What Is Oxygen Therapy?

Oxygen is a vital gas that humans need to survive. Unfortunately, some conditions, particularly those related to the respiratory system, cause breathing disorders that require the use of supplemental oxygen, also known as oxygen therapy.

Oxygen therapy is a medical service that is available in clinics and hospitals, but it can also be received at home. A nasal cannula, a venturi mask, a partial rebreather mask, and a non-rebreathing mask are examples of supplemental oxygen devices that ensure the body maintains an adequate oxygen level.

Oxygen Therapy

How Does Oxygen Therapy Work?

Oxygen therapy can be administered in a variety of ways depending on the amount of oxygen required by the patient and the device used. To determine which type of oxygen therapy is best for you, your doctor must first perform a series of tests on you to determine the amount of oxygen in your blood.

The different types of oxygen therapy include:

Compressed gas system

This type of oxygen therapy involves delivering oxygen from a portable metal tank of varying sizes; large tanks are best for at-home use, while small tanks are preferred for travelling. The oxygen is delivered in pulses rather than continuously.

Oxygen concentrator

With this system, you can get supplemental oxygen without using an oxygen tank. It draws oxygen from the surroundings and filters it to remove particulate matter before delivering it to your body through a face mask or nasal tube.

Liquid oxygen

A refillable portable tank is also used to store liquid oxygen. Because liquid oxygen is more concentrated, it can fit more oxygen in a smaller tank. This is useful for people who are always on the go, but the oxygen will dry up if not used right away.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be done as an outpatient or inpatient procedure. Patients can use a single chamber, which is a long tube designed for one person only, or they can be placed in a multi-person chamber, which can accommodate multiple patients who sit or lie down while receiving high-pressure oxygen.

What Are the Benefits of Oxygen Therapy?

Oxygen therapy can be immensely helpful for people who regularly experience low oxygen levels. Regular use of oxygen therapy can help people be more energetic and agile by reducing shortness of breath. It can also improve the quality of life and even increase life expectancy. Oxygen therapy is used in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Sepsis
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Anaemic hypoxia
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Arterial gas embolism
  • Venous ulcers
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Generalised barotrauma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Cystic fibrosis

What Can You Expect From Oxygen Therapy?

To begin oxygen therapy, you will need a doctor's prescription. While some people only require supplemental oxygen during specific activities, such as exercise, others may require it around the clock.

Avoid alcohol and drugs at all costs because they can hamper your breathing and render oxygen therapy ineffective. Make sure your doctor is aware of any prescription medications you are taking.

Many people who use supplemental oxygen lead full, active lives. You will notice an increase in stamina, a decrease in shortness of breath, and a reduction in respiratory health issues. Once you learn how to operate the supplemental oxygen device, the therapy does not have to restrict your daily activities.

The frequency with which you should receive oxygen therapy is determined by the condition you are trying to treat. You may need two sessions per day, five to seven days a week, or more.

Is Oxygen Therapy Safe?

Oxygen therapy is generally considered safe and has the potential to prolong life. Though oxygen is not a flammable gas, it is important to store oxygen tanks away from flames and heat to avoid fires because oxygen supports the combustion process.