Medical oxygen and you

oxygen_therapy

Home oxygen treatment involves breathing high concentrations of oxygen from a cylinder or machine in your home.

The main purpose of home oxygen treatment is to raise your blood oxygen to a level that prevents such harm. It also helps relieve breathlessness and other symptoms of low blood oxygen, such as ankle swelling and blue lips.

How home oxygen treatment can help

Breathing air with a higher concentration of oxygen can help increase the amount of oxygen in your blood. This makes it easier to do activities that might otherwise be more difficult. It also helps reduce the symptoms mentioned above.

Oxygen therapy can help people with a range of health conditions that affect breathing or blood circulation, including:

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a long-term disease of the lungs
  • severe long-term asthma
  • cystic fibrosis – an inherited disease that causes the lungs to become clogged with thick, sticky mucus
  • pulmonary hypertension – high pressure inside the arteries to the lungs, which causes damage to the right-hand side of the heart
  • obstructive sleep apnoea – a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep
  • diseases of the nerves and muscles or ribcage
  • heart failure – when the heart struggles to pump enough blood around the body

People who have oxygen therapy have different requirements. Some people only need oxygen therapy for short periods during the day, when they’re walking about (ambulatory oxygen). Others need it for longer periods and during the night.

Oxygen concentrator machineAn oxygen concentrator machine is convenient if you would benefit from having oxygen for a large number of hours a day, including while you’re asleep. It ensures you have a source of oxygen that never runs out.

A back-up cylinder of oxygen is also provided in case the machine breaks down. Regular maintenance visits will be made to make sure the concentrator is always working properly.

Portable cylinders can provide oxygen at a rate of 2 litres or 4 litres a minute, or have an adjustable scale up to 4 litres a minute. The flow required is determined by your lung specialist or the oxygen service healthcare professional. When full, these cylinders weigh just over five pounds (2.3kg) and hold just under two hours of oxygen (at 2 litres a minute).

Going on holiday

If you are going on holiday in England or abroad you can make arrangements to have home oxygen supplied to you at your destination. Before you arrange your holiday, check with your doctor that you are well enough to travel.

For more information visit OxygenWorldwide or speak to one of our advisors

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