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Understanding the Psychological Benefits of Portable Oxygen Therapy

The benefits of oxygen therapy are well-documented. They include reduced fatigue and a better night’s sleep, as many individuals have sleep disorders related to breathing issues, and in the cases of individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it can help increase lifespan.[1] Of course, these are all powerful benefits, but it’s important to realize the psychological benefits that arise from improved health and greater independence. Let’s take a look at how portable oxygen therapy can impact patients’ well-being and improve the quality of their lives.

How Oxygen Therapy Impacts Your Well-Being

For many people, a debilitating illness represents an enormous change in one’s quality of life. Individuals who are used to unlimited freedom are now faced with the prospect of remaining in their home or limited to short, carefully planned outings with oxygen tanks, all with time and mobility restricted by the size of the tank and the finite amount of oxygen available in traditional oxygen canisters. When you are unable to do even the simplest of tasks, whether it is spending time with family or friends, running simple errands or enjoying a hobby without worrying about running out of oxygen, it can be extremely demoralizing.

Making matters worse is the fact that many individuals with respiratory-related ailments like COPD, cystic fibrosis or sleep-related breathing disorders still have the mobility to walk and enjoy the outdoors, yet can be hamstrung by lack of oxygen. Imagine a life-changing diagnosis that not only impacts your physical well-being, but because it restricts you from doing what you love, also impacts your emotional and mental well-being, too. Not surprisingly, doctors diagnose many of these individuals with low levels of depression and prescribe medication accordingly.

Oxygen therapy can help with the physical aspects of your well-being. It can help you feel less short of breath, feel less fatigued, get better sleep, improve your exercise tolerance and help you live longer.[2]

These benefits are hard to dispute. However, the frustration that comes with being tethered to cumbersome oxygen tanks and having to plan every outing by the amount of oxygen in your tank can wear you down. But there is now another option. Portable oxygen machines let individuals reclaim their independence by giving them back their freedom and mobility, even while receiving oxygen therapy. The days of portable oxygen tanks with a limited supply are a distant memory; Inogen portable oxygen machines are approved for stationary, portable and travel use, as well as for daytime and nighttime use. Moreover, they can provide an endless supply of oxygen, as long as they have power, so they never run out of oxygen.

The result? Greater freedom and mobility, and with it, greater peace of mind.

Better Quality of Life with Portable Oxygen Concentrators

Time and again, customers tell us how frustrated they were with traditional oxygen canisters and older, heavy oxygen concentrators. One study revealed that study participants felt their quality of life had been decreased because of heavy and cumbersome portable oxygen cylinders.[2] Feeling trapped by your own oxygen therapy is difficult, to say the least, and losing your freedom and mobility can feel like too much on top of a serious diagnosis. Thankfully, portable oxygen concentrators offer a solution.

While oxygen canisters make it difficult to leave the house easily and can make moving around difficult, a portable oxygen concentrator allows for increased mobility inside and outside the home.[4] WIth a portable oxygen concentrator, you can continue to participate in your life, moving through your daily activities with ease and enjoying coming and going whenever you want. Because a portable oxygen concentrator is able to pull from the surrounding air to create purified and concentrated supplemental oxygen, you can get your oxygen therapy wherever you are. You can go grocery shopping, meet a friend for lunch, head to an appointment or enjoy time with loved ones, all while using your portable oxygen concentrator. Just plug it in to recharge, or carry extra batteries with you, and you are good to go for hours. 

For many people, the hardest part of a chronic lung disease is the profound life changes that come with it. Portable oxygen concentrators can reduce the impact of your chronic disease on your day-to-day life. Since you are able to take your oxygen with you wherever you go, you are no longer limited in what you can do like you would be with a traditional oxygen tank. With a portable oxygen concentrator, you can enjoy a better quality of life

The Psychological Impact of Inogen’s Portable Oxygen Concentrators

The physical ease of being able to move around more easily with a portable oxygen concentrator is a significant benefit, but the psychological benefits are profound, too. In fact, one study showed that using portable oxygen resulted in a significant decrease in anxiety and depression, and gave study participants a feeling of mastery over their disease.[3] Imagine the relief that comes with reducing shortness of breath and other symptoms of your lung disease without having to worry about running out of oxygen. It is certainly much easier to enjoy your life when you feel physically better and are freed from the worry of using all the oxygen in your tank. This is precisely the kind of feedback we receive from Inogen customers time after time. We are profoundly proud of our customers’ stories, and they show just how significant the psychological benefits of Inogen One Portable Oxygen Concentrators can be.  

Nancy L. says that with her Inogen One G3, “I can go anywhere and not have to worry about being able to breathe. I use it anytime we go out, and around the house.” She goes on to describe her experiences interacting with others while using her Inogen One G3, “People adjust to the very low sound almost immediately. It is a great device that allows people like me who need oxygen to live a normal life. Thank you… you have changed my life for the better!”

