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For the human body to work perfectly it must have enough energy to pull oxygen from the air. If the amount of oxygen is being restricted, because of a chronic disease, such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), chronic bronchitis, emphysema, severe asthma, to name a few, a physician may prescribe at-home oxygen therapy.
To be eligible for home oxygen therapy, your doctor can order an arterial blood gas study or conduct a pulse oximetry test to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood. Usually, medical oxygen is required if your blood oxygen level is less than or equal to 55 mg Hg or your oxygen saturation level is 88% or lower. If it is determined that your blood oxygen levels are low enough, your doctor may then recommend you for therapy.
At first, it may seem daunting to have to be in charge of getting enough oxygen to your lungs. And dealing with the various types of equipment can be just as intimidating. However, if your physician has prescribed oxygen therapy it is for good reason and you’ll be best prepared by learning about all of the options.
The oxygen can be delivered a few ways. The cannula is comprised of two small tubes that are placed in both nostrils. For many patients this is the most unobtrusive method and it is also very easy to use the cannula. Oxygen can also be delivered through a face mask, which fits perfectly over a patient’s mouth and nose and is again, very easy to use. Oxygen masks are rare for use in long term oxygen therapy in the home and cannot be used with the Inogen One. And lastly, a patient may require a tracheotomy, which is a hole surgically constructed in the front of a person’s neck and into their windpipe. Breathing tube is placed into the hole to deliver the oxygen.
Oxygen therapy may help a patient function better and allow them to be more comfortable. This can help to decrease fatigue, improve sleep-related breathing difficulties and will help to increase the lifespan of some patients.
While many patients worry they will be restricted to oxygen tanks or large machines, this is not the case. Available to patients on the go are portable oxygen machines to make it easier than ever to get out and enjoy life!