States. The adoption of such cutting-edge technologies signifies a significant driver for the global market, shaping its trajectory positively during the forecast period.
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Peak Flow Meters
Sleep Test Devices
By End User
Ambulatory Surgery Centers
Market Key Players
Major players are GE Healthcare, Smith & Nephew, Vyaire (Carefusion Corporation), Masimo Corporation, Medtronic, MGC Diagnostics Corporation, COSMED, Nihon Kohden Corporation, Philips Healthcare, Novelda AS.
Breathing Circuits Market - www.datamintelligence.com/research-report/breathing-circuits-market
Respiratory Inhalers Market - www.datamintelligence.com/research-report/respiratory-inhalers-market
Respiratory Devices Market - www.datamintelligence.com/research-report/respiratory-devices-market
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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a leading cause of disability and death in the U.S., according to the American Lung Association. More than 12.5 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COPD, but millions more may have the disease without knowing it.
"COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease caused by long-term smoking, especially cigarettes. COPD also can be caused from breathing in toxic fumes or gases. In rare cases, it is caused by a genetic problem," says Dr. Mais Abdou, a pulmonologist at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse. "People with COPD are at increased risk of developing respiratory infections, heart disease, lung cancer, pulmonary hypertension and depression. Also, if you have a chronic lung disease such as COPD, you may be at greater risk of severe illness and complications from COVID-19."
November is National COPD Awareness Month, which makes this a good time to learn more about living with COPD.
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Factors that can increase the risk of COPD include exposure to tobacco smoke, including secondhand smoke; asthma; occupational exposure to dust and chemicals; exposure to fumes from burning fuel; infections; and genetics.
According to the American Lung Association, more women are living with COPD compared to men, and deaths from COPD are higher in women than in men.
Symptoms of COPD often don't appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and they usually worsen over time, particularly if cigarette smoke exposure continues.
Signs and symptoms of COPD can include:
• Chronic cough that may produce clear, white, yellow or green mucus
• Frequent respiratory infections
• Unintended weight loss
• Swelling in the ankles, feet or legs
"If you've been diagnosed with COPD and you smoke, it is important that you quit. Most cases of COPD in the U.S. are directedly related to long-term cigarette smoking. Stopping smoking can prevent COPD from worsening and reducing your ability to breathe," offers Dr. Abdou.
Many people with COPD have mild forms of the disease for which little therapy is needed other than quitting smoking. With advanced stages of the disease, effective therapy is available that can control symptoms, slow progression, reduce your risk of complications and exacerbations, and improve your ability to lead an active life.
Treatment for COPD can include medications (such as inhalers), oxygen, pulmonary rehab, in-home noninvasive ventilation therapy, managing exacerbations, endobronchial valves and surgery.
"Living with COPD can be a challenge — especially as it becomes harder to catch your breath," explains Dr. Abdou. "You may have to give up some activities you previously enjoyed. Your family and friends may have difficulty adjusting to some of the changes."
These strategies can help anyone with COPD feel better and slow the damage to their lungs:
• Learn breathing techniques.
Talk to your primary healthcare professional or respiratory therapist about techniques for breathing more efficiently throughout the day. Also be sure to discuss breathing positions, energy conservation techniques and relaxation techniques that you can use when you're short of breath.
With COPD, mucus tends to collect in your air passages and can be difficult to clear. Controlled coughing, drinking adequate amounts of water and using a humidifier may help.
It may seem difficult to exercise when you have trouble breathing, but regular exercise can improve your overall strength and endurance and strengthen your respiratory muscles. Talk to your healthcare team about pulmonary rehabilitation exercise programs.
A healthy diet can help you maintain your strength. If you're underweight, your health care professional may recommend nutritional supplements. If you're overweight, losing weight can significantly help your breathing, especially during times of exertion.
• Avoid smoke and air pollution.
Besides quitting smoking, avoiding places where others smoke is important. Secondhand smoke may contribute to further lung damage. Other types of air pollution also can irritate your lungs, so check daily air quality forecasts before going out.
• See your health care team regularly.
Stick to your appointment schedule, even if you're feeling fine. It's important to regularly monitor your lung function and let your health care team know if you have worsening symptoms or notice signs of infection. Be sure to get your annual flu shot in the fall to help prevent infections that can worsen your COPD, and ask your health care team when you need the pneumococcal vaccine.
"It can help to share your fears and feelings with your family, friends and healthcare team. You also may want to consider joining a support group for people with COPD, and you may benefit from counseling or medication if you feel depressed or overwhelmed," said Abdou.
Connect with others talking about living with COPD in the COPD Support Group on Mayo Clinic Connect, an online patient community moderated by Mayo Clinic.
The cough seems to be dry. Keep going. He is Oscar, he is 68 years old and he is sick with what is called Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, better known as COPD, and he was admitted to a center for the elderly in Mexico. I spoke to him more than a month ago.
Between coughing fits, I asked him if he wanted to go outside. His eyes lit up. Turning from side to side to make sure no one heard him, he told me in a very low voice: “A few cigarettes.”
