The purity level of your oxygen delivery is extremely important to your therapy and overall health. An oxygen concentrator is used to maintain a certain level of purity at each individual setting. But what exactly is oxygen purity and what does it mean?
Oxygen is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas that makes up approximately 20% of the air we breathe. If you suffer from COPD or other lung/respiratory diseases you probably require supplemental oxygen. Perhaps you’ve heard your doctor mention oxygen purity when talking about your ideal settings and levels. The word “purity” refers to how pure of a percentage of concentrated oxygen is available to the patient. Medical grade oxygen for an oxygen concentrator should be no less than 90.0% and no more than 96.0%. It’s also important to consider your altitude level when looking at ideal oxygen saturation levels. For example, an ideal saturation level at or near sea level will fluctuate slightly from cities at a higher altitude such as Denver, Colorado. If you’re unsure or confused about your required oxygen levels, consult your doctor.
Luckily, advancements in technology have allowed patients to check and monitor their blood-oxygen levels comfortably at anytime! A pulse oximeter is a small and lightweight device that painlessly attaches to a fingertip and is a great way to keep on top of your health! Pulse oximeters measure pulse rate and the level of oxygen in your blood to ensure you’re concentrator is providing you with the purity and concentration you need! Click the following link to learn more about pulse oximeters.
There are also ways to maintain and take care of your oxygen concentrator to ensure it will continue delivering a consistent level of oxygen purity for many years to come. One of the easiest ways is by cleaning any Gross Particle Filters in your machine. This is the filter that should be cleaned and replaced periodically. An unclean filter can bring down your oxygen purity level. Follow the directions in your owners manual on how to clean, remove, and replace a Gross Particle Filter or check out the following blog posts:
- How to Clean and Maintain Your Home Concentrator
- How to Clean and Maintain Your Portable Concentrator
It’s also important to note that older models of concentrators can suffer from low purity levels. This is usually due to the model not being properly refurbished or their internal and external filters being too dirty/clogged.
If you have a new oxygen concentrator and you have been keeping up with regular filter cleaning, you should only consider having your oxygen purity tested when you see or hear an oxygen purity error or warning message on your machine. Most concentrators today feature oxygen purity alarm systems that will alert you if your oxygen purity levels drop below their ideal range.
The percentage of pure oxygen concentration that you, the patient, receive via cannula or mask is extremely important to your oxygen therapy and overall health. It’s important to note that no two people are alike in terms of their purity and setting requirements. Things such as gender, weight, and genetics play an important role in how well your body can absorb oxygen. If you're concerned about your oxygen purity levels or simply want to be proactive, regular filter cleaning and the use of a pulse oximeter are great ways to keep an eye on your oxygen purity and monitor its effectiveness.