Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an umbrella term that represents two separate diseases: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The former affects around 8.9 million Americans and the latter affects around 3 million Americans. One of the characteristics of both of these diseases, however, is that they both develop over the course of many years leading to permanent and irreversible damage to the lungs and airways.
The only way to slow the progression of COPD is with a carefully planned treatment regime organized by your doctor or pulmonologist. These plans typically involve a revised diet, a strict exercise plan known as “pulmonary rehabilitation,” smoking cessation, and supplemental oxygen therapy. If you have another condition such as sleep apnea which can result in complications with COPD, your doctor will likely treat this with medication or other forms of therapy.
While it may not seem like you have much of a say in how your disease is treated, you’ll be surprised to find that there are a lot of decisions to make after being diagnosed with COPD. One of the first, and likely most consequential decision you’ll make is what oxygen device you would like to use. There are many choices including oxygen tanks, liquid oxygen tanks, and stationary concentrators. But there’s only one type of oxygen device that will provide you with the ultimate comfort and freedom in your daily life and that’s portable oxygen concentrators.
In this post, we’ll take a look at one of the most recently released portable oxygen concentrators, the Caire FreeStyle Comfort, and how it provides oxygen patients all over the country with more convenience than ever before. In order to get the right oxygen concentrator for you, be sure to speak with your doctor first to learn what your oxygen needs are. If you have any questions about oxygen concentrators or supplemental oxygen in general, be sure to leave them in the comment section below.
It’s one of the Lightest Portable Oxygen Concentrators
Weight is usually the first concern anyone has when they start looking at oxygen devices, and for good reason. Just a quick internet search will bring up hundreds of different oxygen devices, many of which weigh 10 pounds or more. For someone who suffers from a respiratory impairment, this can be difficult if not impossible to manage, especially for people who enjoy going on long trips.
|AirSep Focus Portable Oxygen Concentrator|
Oxygen devices vary greatly in terms of weight. The AirSep Focus, for example, weighs in at only 1.75 pounds, light enough to carry on your belt buckle. The problem, however, is that it only provides you with 330 ml/min of oxygen making it off-limits for the vast majority of oxygen patients. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find continuous flow oxygen concentrators and oxygen tanks which can weigh as much as 20 pounds. This is far too heavy to carry on your shoulder, and for some people, they’re even too heavy to wheel around using a rolling cart.
The Caire FreeStyle Comfort hits the sweet spot when it comes to weight. While it’s not light enough to carry on your belt buckle like the Focus, the FreeStyle Comfort still only weighs 5 pounds making it easy to carry around on your shoulder without affecting your walking or causing back pain. You can enjoy long vacations on the other side of the world or a walk in a local park without your oxygen concentrator causing any unneeded stress or strain.
It’s Extremely Reliable
Have you ever gone somewhere and worried about whether or not your cell phone will work when you need it most? Nowadays, we are more reliant on technology than ever before, so ultimately, it’s best to invest in devices that we know will never give out on us. If anything this rings true even more for oxygen patients who have one additional device they need to rely on throughout the day.
Straight out of the box, the Caire FreeStyle Comfort offers a much lower failure rate than most other oxygen devices. Due to the high production standards that Caire Inc. has for their units, they’ve all but eliminated things like factory defects. What this means is that when you receive your device in the mail, it will be in great working condition so you won’t have to worry about sending it back to the manufacturer for repairs.
Another reason the FreeStyle Comfort is so reliable is that it was designed for 24/7 use. More often than not, COPD patients who are prescribed supplemental oxygen are required to use it for 15 hours each day or more and this often means using it while you sleep. The good news is that the FreeStyle Comfort can be run throughout all hours of the day and the night without being shut off or having to “cool down.”
It Has a High Oxygen Output
“Oxygen output” is defined as the amount of medical oxygen a device can put out in a given period of time. Oxygen output can either be written as liters per minute (LPM) or milliliters per minute (ml/min). And since the FreeStyle Comfort is a pulse dose portable oxygen concentrator meaning it puts out oxygen only when the user inhales, it’s always written as milliliters per minute.
The Caire FreeStyle Comfort provides 1,050 ml/min of oxygen output making it the second-best of any pulse dose portable oxygen concentrator in the world. The only other machine that can put out more oxygen is the Inogen One G5 which has a maximum oxygen output of 1,260 ml/min of oxygen and offers one additional flow setting for a total of 6. There are some minor differences between the FreeStyle Comfort and Inogen G5, so be sure to consult with a respiratory specialist before committing to either one.
|Inogen One G5 Portable Oxygen Concentrator|
Another reason to invest in a portable oxygen concentrator that has a high oxygen output is that it gives you room to move up. As you know, COPD is a progressive disease meaning it only increases in severity. As your respiratory symptoms advance, you will need higher concentrations of oxygen in the lungs. So, for example, investing in a POC like the Inogen One G4 which only offers 630 ml/min of oxygen would not be a wise choice for most people, because even if it meets your oxygen needs right now, that likely won’t be the case a year or two from now.
|Inogen One G4 Portable Oxygen Concentrator|
Fortunately, we have a great trade-in program here at LPT Medical. So if you’ve found yourself with a portable oxygen concentrator that doesn’t meet your needs, you can sell it to us and put that money towards a brand new portable oxygen concentrator. We also offer plenty of used portable oxygen concentrators if that’s something you’re interested in.
