If you've been diagnosed with moderate to severe COPD and your doctor has prescribed the use of oxygen therapy, you should consider purchasing an oxygen concentrator to do the job. Oxygen concentrators make life more simple and enjoyable for people who need to use oxygen therapy, especially if they need constant oxygen, or if they need it for many hours out of the day.
An oxygen concentrator doesn't require a refill of oxygen, which can be expensive in the long run, as well as an inconvenience and even a safety hazard – it draws in the air from anywhere you are and filters the oxygen, or concentrates it, so you are getting the dose of oxygen that you need.
You should know, however, that not all oxygen concentrators are created equal. If you've decided that an oxygen concentrator is best for you, since it is more convenient and cost effective in the long run, you will need to shop around for the one that is best for you. Start by asking yourself some questions:
- Will I be leaving the house frequently and will I be doing a lot of travel? Do my planned adventures require air travel?
- How long do I need to use oxygen each day, and at what flow rate?
- Do I want to fuss with a battery, or do I just want to plug it in and not worry about it?
- Will I be getting plenty of physical activity?
Portable vs. Home Oxygen Concentrators
If you do plan on leaving the house to travel, whether it is by plane, boat, car or train, or if you want to start being more physically active, you will want to invest in a portable oxygen concentrator. Most portables are approved for air travel and will continue working at high altitudes if you plan on doing some mountain climbing. For most people, they allow a lot of freedom.
If you want to save yourself the money, you don't want to do a lot of traveling and you don't need constant or very frequent oxygen, a home oxygen concentrator would be suitable for you. These are most often cheaper than portable oxygen concentrators, but they are usually much bigger and heavier and cannot be easily carted around.
Battery Life and Flow Rate
If you need a high flow rate for much of the day, or even if you need constant oxygen at a low flow rate, you will need to choose a portable oxygen concentrator with a longer oxygen battery life. You can get a spare battery that you can charge while you using the other one, so you can switch them out when needed, but you also need them to last so you can carry on doing the things you need to do throughout the day without changing out batteries.
If you need help, ask your doctor and he or she will help you choose an oxygen concentrator that will fit your needs. You can also make a call to the medical supplier and they will gladly assist you in shopping for the one that will be right for you.