If you don't have an oxygen concentrator but you have been prescribed oxygen therapy, you are receiving oxygen through a machine that is connected to a tank. Whether you have cystic fibrosis, heart failure, or a chronic lung disease like COPD, having more oxygen delivered to your lungs will keep your body in good working order.
How Do Oxygen Concentrators Work?
Oxygen concentrators take in the air around you, and filter out all of the other gases, so you can breathe in pure oxygen through a face mask or a nasal cannula. A nasal cannula is the rubber tubing with the two pieces that can be inserted into your nostrils.
Not being able to absorb enough oxygen from your lungs to your bloodstream is dangerous for many reasons. Without enough oxygen to the brain, we can suffer memory loss and decrease in cognitive function. Insufficient oxygen delivered to our muscle cells can cause your muscles to cramp up. Your heart will begin to suffer, and you can develop heart disease or heart attacks. Delivery of extra oxygen to your lungs will ensure that you are getting enough throughout your body.
Why are Oxygen Concentrators Preferred over Oxygen Machines and Tanks?
Compressed oxygen tanks come in small and large sizes – large for around the house use and smaller, lighter ones for ground travel. Liquid oxygen tanks can contain more, since liquid oxygen takes up less room. Cylinders of liquid oxygen costs more for this reason. Oxygen tanks need to be refilled from a larger tank that you keep somewhere in your home. This larger tank has to be refilled by a delivery, and you have to make sure you don't run out before ordering more.
Home oxygen concentrators do not need to be refilled and don't require the use of any kind of tank, since they simply use the air that is already around you. Since they don't require a refill, they are much cheaper to use in the long run.
Getting Used to your Home Oxygen Concentrator
The kind of oxygen concentrator that you keep in your home is around the size of a kitchen trash receptacle and weighs around 30 pounds. You can wheel them around if you need to change the location of them from one side of the room to the other. They are usually quiet and might have a slight, humming “white noise” that can help you sleep.
These types of oxygen concentrators are not ideal for travel, because of how large and heavy they are. They also do not use a rechargeable battery and you can only use them when they are plugged into an outlet. They are, however, usually cheaper than portable oxygen concentrators, depending on the model.
Ask your doctor to help you choose an oxygen concentrator that will best fit your needs. He will also go over how to use it with you, and work with you as you get used to using it. There are different settings on these machines, and with the help from your doctor, the medical supply company and the owners manual, you can get to using it quickly and easily.