What is an Oxygen Concentrator?
Oxygen concentrators are medical devices that compresse the air around it to give it to the patient in a purer more concentrated form. The great thing about an oxygen concentrator is that the supply of oxygen is continuous as long as the concentrator is plugged into an electrical outlet or has a powered battery. This makes the oxygen concentrator different from an oxygen tank because it has a limited supply of oxygen.
Portable oxygen concentrator can be extremely helpful for seniors who have low oxygen levels in their blood for whatever reason. This is because the portable oxygen concentrators are lighter and easier to use then the standard oxygen tanks. This provides a solution for the people who need an oxygen concentrator outside of their home, as well as, people who travel.
When people get older there can be a lot of reasons for why they need oxygen therapy. Some of these conditions include recovery from surgery, COPD, sleep apnea, and even anemia can leave people with low oxygen levels. An easy way to increase oxygen levels in your blood is to have a portable oxygen concentrator. The portable oxygen concentrators work because they draw in the air around them, compress it, and use a sieve bed to filter out the nitrogen, this then leaves behind 95% pure oxygen. After that the pure oxygen can be inhaled with a mask or the nasal cannula.
Yuwell Portable Oxygen Concentrators
How Does an Oxygen Concentrator Work?
An oxygen concentrator brings in the regular air around it and then compresses the air by using sieve beds and filters to filter out the other gases that are found in oxygen, this includes nitrogen. The then medical grade and concentrated oxygen is taken in by the user by a nasal cannula or mask.
The air around us that we breathe in is usually 80 percent nitrogen and only 20 precent oxygen. A portable oxygen concentrator pull the air in, purifies and concentrates the oxygen to them become 90 to 95 percent pure. This in turns brings the nitrogen percent to 5 or 10 percent.
A great way to think of an oxygen concentrators is to compare it to a window air conditioner - it takes the air in, changes it, and then delivers it in a different form. The oxygen concentrator takes the air in, purifies it for use by people who need the medical oxygen to help remedy their low levels of oxygen in their blood.
It works by:
1. The cooling mechanism keeps the concentrator from overheating while it compresses the air.
2. It takes the air in from around it.
3. The electrical composition of the concentrator allows for you to adjust the settings.
4. It then removes nitrogen with sieve beds and a filter.
5. Finally, it delivers the purified oxygen through a nasal cannula or a mask.
People who needed oxygen therapy in the past has to rely on pressurized oxygen tanks. Although these tanks are extremely effective, they are also kind of inefficient because they are need to be refilled regularly.
Why Choose Portable Oxygen Concentrators?
1. Oxygen Machine Portability because of Battery Packs
The battery packs allow the oxygen to stay mobile with their portable oxygen concentrator. With it's small size it tends to be lightweight so that it can be carried around fairly easily. A fully-charged battery in a portable oxygen concentrator can keep the machine useable outside which is unlike a stationary unit.
2. Multiple Power Options for Convenience with an Oxygen Concentrator:
Apart from the portability, another benefit is that the concentrator can run on AC or DC current. This means that is can be plugged into an electrical outlet in your home or your car, it can also be charged through a DC power cord making it easier to preserve the battery for outdoor use. The multiple power options with the AC and DC current, as well as, the rechargeable battery makes it a convenient machine to have for your home and the outdoors.
3. Varied Usage Options for POC:
The portable oxygen concentrator system from Inogen can be brought and carried along with wheels or in a backpack for any type of transportation from a plane, car, boat, or even a train since the size is so small. It has low power usage which makes it energy efficient and easy to use. The Respironics Everflo oxygen concentrator has the high flow settings. Its oxygen concentration at 5 lpm is 93 % (+/- 3%). The Inogen One G3 oxygen concentrator is portable because it weighs less than 5 pounds. It can still provide the same efficiency and quality for on-the-go as well as at your home.
What to Look for When Buying a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?
