What to Know When Using Supplemental Oxygen
Supplemental oxygen, also known as oxygen therapy, is a form of therapy prescribed by a physician to aid in the treatment of certain medical conditions. Supplemental oxygen can help alleviate the pain and stress that comes with many breathing problems and support vital bodily functions. Here, the home care professionals at Avila Home care discuss the uses of supplemental oxygen and what to know if you or a loved one requires oxygen therapy as a form of treatment.
When Do You Need Supplemental Oxygen?
Oxygen therapy is primarily used for individuals who can’t get enough oxygen on their own, often due to lung conditions such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), pneumonia, sleep apnea, and cystic fibrosis. If you have not been diagnosed with any of these conditions, but often struggle with breathing on your own, you may benefit from receiving oxygen therapy. Symptoms such as coughing or wheezing, shortness of breath and a rapid heart rate can be a sign that you are not getting enough oxygen to your lungs. Breathing troubles can be extremely stressful and lead to increased anxiety, stress and possible panic attacks. Catching your symptoms quickly, and being proactive about speaking with your doctor, can reduce the risk of further health problems and bring needed and welcomed relief.
What Are The Types of Oxygen Therapy?
Not all forms of supplemental oxygen are the same, and it is important to speak with a healthcare professional about what form may be right for you. The three primary types of oxygen therapy include concentrators, compressed oxygen gas and liquid oxygen. Concentrators are the cheapest option, but lack portability. With concentrators, a large tank is stored in the home, and oxygen is delivered through nasal tubes or a mask into the patient’s lungs. Compressed oxygen gas is a good option for those who want the flexibility to move outside of the home. With this method, a large tank remains in the home while a small tank can be taken outside, and oxygen is delivered in pulses rather than continuously. The last and most portable method of oxygen therapy is liquid oxygen, where small, refillable and highly concentrated tanks are used. This method tends to work best for active individuals.
How Can Supplemental Oxygen Benefit You?
While there are clear short-term benefits to incorporating supplemental oxygen into your daily health routine, patients who use oxygen therapy can also see long-term results that increase their quality of life. A lack of oxygen means a lack of energy and the inability to participate in social events and daily activities that you once could. Supplemental oxygen can help strengthen your mental health and stamina, increase exercise tolerance and improve social life. While some struggle with the idea that supplemental oxygen shows physical weakness, the benefits that oxygen therapy can bring far outweigh this limiting stigma. Being able to participate in everyday tasks without physical strain can keep you healthy and happy.
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