Are You Getting Enough Oxygen from Your Portable Machine?

Your doctor has prescribed a certain dosage of oxygen, determined by exactly how much you need on a regular basis to stay healthy. This is a very important number to stick to – the setting at which you need to be using your portable oxygen machine, how often you need to use it, and for how long.

Deviating from these dosages can be dangerous, whether you end up using too little or too much. Using too much can be damaging to your lungs, while not getting enough will cause serious health problems, because your body isn't getting the oxygen it needs. You must stick to your prescribed oxygen, because it should be treated just like any other medication.

Even if you follow your oxygen therapy dosage instructions, it can sometimes happen that you're not getting the amount you need. Most commonly, with a portable oxygen concentrator. Why is it that a portable oxygen concentrator might not be delivering the amount of oxygen you need? It's important to evaluate your machine from time to time, and check to make sure you're still receiving the oxygen you need.

Portable oxygen concentrators are smaller, and generally less powerful than most stationary oxygen concentrators. They need to be small and light enough to be able to be carried almost anywhere, so naturally, they can't hold as much machinery as many stationary models can hold.

They need to be able to stay powered by whatever form of electricity they use, and that takes more room and weight in the machine. Stationary models don't need to go anywhere, so most people don't mind if they're a little bigger and heavier. A portable oxygen concentrator has to be portable, so it needs to be powered by batteries and house less machinery – that means they generally are able to have lower settings.

So, how can you tell if you need more oxygen than what you're currently getting? The symptoms you would experience when you're not getting enough oxygen are pretty recognizable. You will feel tired and fatigued, even if you've only walked down to the mailbox. You would have a hard time sleeping at night, and you would probably wake up feeling like you didn't sleep at all. Headaches and body aches are common if you're not receiving enough oxygen, and you'll have trouble sleeping clearly.

If you're exercising while using a portable oxygen concentrator, the problem is that it's not conserving enough oxygen. You naturally need more oxygen the more you're moving, and while you're working out, your whole body needs a lot more oxygen than normal. If your portable oxygen concentrator isn't conserving enough, to deliver more when you need it, you won't be getting enough oxygen when you need it the most.

You might also need more oxygen now, than you did when you were first prescribed the use of oxygen therapy. If you're experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, then you should call your doctor to be seen. You might also benefit from having a small hand held pulse oximeter to use at home, to keep an eye on your blood oxygen level.

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

4 thoughts on “Are You Getting Enough Oxygen from Your Portable Machine?”

  • Helen Hughes

    I've been using oxygen 24/7 for 8-10 years. I have a pulse oximeter.I've been on "2" for a long time. My drs have told me to increase that when my level falls below 90.Both my home canister and portable are running at Home 4-5 And portable 3-4. I want to know what I do when these no longer keep my blood oxygen level high enough.

    • Danielle Jason

      If your machine is no longer able to provide you with the amount of oxygen your therapy requires, in order to continue safe and effective oxygen therapy you will need to have a machine that is capable of providing the levels you need. Give one of our Specialists a call at 877-774-9271. They will be able to work with you to find a solution that fits your budget and therapy needs.

  • Lee Helgoe

    I've been on oxygen for several years & now only use it when exercising. If my oxygen level is 90 plus am I o k, or should I keep it at 95 or higher?

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman January 24, 2019 at 2:08 am

      This is something that you should discuss with your doctor so that you can confirm where he would like you to be at during exercise.


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