Most oxygen concentrators can work just as well at high altitudes as they do at sea level, but some models are better than others depending on how high you want to go. Whether you want to climb to the top of Japan's Mt. Takao, or go hiking high in the Rocky Mountains, you will need to check how high your oxygen concentrator can go, so you can safely reach these heights.
An oxygen concentrator works by bringing in the air around it. Less oxygen at higher altitudes means it will have a much harder time working at a certain point above sea level. It won't be able to purify enough air for you to breathe if there isn't enough in the atmosphere around you.
Climbing quickly to high altitudes can be dangerous for anyone. Altitude sickness, also known as “Acute Mountain Sickness” or AMS, can happen to anyone because of the lack of oxygen in the air at high altitudes.
If one travels upward too high and too quickly (around 1600 feet or 500 meters per day), the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere isn't enough to keep the body healthy. The symptoms of AMS can mimic the symptoms of a hangover, or be bad enough to put someone in the hospital. Before you do something as strenuous as climb a mountain or hiking at high altitudes, you will need to talk to your doctor.
Check out what people had to say about our portable oxygen concentrators, while they were traveling about and admiring the world from a bird's eye view.
Karen, 57, owner of a Respironics SimplyGo – I decided to get my SimpleGo because of how high it can go and still give me the oxygen I need. When I was diagnosed with COPD and my doctor prescribed oxygen with a continuous flow, I was sad because I thought that meant I wouldn't be able to climb Mt. Takao, which was on my bucket list for many years. When I read that it can go as high as 10,000 feet, it offers a continuous flow and is only 10 lbs, I knew I had to get it. I have a bad back, so I didn't want to carry something up a mountain that weighed close to 20 lbs. This concentrator was perfect for what I needed and I'm planning on go back to Mt. Takao again next year!
Jim, 60, owner of a SeQual Eclipse – I wasn’t about to give up my love for hiking in the Rockies when I was diagnosed with Emphysema 5 years ago. Lugging around oxygen tanks just wasn't going to work for me either, so that's when I got my Eclipse. I got it because it can go as far up as 13,123 feet above sea level, which is more than enough for someone like me. I also need continuous flow, which it delivers, and the batteries are enough to get me through until I can charge them again.
Randy, 55, rented an Inogen One G2 – I found out my family was going on an adventure to hike to the top of Guadalupe peak in Texas, and at first I didn't think I'd be able to come along because of my need for oxygen therapy throughout the day, and I couldn't exactly bring my home concentrator with me. I got the 24 cell for the longer battery life, and this thing was great because of how light it was. I had a good time with my family on our vacation because I rented this concentrator.