COPD usually affects people who smoke for a long time. However, they are not the only ones, says the Colombian doctor María Artunduaga, a postgraduate from Harvard Medical School and founder of Respira Labs, a company whose purpose is to help people with diseases of respiratory.
According to Artunduaga, doctors have now found that COPD also affects many people who never smoke, but are exposed to pollutants in the environment, or through jobs such as mining.
“We even see that there are many women affected by COPD because in many Latin American countries they cook with firewood or gasoline,” said the specialist.
To easily explain the feelings of COPD patients, Artunduaga compared it to COVID. “They feel like they’re suffocating every day of their lives.”
The most common lung diseases
COPD. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, wheezing, and excessive mucus production. It is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States.
Treatment: Bronchodilator drugs, inhaled steroids, lifestyle changes (smoking cessation, regular exercise), and in severe cases, oxygen therapy.
Asthma. It affects millions of people in the United States, including children and adults.
Symptoms: Coughing, shortness of breath, coughing and chest tightness.
Treatment: Bronchodilator inhaler, inhaled steroids, antileukotriene medication, and avoidance of environmental triggers.
Lung cancer. It is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
Symptoms: Persistent cough, shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss, chest pain.
Treatment: Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapies and immunotherapy therapies.
Pneumonia. It is a common cause of hospitalization in the United States.
Symptoms: Cough, fever, difficulty breathing, chest pain.
Treatment: Antibiotics (if bacterial), antivirals (if viral), rest and medication to relieve symptoms.
Pulmonary fibrosis. It is a chronic interstitial lung disease.
Symptoms: dry cough, shortness of breath, fatigue.
Treatment: There is no cure, but medications can be used to relieve symptoms and, in some cases, lung transplant is considered.
It is important that anyone experiencing respiratory symptoms consult a health care professional for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. In addition, preventive measures, such as quitting smoking, avoiding exposure to smoke and pollution, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, are key to reducing the risk of lung diseases.
For numbers and statistics, visit this site.
Earlier this year, 55-year-old Greeley resident Augustin Meza wasn’t feeling well.
His daughters and his family took Meza to see doctors, but tests came back clear and the cause of his issues remained elusive.
Finally in the spring, doctors discovered Meza had blockages in three main arteries leading to his heart. He had open-heart surgery in early April, and his daughters said doctors told them there was a 50-50 chance their father would not survive.
Meza survived. And nearly eight months later, he bundled up on Thanksgiving morning with about 2,600 runners and walkers to serve as the honorary starter at the 26th annual NCMC Turkey Trot in Greeley.
The event benefits the Banner Health CardioVascular Institute of North Colorado, which provides cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs.
Meza, who does not speak English, said through his daughters he feels good. He said he was happy to be at the event to see his friends from the institute.
“If not for the help, he doesn’t know where he’d be,” Meza’s daughter Erika said for her father.
Heather Schminke, a quality specialist for the CardioVascular Institute and the turkey trot race director, said they want to raise at least $30,000 for the rehabilitation programs. Schminke said the trot is a “family fun run and walk” that also raises awareness of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease.
The turkey trot was comprised of a 5-kilometer (3.1 mile) run and a 2K (1.2 mile) fun run and walk, all beginning on 17th Avenue near NCMC and ending on 16th Street in front of the medical center.
In between, the course routes took the runners and walkers first to Glenmere Park with the routes then splitting and the shorter Gobbler Trek heading to 15th Avenue and back to 16th Street. From the park, the runners went to 21st and 22nd avenues, to Reservoir Road east to 14th Avenue and north to 16th Street.
Greeley resident Brett Naber ran the 5K in about 19 minutes and 40 seconds, meeting his goal of completing the race in under 20 minutes. The 45-year-old said he’s participated in the run at least 10 times. He was joined by several family and friends on Thursday.
“It’s a tradition for us,” Naber said. “I try to stay in shape. I see a lot of people I know. Now I’ll watch football and have a beer.”
Sixteen-year-old Eaton resident Clayton Heid ran the NCMC turkey trot for the first time. A member of the Eaton High School cross country and track and field teams, Heid said a friend of his was getting in the race. When Heid’s plans to hunt fell through, he decided to enter.
Heid, a junior at Eaton High, said he finished the 5K in about 19:40 which was well within his goal range. Heid said he hasn’t practiced a lot since the end of cross country season where the races are also 5K distances. He runs the 1-mile and 2-mile for Eaton track.
“I still did good,” Heid said. “This was a really good event and fun with so many people. I enjoyed it a lot.”
Each night was like a wrestling match with her own airways. With the lights out, her children asleep and the house quiet, Melinda Mahlberg would begin to snore. Her husband, Troy, wore earplugs. He could still hear her. Her breathing sounded laboured as the snoring continued all night; the pair never started a day fully rested.
Melinda was exhausted. Tests to find the cause of her fatigue had found nothing wrong. She wasn’t just tired from being a mother of three and a receptionist with a busy social life; there was something else amiss. “I’m too young to be this tired,” recalls the 45-year-old. “Around my eyes was tense. And my brain was all foggy.”