1. Find Your Oxygen Needs:
You have to ask yourself questions about your oxygen needs. Such as, how much oxygen do you need for sitting and standing, or for your everyday activities? If you aren't sure about the answers for some of these questions you can always ask your physician to clarify for you. They can also indicate the type of POC that you might need, which is based on your individual lifestyle and needs.
2. How You Will Use Your POC:
Do you need your oxygen concentrator mostly while you are at home? Or do you need it mostly for traveling, exercising, or anything outside of your home. For the cases where you would like to travel you have to have a concentrator that is FAA approved, as well as on that also comes with an easy to carry and compact design. People that are frequent travelers should like for a POC that is travel-friendly.
3. Is the Size Just Right?
Can you easily lift and carry the POC? Or do you need to get one with a special carrying case? The best thing to do is check out the carry options at the seller's site to see which type of POC best suits your needs.
4. What Time do You Use it?
Do you mostly use your POC during the day or during the night as well? The reason this is an important questions is that it can make a huge difference. If you need a 24 hour a day POC you have to get one that meets all of your required parameters and functions.
5. Continuous Oxygen Flow or a Pulse Dose?
There are so many POCs that can provide you with both types of functions as well as they can be alternated.
6. Do you need a POC with a Humidifier?
You might need this is you struggle often with allergies or irritations.
Requiring an Oxygen Concentrator for Acute Conditions:
There are a few different examples of acute conditions when you would have to use an oxygen concentrator for a short-term oxygen there. The examples are:
With this condition your airways can become inflamed. They then start to produce a lot of mucus, which can make it harder to breathe. There are a lot of different pharmaceutical drugs that are used to control and treat asthma, having an oxygen concentrator can pump high levels of oxygen into the bloodstream of someone while they are having or might of already had an asthma attack.
This is an infection where you can develop some inflammation in either both or just one of your lung's air sacs. In many cases, they start to fill up with fluid. Many patients that have pneumonia are prescribed with some oxygen therapy which has resulted in good clinical outcomes.
3. Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS):
This is a breathing disorder that for the most part affects newborns, mostly those who are born within six or more weeks before their delivery date. The newborns that are suffering with RDS don't create enough surfactant which is a lung coating liquid, causing their lungs to collapse which makes it far harder to breathe. Using an oxygen concentrator helps to pump oxygen into the babies' blood stream and lungs to reduce the risk of having further complications.
4. Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD):
When a newborn is suffering from RDS it gives them a higher risk for developing BPD. It is a severe lung condition that requires being on a long-term breathing support.
5. After surgery, in some cases, there are sometimes a need for oxygen from a concentrator for a short period of time.
Requiring an Oxygen Concentrator for Long-Term Chronic Conditions:
Some of these chronic conditions that require a long-term . oxygen concentrator are:
1. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD):
This affects somewhere around 16 million people, but using an oxygen concentrator tends to be an effective treatment. With COPD, you have chronic lung damage. This can make it difficult for your lungs to bring in and absorb enough oxygen for your body. As a result, you have difficulty breathing, and using oxygen therapy with a concentrator can help.
2. Cystic Fibrosis:
This is a life-threatening condition that is inherited. It causes lung damage and digestive system damage. This rare condition affects the body's cells that are responsible for producing digestive juices, mucus, and sweat. The fluids are them changed with a stickier, thicker fluid that can plug the passageways, ducts, and tubes for the person that is affected.
3. Sleep Apnea:
This is a sleeping disorder that can be seriously cause a persons breathing to stop and start suddenly while they are asleep. For the most part, the treatment for this condition is the continuous use from a CPAP machine, physical exercise and weight loss, and in some cases people with sleep apnea need to use oxygen therapy.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Will a POC meet your daily oxygen needs?
With your mobile concentrator it will provide you with the exact amount of oxygen that you need during the day no matter what you need the oxygen for or how much you need. Since your oxygen levels change during the day whether you are sleeping or doing physical activity your POC will monitor that and give you the amount of oxygen that you need.
