Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a group of progressive lung diseases. The most common are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Many people with COPD have both of these conditions. The top cause of COPD is smoking. According to the ALA, smoking is linked to about 80 percent of all COPD deaths. Sufferers of COPD experience shortness of breath, fatigue, chronic coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and more serious symptoms. It can be extremely difficult to carry on the normal day to day activities with COPD so many turn to home oxygen therapy to help.
Home oxygen systems can improve the quality of life dramatically for someone with COPD. After continued long-term use of oxygen, it will decrease breathlessness, increase exercise endurance, improves mood and mental alertness, and will ultimately prolong life. According to the website Healthline home oxygen therapy can also reduce symptoms such as headaches, irritability, fatigue and swollen ankles. Many COPD sufferers may need to receive oxygen therapy for at least 15 hours every day depending on their symptoms and disease.
A physician, respiratory therapist, or nurse may recommend a medical supply store that carries home oxygen. It is also very easy to locate them online or in the yellow pages. When ordering a home oxygen system it is important to ensure that the company will deliver and install it as well as teach proper care and cleaning of the equipment. Once the machine and oxygen have been delivered keeping on top of ordering new oxygen before the supply runs out is important. Many healthcare providers will help create a schedule that is easy to stick to. It might also be beneficial to keep a backup oxygen tank that does not run on electricity in case there is a power failure.
The average survival for COPD patients using long-term oxygen therapy for at least 18 hours a day is approximately double that of those who don’t use supplemental oxygen. Despite this evidence, studies show that the average number of hours that a patient uses daily supplemental oxygen is typically less than what the doctor has prescribed. Many avoid it because they do not fully understand the benefits, are concerned about side effects, find it difficult to use or are self-conscious using the machine. COPD doesn’t have to be a death sentence nor does it have to dictate anyone’s day to day schedule. Home oxygen is a hugely beneficial therapy that improves and prolongs life.