Eventually, Melinda spent a night away from home – hooked up to monitors and breathing equipment at a clinic. They showed that, during at least some of her sleep, she stopped breathing, for seconds at a time, once every minute. “It was a bit of a shock.”
Sleep apnoea affects about 5 per cent of Australians; they will wake most days with the fuzziness of what Melinda calls a “tired hangover”. Fatigue can be dangerous, especially for drivers or people working with machinery. In the longer term, apnoea increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and possibly even dementia.
So what causes sleep apnoea? Who gets it? And how does someone with it (and their bed partner) get a good night’s sleep?
What’s sleep apnoea?
The snores of Kare Walkert, a Swede with sleep apnoea, reached a Guinness world record of 93 decibels in the 1990s, about the equivalent of a lawn mower. A British woman’s snoring has since reportedly exceeded 111 decibels (as loud as someone shouting into another person’s ear). Fortunately, most snoring volumes are usually around the level of a quiet conversation. About half of Australian adults snore, including most people with sleep apnoea.
But something extra happens with apnoea: a sleeper stops breathing for 10 seconds or more at least five times an hour. The word itself comes from the Greek for “without breath”. Cases range in severity. At one extreme, a woman with apnoea who also had a condition of the nervous system stopped breathing for 233 seconds in a hospital in the United States.
Starved of air, people with apnoea wake. “I would have more minor [episodes] where you don’t realise you’re waking up,” says public servant Susan Graham, a Melburnian who has managed her sleep apnoea for 15 years. “Then you have really extreme ones where it sort of builds up and you jerk yourself awake.”
Air travelling into our windpipes passes the base of the tongue, the tonsils, an area of muscular tube called the pharynx, and the voicebox, where vocal cords vibrate to produce sound. The muscles throughout this area, known as the upper airway, tend to relax as we sleep. If they become too floppy, our breathing can cause them to vibrate, causing snoring. But in some people, the muscles relax so much the usually moist inner surfaces of the sides of the pharynx can stick together blocking off the airway. “It’s a bit like having a wet piece of paper against a glass window,” says Associate Professor Megan Rees, head of respiratory and sleep disorders at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
If the blockage is partial – a condition called hypopnea – it can cause slow and shallow breathing. Obstructive sleep apnoea is when the airway closes until the person’s breathing response kicks in – the break point where it’s believed our neurological and mechanical systems take over to make us gasp for air.
Anatomy is one cause: people with smaller pharynxes are more susceptible to apnoea. Others have an overbite that can crowd the soft tissue at the back of the airway. “I come from a family of bad snorers,” says Graham. “I think it’s sort of in the family genes to have quite a narrow airway.” In fact, if an immediate family member has sleep apnoea it doubles a person’s chance of having it.
When physicians first described sleep apnoea in the 1960s, they linked it to obesity. A patient had Pickwickian syndrome (obesity hypoventilation syndrome), a breathing condition named after a corpulent carriage driver in Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers who would fall asleep running errands. The patient slept just a few hours because of a “cyclic repetition of arousal and slumber”.
Today, 58 per cent of people with moderate to severe sleep apnoea are believed to be obese. Fat in the tongue and neck can cause the airway to collapse.
Sleep apnoea is about three times more common in men than women. Some of this could be due to under-diagnosis in women but also to how body weight is distributed. “If you’re carrying excess body weight in a central area and around your neck, you’ll be more at risk of sleep apnoea. Whereas women who are overweight often carry that extra weight below their waist,” Rees says.
‘They start to snore a bit in their 30s and then snore loudly in their 40s and have sleep apnoea in their 50s.’
Still, in both women and men, age tends to make apnoea worse. “Everything gets saggier, so the muscular tube in the back of the airway just gets floppier,” says David Cunnington, clinical chair of the Australasian Sleep Association. “They start to snore a bit in their 30s and then snore loudly in their 40s and have sleep apnoea in their 50s.”
In fewer than 1 per cent of cases, people have no airway blockage, but the brain stops telling them to breathe – called central sleep apnoea. “There is a pause and the person does not make any effort to breathe,” says Dr Kirk Kee, a sleep and respiratory physician at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. “That’s until their carbon-dioxide level gets high enough that their brain goes, ‘Whoops, I need to breathe again.’ ” The most common reason for this is severe heart disease, but stroke and opiates can also cause it.
How do you know you’ve got sleep apnoea?
It’s 9pm and patients toss and turn. Some watch TV, others scroll their phones, but it’s hard to ignore the weirdness of being in a sleep laboratory. Gina Bundle has 22 electrodes attached to pads stuck mostly on her face and head. Wires neatly run behind her back, keeping her from getting tangled, then into a monitor recording every breath and blink. “You feel it all over,” she says.
She can’t remember her last good night’s sleep. A thyroid condition then long COVID made her exhausted. She’s spending the night in the Royal Melbourne Hospital to test whether sleep apnoea has also been in the mix. “When you get home from work, you sit and take your shoes off. Well, I didn’t even get that far; I’d be out like a light,” she says.
