Is Supplemental Oxygen Right For You?
If your healthcare provider suspects that you have a low oxygen saturation level, then they might decide that you need supplemental oxygen. It's also known as oxygen therapy. The reason they recommend this is to keep your oxygen at a healthy level, in order to avoid any dangerous health conditions that might arise from the lack of oxygen. Your doctor will only advice you to use this if they feel it's in your best interest. It's important to use your device as often as necessary, in order to ensure that your body is producing the amount of oxygen it needs to thrive.
What is Supplemental Oxygen?
Anyone that's suffering from a chronic, or acute medical condition can benefit from this treatment. If you're oxygen levels are too low, it can cause a number of problems for you. In some cases it can lead to hypoxia, or hypoxemia. These are medical conditions that require immediate treatment, otherwise serious consequences can occur.
Hypoxemia occurs when you have a lack of oxygen in your bloodstream, where hypoxia means a lack of oxygen being supplied to your tissue and organs. Both of these conditions can be life threatening and cause permanent damage. That's why it's so important to make sure that your body is receiving the amount of oxygen it needs on a daily basis. This is what supplemental oxygen is used for. It's to treat anyone with low oxygen saturation levels, and to help provide their body with the oxygen it needs to function normally.
Even a low supply of oxygen for a short amount of time is enough to cause permanent damage. It's not something to take lightly, and you don't want to take any chances when it comes to your health. You might not necessarily notice if you have low oxygen saturation levels. When people think of low oxygen, they assume it means that you're struggling to breathe. While this typically is the case, it's not always. Sometimes you can breathe without struggling at all, and still have a low oxygen level.
If your doctor is concerned about your oxygen intake, then they will want to test your blood oxygen level. This is typically done with a pulse oximeter, which is a quick and painless test. If your oxygen saturation levels are below 95, then your doctor will prescribe oxygen therapy.
How Often Shoud I Use it?
It's perfectly normal to question how often you might need to use it, or if you're even ready for this change. But rest assured that you don't need to fear this new change. Change can be a good thing. If it's able to help you function better throughout your day, give you better quality sleep, or make you feel better in general, than it's worth it.
You're still going to be able to do many of the things you could do before, as long as your doctor says it's fine. The great thing about these type of devices are the fact that they're portable. It's lightweight and easy to carry around with you.
Depending on your medical condition, your doctor might want you to use supplemental oxygen on a daily basis, or only as needed. If you're required to use it on a daily basis, then you'll need to use a continuous flow to keep your oxygen levels up at all times. If your oxygen levels only dip low at specific times such as while you sleep, then your doctor will probably have you only use it at night.
There is an on-demand flow that allows you to save the amount of oxygen you use, by only giving you oxygen when you take a breathe in. Whereas the continuous flow keeps going, with or without you taking a breathe in.
What are The Signs of Low Oxygen?
If you're wondering what the signs are for low oxygen, you can learn the most common signs here. Some of the symptoms can go undetected. However, most symptoms are pretty obvious. The number one most obvious sign of having low oxygen is experiencing a shortness of breathe.
If your skin looks pale or blue, this is another indicator of your body not receiving the appropriate amount of oxygen that it requires. Some less common symptoms include cough, restlessness, confusion, dizziness, as well as a decreased or increased heart rate. Low oxygen levels affect everyone differently, so how it feels to you won't necessarily feel the same to someone else.
Always trust your body when something doesn't feel right, and bring it up to your doctor. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
Advantages of Supplemental Oxygen
Using supplemental oxygen has many advantages to it. The biggest advantage is the fact that it provides your body with the oxygen it needs, while being able to use it at home. You won't need to worry about being stuck in a hospital, or receive outpatient treatment because you can receive your oxygen wherever you'd like to.
Oxygen therapy comes in many different forms, allowing you the freedom to choose which treatment option you and your healthcare provider feel would work best for you. You can receive your oxygen via an oxygen tank, oxygen concentrator, or even through a pressurized room filled with pure oxygen.
If you choose to go with a tank or concentrator, you'll be glad to know that it's portable. This allows you to use it at home, and bring it with you wherever you need to go, so that you can continue to be mobile. If you choose to try receiving your oxygen through a pressurized room, then you'll be confined to that room. This would be a great option if you don't need oxygen treatments as often.
Your healthcare provider will likely go over all of the benefits of using oxygen therapy with you, and will recommend how often you should use it and when to use it. They might want you to purely use it at night if you suffer from a condition like sleep apnea, or they might want you to use it at all times. Trust that your doctor is only looking out for your best interest.
They wouldn't recommend assisted oxygen if they didn't feel that you needed it. It's a good idea to keep an eye on your oxygen saturation levels on a frequent basis. You can wait for your healthcare provider to check it for you, or you can use your own pulse oximeter to check your levels yourself. It's a noninvasive test, that's quick and easy to do. You can clip the device onto your finger, and within a short amount of time have an answer. If your oxygen levels fall below 95, you should start supplementing your oxygen to get your levels back up to where they should be. You'll feel much better after you do.