Clearly, the relief that comes with not having to worry about how oxygen therapy will impact your ability to live a normal life is hard to measure, but we think it’s worth its weight in gold. Just as important to your mental health is the ability to get around easily. While the previously mentioned study participants felt their quality of life was reduced by oxygen cylinders, many Inogen patients feel just the opposite about the impact of their Inogen One Portable Oxygen Concentrators on their lives. Diane O. describes the ease of getting around with her Inogen One G5, saying, “Went on my first outing since getting my G5. What a great feeling of freedom it is not to have to haul around tanks. I just put it in the basket of my walker and go!” Similarly, Peggy B. tells us, “My husband has been on oxygen 24/7 for the past 4+ years and, until we received our new Inogen One G5 last week, it was a major hassle to be out of the house for an extended period. […] Last week, my husband had a doctor’s appointment that, for various reasons, went over 4 hours door to door. We used a little more than 50% of the battery life on his new Inogen One G5! No more worrying about running out of oxygen.” 

Find Out How Inogen Can Improve Your Quality of Life

Being diagnosed with a debilitating disease or illness is hard enough, but then being told you will require oxygen therapy can be even harder to accept. Part of the reason it is so difficult is knowing your life will change drastically. Trying to come to terms with living your life on oxygen can have very real psychological impacts, and it can be hard to recover when your oxygen therapy makes your life harder. With an Inogen One Portable Oxygen Concentrator, you can continue living your life, and the psychological benefits of that are immense. 

Inogen One Portable Oxygen Concentrators were designed specifically to improve the quality of life for patients on oxygen therapy. We believed that there had to be a better way than awkward oxygen tanks, so we created one. Because our goal was always to improve freedom, mobility and independence for our customers, we have been focused on meeting customers’ needs, both physical and psychological, to ensure that our products truly make their lives better. We are proud to say that we have been able to do just that while helping people breathe better, wherever they go. 

The next step was to find a way to help patients who are unable to use a portable oxygen concentrator because it does not meet their high flow oxygen therapy needs. If you are one of these customers, you may benefit from the Inogen TAV® System. The Inogen Tidal Assist Ventilator is an advanced respiratory assist device created especially for patients on high flow continuous oxygen. The Inogen TAV System works in conjunction with compatible oxygen concentrators and oxygen tanks to comfortably provide a higher oxygen flow and pressure with our innovative nasal pillow interface. The small, compact Inogen TAV® helps adult patients with respiratory insufficiency by providing them with a boost of oxygen just when they need it. Users are able to control the level of respiratory assistance they need with the touch of a finger, helping to reduce breathlessness and exertion while improving oxygen saturation and exercise endurance. If you are on high flow oxygen therapy, but still find yourself breathless after going up a flight of stairs or while having a conversation with a loved one, the Inogen TAV System can help. Patients say that with Inogen TAV, they can walk faster and further, without being as breathy, and that they feel a lot more power than they have felt in a long time. The psychological benefits of renewed endurance and reduced breathlessness are beyond measure. 

There is no way around it: your life will change once you begin oxygen therapy. However, whether those changes improve your life, or make it harder, may depend on the kind of oxygen therapy devices you use. We believe that your life should not stop because of oxygen therapy. Inogen is here to make sure that we can improve your quality of life on oxygen. Find out how we can help you breathe better by contacting us today. 

Oxygen. Anytime. Anywhere.

Sources:

[1] “Living With Oxygen Therapy.” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 24 Feb. 2012, web.archive.org/web/20150727200251/www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/oxt/livingwith

[2] AlMutairi, Hejab J, et al. “Perspectives From COPD Subjects on Portable Long-Term Oxygen Therapy Devices.” Respiratory Care, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 19 June 2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29921606/

[3] “The Benefits Of Supplemental Oxygen .” American Lung Association Better Breathers Club, 2018. https://www.lung.org/getmedia/fa6ec281-4745-431a-a91a-a44a8df511b6/68620_better_breathers_fac_guide_1808-final.pdf.pdfs.

[4] Eaton, T., et al. “Ambulatory Oxygen Improves Quality of Life of COPD Patients: a Randomised Controlled Study.” European Respiratory Society, European Respiratory Society, 1 Aug. 2002, erj.ersjournals.com/content/20/2/306. 6

4 thoughts on “Understanding the Psychological Benefits of Portable Oxygen Therapy”

  1. Avatar Frank Delaware says:

    Thank you for all this great information about oxygen therapy! One thing that really stood out to me is that you say that it can actually help people feel freedom from the confines of their home. It would be nice to know that you are going to be able to breath easy. http://sunrisemedequip.com

  2. Avatar Jay Slaybaugh says:

    I bought this G5 Inogen concentrator to use when I take our dogs for a walk. Problem I still get out of breath and have to stop every100 ft. or so to get my breath back. What's the answer to this ,thought the concentrator was the answer to of breath less ness.

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Jay,
      Glad to hear you're getting outside to walk your dogs. 🙂 I suggest you speak to your doctor about the breathlessness to see if he/she has any advice. Also, please visit the TAV pages of our website because this new product might be useful for you. The TAV is not compatible with the POC's (cylinders and Nidek Source 5 concentrator) , but might help you with breathlessness. Take care.

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