Sleep scientist Serhan Kalistu calculates Gina’s body mass index (BMI), checks her blood pressure and measures the width of her neck – anything unusually wide carries a greater chance of apnoea. Bands around her chest and abdomen measure her diaphragm moving, as does a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure) that blows air at gentle pressure into her nose. Scientists adjust the pressure during the night. “If you have sleep apnoea, you’re not actually breathing, so on the system there will be a flatline for a few seconds,” Kalistu says.
Her test results were ‘through the roof’, showing she stopped breathing 110 times every hour.
How severe a person’s sleep apnoea is depends on how often they stop breathing in an hour, a scale known as the apnoea hypopnea index or AHI. Five to 15 events is considered mild; 15 to 30 moderate; and more than 30 severe. (Susan Graham says her test results were “through the roof”, showing she stopped breathing 110 times every hour, or nearly once every 30 seconds.)
Computers in the next room chart the patients’ breathing, eye movements, heartbeat and brain waves. Some lines become more squiggly as the patient enters the deeper stages of sleep known as slow wave and rapid eye movement. The monitors also record snoring, which Kalistu has seen exceed 70 decibels, roughly the rumble of a washing machine. “In terms of the snore itself, it generally happens in our deeper sleep stages,” he says. But sleep apnoea also limits people from reaching deeper sleep. “As a result, they always wake up feeling groggy.”
It can be a patient’s bed partner, who has lost sleep listening to the silences between their companions’ bursts of snoring, who persuades them to seek a sleep test. But long gaps between breaths aren’t always noticeable or distinguishable from snoring. And for people who sleep alone, the signs of apnoea might be just tiredness, headaches or waking with a dry mouth.
The long-term effects of apnoea (we’ll get to them in a minute) worry Gina – “I’m nearly 60, I’m an Aboriginal woman, I’m in the danger zones for just about everything” – but being in a hospital similar to where she works has brought a sense of calm. “Maybe it’s because there are people around me.”
A sleep study can also be done at home, but the findings are not as granular, says David Cunnington. He will recommend these for people who are unlikely to have further underlying health problems. “It’s not that much simpler. But you go home then sleep the night and the next day you drop your equipment back.” In 2019, people aged between 65 and 74 were the most likely to do a laboratory study while those aged 45 to 64 were most likely to do a home test.
How does sleep apnoea affect your health?
Melinda Mahlberg could barely find the energy to make dinner for her family in south-west Sydney. “I just wanted to lie on the lounge and go to sleep.” She was making “silly mistakes” at work such as tripping over, once getting a black eye.
It’s well known that a poor night’s sleep can reduce our cognitive performance and ability to manage emotions. But Angela D’Rozario, a research leader at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, says the way sleep apnoea affects cognition can differ between people, with some still able to perform tasks that others can’t. “It’s so difficult to separate people; but we think part of that is they recruit other brain regions to maintain a level of performance.”
For most people though, the risks remain, including to others. Drivers with sleep apnoea are 2½ times more likely to have an accident, says Andrew Vakulin, of the Adelaide Institute of Sleep Health. In August, a Victorian coroner found a truck driver’s undiagnosed sleep apnoea possibly contributed to his failure to stop at an intersection in Corio in Geelong; he collided with a 27-year-old driver who died as a result. State licensing authorities generally follow Austroads’ Assessing Fitness to Drive guidelines, which require people with sleep disorders to report them, depending on their symptoms. Health professionals can also advise the licensing authority of someone’s incapacity to drive.
Untreated sleep apnoea doubles the risk of heart failure, and increases the risk of stroke.
In some cases, intoxication from drugs or alcohol can blunt the reflex of people with sleep apnoea to breathe, says Cunnington. “If you already have sleep apnoea, a smaller drug overdose might be more dangerous for you.” (A Los Angeles coroner found sleep apnoea contributed to Star Wars star Carrie Fisher’s death at age 60 in 2016, although they could not state the effect of multiple drugs found in her system.)
But it’s the longer-term consequences of sleep apnoea that are a worry, too. In 2018, it played a role in 1066 deaths in Australia, accompanying heart disease in more than one-third of those cases. Untreated sleep apnoea doubles the risk of heart failure, and increases the risk of stroke. Each time a person with apnoea wakes, a stress response is triggered in their body, Cunnington says. “If you just get repeated stress responses every single night, over time that baseline is just a bit higher and blood pressure sits at just a bit higher level. The heart muscle can be weakened over the years as well.”
Sleep serves many restorative functions, too, including cleaning neurotoxins in the brain. Emerging evidence suggests sleep apnoea interrupts this, putting people at greater risk of dementia. “One of the things that’s known about the cleaning process is that if you have elevated blood pressure at night, for example, the cleaning process is somewhat compromised,” says Craig Phillips, of the Woolcock Institute and Macquarie University, who is researching dementia’s links to sleep apnoea.
How is sleep apnoea treated (and what’s a CPAP machine)?
The labourer’s apnoea was so severe he would fall asleep on scaffolding at work. It was 1980 and Sydney physician Colin Sullivan recommended the man have a procedure called a tracheoscopy, in which a tube is inserted to allow breathing through the throat. But the man refused. So Sullivan offered to do an experiment.
