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We all know that oxygen is part of the air we breathe and is what helps keep us and many other plants and animals alive. However, while breathing comes naturally to most of us, that’s not the case for everyone.
Some people suffer from breathing disorders that make it difficult for them to get enough oxygen in the blood. When this happens, they may need oxygen therapy to help them live a normal, healthy life.
If you’re interested in learning about oxygen therapy and how it can benefit you, keep reading. Let’s dive into what you need to know about this type of treatment.
What is Oxygen Therapy?
Before we answer the question “how does oxygen therapy work,” let’s talk about just what is oxygen therapy. Oxygen therapy is a type of treatment that provides people with supplemental oxygen when they can’t get enough by breathing naturally.
There are many different diseases that could lead to the need for oxygen therapy. A few common diseases or issues that could cause a need for this treatment include:
- Sleep apnea
- Lung disease
- Respiratory trauma
- Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia
- Heart failure
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Keep in mind that this isn’t an exhaustive list of diseases that may require oxygen therapy. If you feel you may benefit from oxygen therapy, you can speak with your doctor to learn more about how it could help you.
What Are the Key Oxygen Therapy Benefits?
When you’re not used to breathing normally, oxygen therapy can greatly improve your quality of life. That’s because it enables your body to pump the correct amount of oxygen through the bloodstream. That, in turn, can provide many benefits, including:
- Improved sleep
- Increased energy levels
- Fewer headaches
- Less irritability
- Preventing swollen ankles
- Improving development and growth in children
- Increasing life expectancy
- Improving mobility
For many people, oxygen therapy completely transforms their way of life. Suddenly, they’re able to experience the world without constantly dealing with shortness of breath.
How Does Oxygen Therapy Work?
Oxygen therapy doesn’t refer to just one type of treatment. In fact, it refers to four different types of oxygen treatments. These treatments are called liquid oxygen, oxygen concentrators, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and oxygen gas.
The most common oxygen therapy uses oxygen gas. This therapy stores gas in compressed air systems. There are typically two air systems that a patient will use. One system will remain in the home and a smaller system will be able to be removed from the home.
Some smaller tanks can pair with oxygen supply tanks. This ensures that the reserves last longer. In these systems, pulses of oxygen are delivered through tubing that connects to the nose.
Another type of oxygen therapy is liquid oxygen. Like oxygen gas, liquid oxygen is stored in a portable tank that can be taken from place to place.
However, liquid oxygen is much more concentrated than oxygen gas. This means that larger quantities can fit into a smaller task, making it good for people who live an active lifestyle.
In these systems, liquid oxygen evaporates into a breathable gas. This is then administered through nasal tubing.
A less portable option for oxygen therapy is an oxygen concentrator. These devices take air from the room, removes other natural gases in the air, and then convert the remaining oxygen to be used therapeutically.
These devices are much less costly than other types of oxygen therapy. On top of that, they don’t need to be refilled. The downside to this method of oxygen therapy is that it is not a very portable option which makes it impractical for many people.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
The final method of oxygen therapy is called hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This method involves people breathing in pure oxygen inside a pressurized chamber. Within these chambers, the air pressure tripled or quadrupled.
The increase in air pressure allows more oxygen to reach the body’s tissue. It’s a type of therapy that must be carried out carefully and under medical supervision. It’s usually used to treat serious infections or air pockets in the blood.
Is Oxygen Therapy Safe?
Oxygen therapy is considered very safe, although there are several safety measures you should take to make sure that no accidents happen. This is mostly because oxygen is one of the key components in starting fires.
A few important safety tips including:
- Keeping the oxygen equipment away from open flames
- Avoiding smokers when using oxygen equipment
- Placing fire alarms around the house in case of emergency
- Keeping the oxygen equipment away from stoves, ovens, and any grease or flammable liquids
- Avoiding drugs and alcohol while using oxygen equipment
- Taping the tube down to avoid tripping over the oxygen tubing or tank
- Storing the oxygen tank in a space where air can move freely around it
By learning to properly use, care for, and manage your oxygen equipment, you can lead a healthy and normal life. Oxygen therapy can be the gateway to staying safe and healthy at all times.
If you begin to notice any difficulties with your equipment or abnormalities in its effectiveness, talk to your doctor right away. Doing so can help ensure that you’re able to stay healthy and keep benefitting from this treatment.
Breathe Better With Oxygen Therapy
The bottom line about oxygen therapy is that it’s a treatment used to help people get the oxygen they need to keep their bodies functioning. For many people, this treatment enables them to live a happy and healthy life.
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