Decreasing Stigma & Social Isolation with Portable Oxygen Therapy

People with COPD often face unfortunate social consequences that are likely to stem from the visible effects of the illness. Disability – struggling to breathe – the use of supplemental oxygen and mobility aids – many patients report feeling stigmatized by the people around them as a direct result of these serious, observable consequences.1

Why Stigma? Why COPD?

The arms of stigma are far-reaching, stretching across countries, communities, religious groups and individuals.  Stigma occurs when members of society negatively judge – and consequentially devalue – a person because of a distinguishing characteristic or “mark.”

Stigma in COPD is largely associated with the grossly misled perception that COPD is a self-inflicted illness primarily caused by smoking. Although clearly distorted, the message being conveyed is that people with a history of smoking should be held accountable for their actions.

Sources of Stigma

Family, friends and members of the community aren’t the only sources of social stigma; physicians and other health care professionals are reportedly just as culpable. The impact of stigmatization can have a dramatic effect on how patients cope with the disease, leading to depression, loneliness and social isolation.2

Stigma, COPD and Health Care

When patients face possible negative repercussions or feel judged by their health care providers, they may feel hesitant to seek health care altogether. They may also feel reluctant to seek specific medical treatment related to the stigmatized behavior or decline treatment that shows they have COPD.1


Can Portable Oxygen Therapy Reduce Social Stigma?

Clinical studies suggest that social stigma related to using supplemental oxygen is one of the top reasons that many people are reluctant to use it. Switching to a more discreet oxygen system like the Inogen One G3 eliminates the need to lug around embarrassing oxygen tanks that attract attention, limit mobility and restrict independence.

One of the many social benefits of using a long-term, portable oxygen concentrator is that it increases social interaction and the ability to self-manage routine activities3 and can also reduce self-consciousness, thus improving oxygen adherence.

Why Choose the Inogen One?

POCs that are heavy, cumbersome and have a limited battery supply are at the root of many consumer complaints.4  Compact and light-weight, the Inogen One G3 offers patients with breathing problems an innovative solution to traditional home and portable oxygen systems. At only 4.8 pounds and 7.25 inches high, it can be discreetly tucked away in an attractive carry bag that you can strap across your shoulder or carry in your hand. If you prefer something on the sportier side, the Inogen One G3 backpack has adjustable straps that provide the ultimate fit without sacrificing comfort.

With the Inogen One, you no longer have to interrupt your social event for fear of running out of oxygen. The Inogen One G3 comes with a single battery that lasts up to 4.5 hours and a double battery that lasts up to nine. Once you arrive home, you can forget about switching from your portable oxygen source to a bulky home unit; the Inogen One G3 can be safely used at home, in place of your stationary unit.

Social Stigma Got You Down? Consider the Inogen One

If social stigma affects how you feel about supplemental oxygen, consider the Inogen One G3; the smarter choice for oxygen therapy. To learn more about the social benefits of portable oxygen therapy, read: Top 6 Social Benefits of Portable Oxygen Therapy.


Author: Deborah Leader RN, BSN, PHN


1Joy L. Johnson,et. al. Understanding the Social Consequences of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society, Vol. 4, No. 8 (2007), pp. 680-682.
2A.C. Simpson and G.M. Rocker. Advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: rethinking models of care QJM. (2008) 101 (9): 697-704 first published online July 31, 2008 doi:10.1093/qjmed/hcn08.
3Goldbart J1, Yohannes AM, Woolrych R, Caton S. Health Qual Life Outcomes. It is not going to change his life but it has picked him up’: a qualitative study of perspectives on long term oxygen therapy for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 2013 Jul 25;11(1):124. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-11-124.
4Stamatis Katsenos and Stavros H. Constantopoulos. “Long-Term Oxygen Therapy in COPD: Factors Affecting and Ways of Improving Patient Compliance,” Pulmonary Medicine, vol. 2011, Article ID 325362, 8 pages, 2011. doi:10.1155/2011/325362.

Photo Credit: Flickr, seattlemunicipalarchives, Doctors with patient

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