At the time, it wasn’t known whether sleep apnoea was due to muscles in the airway tensing or relaxing. If the latter, Sullivan had an idea: a gentle stream of pressurised air holds the airway open during sleep. “Initially, I thought this would be a rescue therapy that someone like this man, who came in with really serious complications, could use to get them on treatment,” he says. “It was absolutely spectacular. In the morning, he woke up and he was bright and alert.”
Now known as the CPAP machine, Sullivan’s invention is the most common treatment for sleep apnoea. Joe Biden is one user, the White House said in June after indentations were visible on the president’s face from the mask one morning. The mask can cover both airways or just the nose and attaches to a small, box-shaped machine that sits at the bedside, as quiet as a desktop computer. An expert will recommend an air pressure depending on the severity of apnoea, typically after a sleep study.
It’s “definitely not sexy”, says Susan Graham of her machine. Still, Megan Rees swears they help more relationships than they harm. “I have certainly seen relationships blossom when people start being treated and the snoring and gasping stops.”
Melinda Mahlberg’s snoring was a source of tension for her and her husband. “We’ve got friends who sleep in separate rooms and I thought, well, maybe that’s where we’re headed ... because I can’t just choose to stop snoring,” she says. Troy says he sometimes rolled over to disturb Melinda to stop the snoring. “I would feel guilty for that, she would feel guilty for snoring; we were all in this big guilt cycle.”
Now Melinda is using CPAP, they’re both sleeping better, but she still has a big “sleep debt” to repay. “I’ve only been using CPAP for two months, so I’m still looking forward to the benefits.”
‘I would love normal, whatever normal is. It would be nice to go to bed and just go straight to sleep.’
In milder cases, a kind of mouth guard called a mandibular advancement splint, which repositions the jaw and tongue, can stop the airway collapsing. A specialist dentist will usually fit the device. “Some people find these more comfortable than CPAP, and they have good research to support their use,” says Cunnington. “[But] if you try to push the jaw too far, it can cause discomfort. It can also cause the teeth to shift over time.” Surgery can also help widen airways in some cases, such as for children with large tonsils. “There’s no uniform surgery; it’s an individualised approach.”
And losing weight is an option for many, although exhaustion can make you less inclined to exercise and more likely to seek out sweet snacks for energy. Several hormones that affect appetite and metabolic rate also need the deeper stages of sleep to be properly regulated. “You end up being in a vicious cycle,” says Rees. Still, one study showed people who lost 10 per cent of their body weight had a 26 per cent drop in how many times they stopped breathing while asleep.
Weight-loss drugs could be a new frontier, but the evidence is still emerging. Trials overseas of the drug, Wegovy, and a similar drug called tirzepatide with two active ingredients, have found body weight dropped by about 15 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. “We actually think it’s going to be a game-changer,” says Craig Phillips, who has evaluated the potential of the drugs. Tirzepatide is being trialled for its ability to make sleep apnoea less severe. Gastrointestinal side effects are one sticking point, but these can be offset by gradually increasing the dosage, Phillips says.
Different drugs also still in trials could prevent muscles in the throat from relaxing during sleep. If successful, these could complement existing treatments, Cunnington says. “A mouth guard plus medication might well prevent them needing to go on to CPAP.”
Sullivan isn’t concerned his machines will be displaced just yet though. “Sleep apnoea is not simply weight; [many] people probably have a relatively small airway that puts them at risk,” he says. “I honestly don’t believe we’re going to find the silver bullet.” Graham is one patient who believes she would suffer from sleep apnoea for life without CPAP. “It’s not instantaneous that you feel better; it takes a while for your body to get used to actually getting sleep again,” she says. “Now, I can’t sleep without it.”
As Gina Bundle waits for the results of her sleep test, she just wants to know what a good night’s sleep is. “I would love normal, whatever normal is. It would be nice to go to bed and just go straight to sleep.”
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Looking for that perfect gift for that special someone or for yourself? It’s that time of the year. We’ve rounded up some great ideas for health and fitness wearable tech lovers. Holiday sales are in full swing so you’ll be able to get many of these with sizeable discounts.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
For those who prioritize health and wellness, gifting health and fitness technology can be a thoughtful gesture. It’s a way to show you care about your partner’s health and support their fitness goals. A fitness tracker or smartwatch as a gift can be practical and useful in tracking their fitness progress and monitoring their health.
With a wide variety of products available, you can find something that aligns perfectly with your loved one’s needs and preferences. Thanks to the latest technological advancements, these devices make monitoring health and fitness more accessible, offering an excellent way to encourage and motivate your partner towards a healthier lifestyle.
Read on for our selection.
If you are looking for a fitness tracker, you won’t go wrong with a Fitbit. The company is a best selling brand for a reason.
Launched in September, Charge 6 is the most feature-packed fitness band around. It represents a great choice for the average person who does the occasional run here and there and is not looking for a fully fledged smartwatch.
