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December 21, 2016

If your physician has prescribed home oxygen for you, there is very likely a reason for that.  If your little body is not capable of processing enough oxygen from room air to keep you healthy, then you have choices to make. 


So, you are sitting there with your oxygen bottle or your concentrator and your oxygen hose and you are feeling totally bummed, not to mention a little confused and apprehensive.  Hopefully, your medical provider will have given you some degree of guidance as to the use of all of that equipment, as well as advice on just why you need it.


Just in case all of it didn’t sink in, here is a brief summary as to the benefits of oxygen therapy.  First, you have to get over the natural reluctance to wear your oxygen cannula in front of others.  Hiding the oxygen hose from the world and from yourself isn’t going to do you a lot of good.  Think of it as a lifeline, if you must.  Think of it as a good excuse to get out of things that you really don’t want to do, if that will help.  Just find a reason to get over the embarrassment or the shame or whatever lame feeling that you attribute to wearing the thing.  It is helping to keep you alive!!


Will your body become dependent on supplemental oxygen if you use it a lot?  In a word, NO!  You are already addicted to oxygen, have been since you were just a little bitty thing.  Asking if you will become dependent on supplemental oxygen is like asking if you will become dependent on heavy breathing if you carry something up the stairs.  Not even a logical question, if you think about it.  Your body needs oxygen to operate, and some of us need more than we can produce on our own.


Adequate oxygen, regardless of the source, helps mental alertness, stamina, and mood, and helps us to get a decent night’s sleep.  It reduces blood pressure in the lungs, and reduces the workload on the right side of the heart.  Cor pulmonale, (enlarged right side of the heart), can result in fluid retention and heart failure.


Failure to maintain adequate oxygen saturation in your blood can and will result in brain damage!  That's right, you will lose brain cells, and they will not come back!  I don't know about you, but I am quite fond of the few brain cells that I have left, and I certainly do not want to destroy them if I can prevent it!


There are many approaches to dealing with breathing difficulties.  Medication, breathing exercises, physical exercise, and even interval training can be used to fight COPD and related problems.  Supplemental oxygen is an important part of any regimen, and should be looked upon as part of your medication, as an aid to feeling better, as a friend.


If you need supplemental oxygen and don’t use it, you risk effecting your concentration, your short-term memory, and especially your stamina.  With it, you can increase your stamina, thus increasing your activities and your strength, which will allow you to do more of the things that you really need or want to do!


Kind of a win-win, actually.


Uncle Jim & Aunt Mary

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