When you step out while using your portable oxygen therapy, whether you are using a portable oxygen concentrator or oxygen tanks, you might feel a little self conscious because you're the only one in a group of people who has one. It's normal to feel this way, even though you shouldn't let it bother you. You might feel like the odd one out, but it would surprise you how many other people use portable oxygen in the United States.
Severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is just one of a few different diseases that would call for the need for oxygen therapy on a normal basis. Under COPD falls chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which are most commonly caused by smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Other diseases that can be treated with oxygen therapy are both chronic and short term. The acute ones that you people might need oxygen therapy for are pneumonia, severe asthma flare-ups, and respiratory distress syndrome. If you end up in the hospital, you might need oxygen therapy, but it will most likely not be portable.
Chronic diseases that are long term and severe will most likely require oxygen therapy. Other than COPD, these chronic illnesses are late-stage heart failure, cystic fibrosis and sleep apnea. These diseases all prevent enough oxygen from being absorbed into the blood stream and delivered throughout the body.
Considering over 15 million Americans have reported having COPD, we can start to get a ballpark figure as to how many people in the US use portable oxygen. Since COPD usually doesn't get caught and diagnosed until it’s in its moderate to severe stage, many people with COPD have it severe enough to need oxygen therapy.
Not everyone who uses oxygen therapy will be able to use portable oxygen. It might be more cost effective, or it might meet their dosage requirements better to use a stationary oxygen concentrator. Even though you would need refills and oxygen deliveries for tanks, you might prefer to use them if you don't want to have to recharge your portable oxygen concentrator.
Many people who need oxygen therapy, who are able to use a portable oxygen concentrator because it meets their dosage requirements, will choose to do so because it gives them more freedom. You might want to take a trip on a plane, or you might need to fly somewhere. You can't take tanks with you to use during a flight, but you can use a portable oxygen concentrator that is approved by the FAA while on board any commercial flight to or from United States soil.