The device comes with a decent sized AMOLED display, water-resistance and up to 7 days of battery life. You’ll find everything you need for 24/7 activity tracking including a heart rate monitor and some more advanced health tracking technology. This includes an ECG sensor, along with an EDA sensor for stress readings. The thing even has built-in GPS which ensures the data on pace and distance is accurate when you’re running.
If you are looking for a smartwatch, one of the devices in the Versa range is the way to go. This is Fitbit’s second smartwatch and its first proper one. The benefit of buying a Versa is that you’ll get something with a bigger display, apps you can install, Alexa control, smartphone notifications and contactless payments. If, on the other hand, you want absolutely everything the company has on offer as far as health and activity tracking, check out the Fitbit Sense line.
Whoop is something for those that are serious about their athletic pursuits. The main focus of the wearable is on recovery and sleep stats. The device helps you better understand your body and how to properly refuel. The ultimate aim of the wearable is to reduce the risk of injury and predict peak performance.
In our hands-on review we found Whoop to be a really well thought out product. To get the most benefit out of the wearable use the journal to experiment with changes. Vegetarian food? Alcohol? Coffee? Supplements? Adopt your daily routine to find what works for you. WHOOP is a great platform to experiment with changes.
The device offers a great learning experience. A few brands have tried to imitate what it does, but Whoop is still the pack leader as far as sleep and recovery insights. And now, with version 4.0, you have a multiple ways of wearing the band. The two main ones are on the wrist and on the upper arm.
WHOOP (currently 20% off RRP)*
RingConn has emerged as a notable player in the smart ring market, especially appealing to those focused on monitoring their recovery metrics. Its design is sleek, ensuring it doesn’t interfere with daily tasks, and its straightforward setup appeals to a broad consumer base.
As noted in our hands-on review, the RingConn app is rich in data, which might initially seem daunting, but it impressively provides detailed insights. Its compatibility with platforms like Apple Health and Google Fit enhances its utility. The ring’s standout feature is its accuracy in tracking recovery statistics, such as resting heart rate and sleep quality, holding its own against established competitors like Whoop. Although its heart rate monitoring during physical activity could use improvement, the company’s commitment to regular updates and community engagement is promising for future enhancements.
Overall, RingConn impresses with its features, design, and performance, positioning itself as a strong contender against the likes of the Oura Ring, but with a more attractive price and no ongoing subscription costs.
Currently $50 off on the manufacturer’s website. At checkout, use discount code BFD50EC113 for an additional $10 off.
This is an ECG device like no other. Put a credit card next to KardiaMobile Card and you’ll notice they have exactly the same dimensions and thickness. The look and feel is pretty much identical. Which means you can slip KardiaMobile Card into your wallet, pocket or bag and it will quietly sit there until you take it out to capture a reading.
This is a medical-grade single-lead ECG device that has been approved by the FDA – meaning you can have confidence in its measurements. It can spot six of the most common heart arrhytmias. There’s no charging and the card should work for a couple of years with the internal battery intact.
Check out our full hands-on review. We enjoyed the whole concept and ease of taking readings and the simple to use smartphone app. The little device presents itself as a complete solution for those suffering from heart issues or those who simply want to keep a closer eye on their heart health.
AliveCor (currently $20 off RRP)*
This is the most advanced hybrid you can buy today. Its headline feature is the ability to spot a serious form of irregular heart rhythm that can lead to heart failure and is a major risk for stroke. Scanwatch has a PPG sensor that is capable of spotting the condition plus you can take an ECG. The wearable also has a blood oxygen monitor and has Sleep Apnea detection, alongside the usual sensors to help users track their activity day and night.
ScanWatch is for those looking for something that doesn’t look like a fitness tracker yet performs the functionalities of one. For those that want powerful health tracking but with a touch of class.
The Garmin Venu 3 series, succeeding the Venu 2 Plus, introduces a variety of enhancements, positioning it as a great gift for fitness and tech lovers. This new series is available in two sizes, catering to a broader range of wrist sizes, and features a lighter, fiber-reinforced polymer design for enhanced comfort. The display on the Venu 3 is notably larger and offers higher resolution, providing a more vibrant and user-friendly experience.
One of the most significant upgrades in the Venu 3 series is its extended battery life, offering up to 14 days in smartwatch mode. This improvement is particularly appealing for those who prefer less frequent charging. Additionally, the series debuts new health-focused features such as Sleep Coach, Nap Detection, and Jet Lag Adviser, enhancing its utility for health and wellness tracking.
Overall, the Garmin Venu 3 series stands out as a thoughtful gift choice. Its blend of improved aesthetics, long battery life, and innovative health monitoring features make it a versatile and practical option for anyone interested in maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. The Venu 3 series combines functionality and style, making it a suitable accessory for both fitness tracking and everyday wear.
Your mom or dad might be one of the 80% statistic that don’t make use of their gym memberships. However, there’s a great alternative. Blazepod is an innovative system allowing anyone, from fitness enthusiasts to elite athletes, to improve their fitness level.
The wireless, portable system uses lights and sensors with pre-programmed exercises to help you increase agility, reaction time and more. You essentially get a Flash Reflex Training system designed to supercharge your workouts.
