Use of Oxygen Therapy in the Treatment of COPD

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27 Feb 2022



Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder or COPD is a severe condition that occurs due to damage to the lungs. Generally, heavy smokers are affected when the lungs become stiff and it makes a person breathless. Although it may not be diagnosed at a young age, by 50 or 60 years, the problem becomes chronic.


Treatments for COPD

Doctors advise certain lifestyle changes to treat COPD. The first and foremost requirement is to quit smoking. Alongside, the following steps can be taken to improve the condition.


  • 1) Regular exercise and a healthy diet.


  • 2) Specific medications to offer relief.




Use of Oxygen in the treatment of COPD

Oxygen therapy is often advised by doctors to provide some relief from COPD. However, it does not provide a cure for breathlessness suffered by patients with COPD. Instead, it takes the strain off the heart and prevents ‘pulmonary artery hypertension’.


In people suffering from COPD, the functioning of the right side of the heart valve gets affected. With time, the heart finds it difficult to constantly pump blood to the lungs. It leads to a condition referred to as ‘pulmonary artery hypertension’. The use of oxygen alleviates this problem. A steady supply of oxygen can be maintained at home with the help of an oxygen concentrator.


Utilising a portable, handheld device, the pulse oximeter, patients can easily measure their oxygen saturation levels. It can be purchased from medical shops and used at home as a precautionary method.


Healthy people have saturation levels of 96% and above. But, patients with COPD may record levels as low as 90%. Specialised tests such as arterial blood gas are also conducted in hospitals to measure oxygen levels. Depending on ‘PaO2’ levels obtained from this test, doctors decide whether oxygen is required for a patient or not.


When do COPD patients need oxygen?

Patients are advised to take oxygen only under certain circumstances. Since the body gets used to low oxygen levels, the brain keeps lung function stable for COPD patients.


But, a sudden burst of oxygen may confuse the brain and reduce the breathing rate. It may even make the patient unconscious. Therefore, only prescribed limits of oxygen must be administered to patients. If you suffer from COPD, the doctor will prescribe the use of oxygen canisters.


To make it easier, you can also get an oxygen concentrator on rent.  It is a special device, designed specifically to maintain optimum oxygen saturation levels. Many people think that oxygen can be used when COPD patients feel breathless. But, patients must always follow the advice of doctors and use oxygen only for the duration prescribed. The amount of oxygen to be used is also prescribed by doctors. It must never be reduced or increased on personal discretion. If you need an oxygen concentrator, get in touch with companies renting medical equipment to get it at cost-effective rates.


Disclaimer: The information on this website should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health expert if you have questions about your health.


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