Ask a Respiratory Therapist? Do I Need an Oxygen Concentrator?

Not everyone with a chronic lung disease will need to use oxygen therapy. Not all those who need oxygen therapy need to use an oxygen concentrator. An oxygen concentrator isn't the only way to get oxygen therapy, since oxygen tanks can sometimes be the better option. However, in most cases, oxygen concentrators are much more convenient, and will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Oxygen therapy is necessary when not enough oxygen can be breathed in by the lungs, and transferred to the blood stream. If enough of the lungs are damaged, it can cause low blood oxygen levels and an increase in carbon dioxide, which cannot be properly exhaled. Oxygen therapy increases blood oxygen levels to normal, and allows for the carbon dioxide to be expelled properly.

Those who need oxygen therapy, will find themselves feeling lethargic and will have trouble sleeping at night. Low blood oxygen levels will make it hard to function on all levels, especially mentally. Low blood oxygen over time will cause he heart to weaken, and will eventually lead to heart disease. It can also contribute to dementia and other mental problems.

How do I know if I need oxygen therapy?

Your doctor will determine whether or not you have a medical need for oxygen therapy. Anyone can benefit from non-medical supplemental oxygen from an oxygen concentrator. There are some oxygen concentrators on the market that are used specifically by those who only want to use oxygen therapy, because it is good for the body in general.

If you are feeling lethargic, but your doctor find that you have no medical need for oxygen therapy (he or she didn't write a prescription for it) you can purchase an oxygen concentrator to use on occasion to give you a boost of energy. Oxygen-rich blood being fed to all the parts of your body gives energy and can even boost your immune system. You should always get your doctor's advice about how much supplemental oxygen you should get.

To determine if you do indeed need oxygen therapy, your doctor can run a few tests, such as an arterial blood gas test, chest x-rays and a spirometry test. If you are prescribed oxygen therapy, your doctor also determines what dosage you will need. You will need your prescription and dosage information when choosing an oxygen concentrator for medical use.

You will need to pick out your oxygen concentrator with your dosage needs in mind, first and foremost. After you know your dosage needs will be met, you will need to consider your lifestyle and for how many hours each day you will need to use your oxygen concentrator. If you need to do a lot of traveling, you can look into getting a portable oxygen concentrator.

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