We really enjoyed our time with Blazepod. The best part about the product is that it makes exercise fun!
Blazepod (currently 25% off RRP)*
As good as wrist watches have become, at high intensity exercise they are still not as good as heart rate chest straps when it comes to accuracy. That is why many people opt to pair their sports watch with an external monitor when working out.
But there is something that goes beyond the standard heart rate chest strap. Frontier X spits out metrics such as Breathing Rate, Step Cadence, Training Load, Body Shock and Heart Rate Variability (HRV). But of more use is its advanced heart info – namely ECG, cardiac rhythm and cardiac strain. You’ll get real-time vibration alerts if you cross pre-defined thresholds. This enables you to find out in real time if your training intensity is causing undue stress to your heart.
Check out our hands-on review of the gadget. This is a wearable that sits somewhere between a sports and a health device. Those who train with mild heart conditions, those who are recovering from surgery or COVID might benefit from the device.
Frontier X2* (currently 25% off RRP)
Lumen is a breath analyzer that wants to reinvent weight management by monitoring your metabolism and providing a customized nutrition plan. It really is a one-of-a-kind device.
You might think your metabolism is the same each day, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It all depends on what and when you eat, how much you exercise, how much you sleep and other factors.
Our bodies tap into two main sources of energy: carbohydrates and fat. Knowing the ratio at which these two are being used at any point in time is important to achieving your health, weight and exercise goals. With each use, Lumen tells you what you’re using for energy. Having this type of data at your fingertips will help you learn how your body processes food, and fine tune your metabolism for the better.
The personal nutritionist in your pocket can be picked up on Lumen’s website. You can get 10% off by clicking on this link. Just make sure to use the code Gadgets10 at checkout (plus up to 50% is off for the holidays). Our full hands-on review can be found on this link.
Rounding off our ten health tech gift ideas is Muse S. This is a a meditation and sleep combination gadget.
Use it during the day to help you focus. There are EEG sensors in the headband, a heart rate monitor, along with an accelerometer and gyroscope to monitor body movement and breath. You can choose from a range of meditation experiences and all of this will be tracked for you in real-time. It definitely makes meditation more interesting.
At night Muse S can be used as a sleep wearable. Choose from a range of meditation experiences to help you fall asleep. Or opt for sleep stories, ambient sleep soundscapes and biofeedback sound soundscapes.
The latest update is something called a “Digital Sleeping Pill”. It plays sounds and knows when to tune them out thanks to Smart Fade technology. If you wake up during the night it will kick into gear once again until you fall back into slumber. The gadget works great – check out our full hands-on review on this link.
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Thanksgiving meal 2 photos
As you fill your plates this holiday season, it’s important to decide what to add, and what not to add to your meal.
Health experts say moderation is key.
Surrounded by holiday staples like turkey, casseroles, stuffing and more, it’s an easy time to overeat and break any healthy eating habits.
Sara Umphfleet, a registered dietitian at OSF HealthCare, says instead of focusing on what not to eat during the holidays, she focuses on what to eat.
He recommends surveying the table before making your plate and filling your plate with things you like. Don’t feel obligated to eat everything on offer, and make sure to have plenty of fruits and vegetables while trying your best to stick to healthy portion sizes.
“If you know it’s a time after breakfast before you have a Thanksgiving meal, I recommend people to have a healthy snack,” said Umphfleet. “Something like yogurt or nuts and some fruit to go with it. too much food for your Thanksgiving meal.”
Umphfleet also recommends having a balanced breakfast on Thanksgiving morning with protein, carbs and fruit.
With holiday eating can come heartburn, indigestion and/or acid reflux. Reflux is a disease condition in mild cases, but may mean surgery in advanced cases.
Changing your lifestyle is the easiest way to prevent it.
Tips include not eating after 6 PM, avoiding fatty foods, nicotine, caffeine and alcohol.
Make sure to exercise, and sleep on an incline with your head above the rest of your body.
More advanced cases of reflux may require medication or surgery, said OSF surgeon Dr. Greg Ward.
“We wrap the stomach around the esophagus a little bit so that food doesn’t go back up into the esophagus when it doesn’t have to,” said Dr. Ward.
Dr. added. Ward if you have surgery, no more soda. That’s because burping can undo the operation.
There are those who believe acupuncture to be a bunch of mumbo jumbo. I’m convinced it works, though. Acupuncture was first performed thousands of years ago, and it’s still being done today. That alone should tell you there’s something to it. Early practitioners believed they were balancing life force and rhythm. Modern science has proven that acupuncture may alter brain circuitry, change brain cell anatomy, and improve brain blood flow.
Way back in 2004, evidence emerged regarding acupuncture altering a specific brain pathway: from the gracile nucleus (an area in the medulla – a primitive brain area responsible for crucial life functions such as heart rate and breathing) to the thalamus (the main relay station for signals going from and coming to the brain). By stimulating this dorsal medulla-thalamic pathway, acupuncture effects may spread upwards to different parts of the cerebral cortex (mediating acupuncture effects on things such as pain, cravings, and anxiety) and downwards to the spinal cord (mediating acupuncture effects on things such as heart rate and digestion).