It Has Outstanding Battery Life
Battery life is synonymous with freedom; the more battery life your POC offers, the longer you’ll be able to stay out of your house. Drawing in ambient air and putting out medical grade oxygen requires a lot of energy, but due to decades of innovation, oxygen companies have been able to create batteries that are up to the task. All portable oxygen concentrators, including the Caire FreeStyle Comfort, use powerful lithium-ion batteries that allow you to run your concentrator for hours a day without having to be recharged.
On the lowest flow setting of 1 with the 16-cell battery, the Caire FreeStyle Comfort will provide you with 16 hours of battery life! In many ways, this is overkill since you likely won’t be out of the house for this period of time, but it gives you more flexibility and leverage when you increase your flow setting. Even on the maximum flow setting of 5, you will have four hours of freedom. What’s more, if you purchase an additional 16-cell battery, that will double your battery life to eight hours.
Having this amount of freedom was unheard of in the past. Several decades ago when oxygen tanks were the only form of supplemental oxygen therapy, it would’ve been impossible for oxygen patients to travel far from home. Oxygen tanks need to be refilled after several hours of use and there’s no option to “carry extra batteries” like you can with a concentrator. What’s more, oxygen tanks have to be refilled by an oxygen specialist which is costly and very inconvenient.
Replacing batteries on the Caire FreeStyle Comfort is incredibly easy. Simply press the tabs on either side of the device and pull the battery off the bottom of the unit. Then snap the fully charged battery on to the bottom of the unit and you’re ready to go! If you have the external battery charger, you can have your old battery fully charged and ready to go once your new one runs out of juice.
It’s Incredibly Quiet
One of the biggest concerns many people have about making the switch from an oxygen tank or liquid oxygen tank is sound. Since these devices have no moving parts they’ve virtually silent. While portable oxygen concentrators produce some sound, people are often surprised to find that it is negligible. Last month, we published an article about the quietest portable oxygen concentrators in 2020, and the Caire FreeStyle Comfort made the list with only 43 decibels (dBA) of sound output. To put this into perspective, it’s about as loud as a quiet conversation.
With a quiet portable oxygen concentrator, you’ll be able to any number of things that are important to you, such as going to church, visiting a library, or going to see a movie without the fear of disrupting other people. Another benefit of a quiet device is that you’ll be able to use your POC while you sleep without it waking you up or causing you to get a poor night’s sleep. Keep in mind, however, that because the FreeStyle Comfort is a pulse dose POC, it is not compatible with CPAP and BiPAP machines.
It Has an Ergonomic Design
One of the greatest things about Caire Inc. is their willingness to go the extra mile to provide its customers with something truly special. The Caire FreeStyle Comfort is the first portable oxygen concentrator to be designed with an ergonomic curve. Rather than having a box shape like most portable oxygen concentrators do, the FreeStyle Comfort molds to your hip so that it doesn’t slide around as much. This is a small detail, but it goes a long way towards providing oxygen patients with a unit that’s more seamless and comfortable than ever before.
It’s also pretty incredible considering how far portable oxygen concentrators have come since traditional oxygen therapy devices. Oxygen tanks, for example, are very oblong making them incredibly difficult to maneuver and they’re too big and bulky to carry under your arm as you walk. On the other hand, the dimensions of the FreeStyle Comfort are 10” H x 7.3” L x 3.1” W, so it’s about the size of a lunchbox.
It Has Built-In Telehealth Technology
Another way Caire has gone above and beyond is by equipping every FreeStyle Comfort with telehealth technology. Telehealth, or “telemedicine” is the concept of providing health-related services remotely. An example of this would be a physician providing his/her patients with a checkup via a video call. Services like these are incredibly important, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that we’re currently facing.
The Caire FreeStyle Comfort has built-in software that tracks your oxygen usage (flow rate, usage time per day, and more) then it relays that information to your physician and oxygen provider to help you monitor your progress. You’ll also be able to view this information through the online portal or smartphone application. This software is officially called CAIREview™ telehealth technology. It’s created by SynsorMed, and it’s available for the FreeStyle Comfort, the Eclipse 5, and the Caire Companion 5.
Choosing an oxygen device is no easy feat. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of oxygen devices out there, many of which are poorly made and likely won’t meet your oxygen needs and personal preferences. Ultimately, it’s best to stick with concentrators that are manufactured by popular and trusted brands such as Inogen, ResMed, and Caire Inc. Here at LPT Medical, we don’t sell any portable oxygen concentrators that we wouldn’t use ourselves.
In this post, we took a look at the FreeStyle Comfort, the latest and most advanced portable oxygen concentrator produced by Caire Inc. Due to the reliability, high oxygen output, and lightweight design of this POC, it’s ideal for the vast majority of oxygen patients. However, with that being said, it’s still important to speak with your doctor and understand what your exact oxygen needs are. Once you do that, reach out to our respiratory specialists here at LPT Medical and we’ll help you find the right concentrator for you that meets both your oxygen needs and your personal preferences.