The two different types of setting that come with portable concentrators are a pulse dose and a continuous flow setting. All of the POCs that you will find that have a continuous flow setting will also have a pulse dose setting. For now, the highest continuous flow setting for a mobile concentrator is 2 liters per minute.
When you buy a POC you need to make sure that it has the correct dosage setting that you need. As well as, a high enough breath rate. The maximum settings should exceed what you normally need this way you never run out of oxygen. It should also have a good oxygen reserve, so that when your breathing rate goes up, your POC can meet the dosage quickly. Your breathing rate is measured in breaths per minute (BPM). You can take advantage of the smaller and portable oxygen concentrators if you have the need for a low dose of oxygen or a low pulse dose of oxygen. On that note, if you need 5 liters per minute of continuous oxygen, then you won't be able to use a portable oxygen concentrator that are currently on the market.
2. Is a portable oxygen concentrator truly portable?
A portable units has to be light enough so that it isn't a burden while you are out where you need to go. You should also take into consideration the extra batteries and supplies that you will most likely need. You should always account for a few extra pounds for the additional supplies if you plan to be out and about all day.
3. Are you able to fly with a portable concentrator?
Yes. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), requires that the airlines that are based in the United States, as well as, the foreign airlines that are flying into the United States allows passengers to have and operate their portable oxygen concentrators. This is approved by the FAA for all of the phases of the flight as long as the unit displays a manufacturer's sticker. The sticker is important because it indicates that it meets with the FAA requirements for the portable medical devices. There are over 20 different oxygen concentrators that are approved by the FAA for air travel on all of the United States aircrafts that have more than 19 seats. Every portable unit that we offer is approved for flights.
The responsibility of the passenger is to make sure that the unit is working properly as it must be able to respond to warning alarms. The FAA requires that you have at least battery power for 150% of your flight time. Your unit but also be stowed away properly when you are not using it. You can learn more about the FAA regulations for oxygen concentrators.
4. Do I need a prescription to buy a portable oxygen concentrator?
Yes. The FDA classifies all medical grade oxygen as a drug, and therefore by Federal law, you have to have a prescription to purchase any oxygen-related medical devices, including portable oxygen concentrators. You can talk to your health care provider to get assistance with getting a prescription.
5. What type of maintenance do I need on my concentrator?
Your portable concentrator needs regular maintenance just like any other machine so that it works the way that it should. Doing routine maintenance with extend the life of the unit and help it to continue to deliver optimal airflow.
Some of the maintenance includes inspecting filters, cleaning, using the unit, and regularly changing out the cannula. You can learn more about portable concentrator maintenance.
6. Does my unit come with a warranty?
Most of the manufacturers include with your unit a 3-year warranty for new portable concentrators, and the batteries usually come with a 1 year warranty. The accessories warranties can sometimes vary from 30 to 90 days and up to a year in some cases.
7. What is the difference between portable oxygen concentrators and stationary ones?
With a stationary concentrator you usually have a larger tank and a more continuous flow for oxygen therapy devices. Stationary oxygen concentrators normally stay where they are while you can get tubing extensions that can be as long as 50 feet. The SOCs requires power from an electrical outlet restricting you to the house.
The difference is in the average weight of the oxygen concentrators. The POCs are normally 5 pounds and can become as light as 3 pounds. They can also be portable with a battery and worn by a person unlike the SOCs. These characteristics make the POC easier to manage.
8. What is the difference between pulse dose and continuous flow?
They both represent a way in which the oxygen is getting delivered to the person by the concentrator. Pulse dose is only when the person initiates a breath. The continuous flow means that the machine is continuously giving oxygen at a constant level.
9. Is it safe to use a pulse dose setting at night?
For most of the time doctors will recommend that you use the continuous flow setting while you are sleeping. On the other hand, everyone is different so consulting your doctor is that safest thing to do.