Over the ensuing two decades, new tools have evolved, which have made the study of brain circuits more precise. Chief among these is functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Like a standard MRI, fMRI yields beautiful, lifelike brain images. What’s more, fMRI uses blood flow or sugar metabolism to evaluate the activity of various brain regions and subregions.
In 2022, scientists evaluated patients with chronic migraine headaches who responded to acupuncture. After acupuncture or sham (control) treatment, the patients underwent clinical testing and fMRI. The researchers discovered a brain circuit altered by acupuncture: the medulla, cerebellum (a part of the brain responsible for muscular coordination), and precuneus (a part of the brain that allows one to feel in control of one’s actions and events in the external world).
One specific target, known as the Neiguan point, has received a lot of scientific attention. You know those wristbands with the little button they sell for seasickness? Sure, it seems like a scam, but there’s some science behind it. Way back in the prehistoric era of 2001, Swedish scientists enrolled sixty pregnant women in a randomized placebo-controlled trial. They proved that acupressure at the Neiguan point improved symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Subsequent analysis of twenty-six separate scientific studies bolstered the evidence, proving that stimulation of the Neiguan point improved nausea and vomiting, both due to morning sickness and other reasons. If you’re wondering why that goofy wristband never worked for you, you probably don’t know what the Neiguan point is and probably wore the darned thing on some random point on your wrist.
Stimulation of the Neiguan point has proven beneficial for more than just nausea and vomiting. A lot more! Brain cells (neurons) have receptors on their surfaces (like minuscule dream catchers) where floating proteins (neurotransmitters) can lodge. When a neurotransmitter attaches to a receptor, the activity of the neuron changes. Acupuncture at the Neiguan point may alter neuronal receptors, especially in the hippocampus (part of the brain responsible for learning and memory). Based on this knowledge, doctors began testing acupuncture at the Neiguan point to treat memory problems.
In 2023, scientists evaluated fMRI of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease immediately after acupuncture treatment. The researchers reported changes in the activity of the cingulate cortex (a brain area involved with emotion, learning, and memory), frontal lobe (an area of the brain that controls executive functions), and cerebellum of treated subjects. Based on this anatomy, they concluded that acupuncture may change the activity in the default mode network (DMN) of the brain. The DMN is a wide network of far-flung neuronal nodes in the neocortex, wired together by white matter (axonal) cables. The DMN is active in the background of your consciousness and is crucial for inner thoughts such as reminiscing and daydreaming. The DMN becomes especially active when you think about others or plan for future events.
Also in 2023, different scientists studied the effects of acushock (electrical stimulation of acupoints) at the Neiguan and Shiguo points after traumatic brain injury. The scientists enrolled more than eighty patients after mild to moderate head trauma and randomly assigned half of them for treatment. Those who received acushock had laboratory evidence (blood tests) of less brain damage and also enjoyed a better level of cognitive (thinking) function. The scientists concluded that acupuncture may improve the flow of oxygen and nutrients and thus limit the secondary effects of brain injury.
Yet another research team examined the effects of acushock in a cohort of elderly patients undergoing a type of surgery known to induce cognitive decline (surgery on the heart and lungs) and separately a group of patients undergoing bowel surgery. The researchers stimulated the Neiguan and Zuslani points in half of the patients (randomly assigned). Those who received acushock had laboratory evidence (blood tests) of less brain damage and also enjoyed a better level of cognitive (thinking) function.
I don’t know whether reading this has made you an acupuncture believer, but I hope it opened your mind, at least a little bit.
DANVILLE, Pa. – Patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema can now undergo a minimally invasive procedure at Geisinger, known as the Zephyr valve treatment, to help them breathe a little easier.
“Before we had this technology, when our patients were still symptomatic despite optimal medical management, their only option was to have lung transplantation or surgery for lung volume reduction, where bad parts of the lung are removed,” says said Ngoc-Tram Ha, MD, Geisinger director of interventional pulmonology. “The morbidity and mortality rates in those surgeries can be significantly higher than in less-invasive procedures, such as endobronchial valves. The Zephyr valves create better air redistribution in the lungs in a minimally invasive way, allowing patients to breathe more effectively and have a better quality of life.”
More than 15 million Americans have COPD, and of those, more than 20% have emphysema. Severe disease can cause air to become trapped in parts of the lung that are extremely damaged, preventing new air from getting in. Trapped air makes the lungs larger and puts pressure on the diaphragm, making it difficult to breathe or catch one’s breath. There are few treatment options for these patients and there is no cure.
With the Zephyr valve treatment, a physician uses a bronchoscope to place endobronchial valve devices in the airways of the lungs. The valves divert air into less-diseased parts of the lung while deflating the worst parts of the lung, taking pressure off the diaphragm and making it easier to breathe.
Zephyr received breakthrough device designation and FDA approval on the valve treatment system in 2018.
Visit Geisinger’s website to find a lung doctor or for more information on pulmonary care.
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at geisinger.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.