It is true that when people are diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or any other chronic respiratory illness their lives change forever.
Even though you might feel physically the exact same way leaving the doctor's office that day as you did when you walked in, your mentality is noticeably different. After you are diagnosed with COPD or once you have reached a point in your diagnosis where you need to be out on oxygen you are given another chance.
It is not a death sentence, and it should not be treated as one. You can look at this moment as a second chance.
Now you know why you are coughing excessively, feeling tired, short of breath, moody and all of the things you were experiencing are due to something in your body that isn’t exactly right. And while that thing that isn’t exactly right is not curable, you can treat it and make it more manageable day to day.
There are levels of severity of COPD that are broken down based on your lungs capacity and their ability to do their job! At a certain point in your diagnosis, there may come a time where you need extra help getting oxygen pumping through your body.
You will go through a series of tests that will display to you doctor whether or not you need supplemental oxygen therapy. As with any prescription drug, you will be prescribed medical oxygen, and within your prescription will be instructions on how much oxygen you need and when.
Supplemental oxygen therapy is designed to help you improve your lifestyle and quality of life. And similarly to prescription medication, too much is too much and too little isn’t enough, so be sure you follow your doctor's instructions when it comes to oxygen therapy.
This also means it's essential to have an oxygen therapy device that can handle your oxygen needs. You can either go with an oxygen tank or a portable oxygen concentrator (POC).
Both devices will give you oxygen, but one device is an older more traditional source of oxygen (tanks) while the other (POCs) is a newer more advanced device that has a number of qualities that make everyday life easier.
To learn more about you oxygen therapy options read this blog: Upgrading From an Oxygen Tank to the Respironics SimplyGo Portable Oxygen Concentrator
So let's get down to it… Once you get that oxygen therapy prescription, your oxygen therapy gives you another chance to treat your disease so it is more manageable and you symptoms are less intrusive.
Oxygen therapy is also the one treatment that has actually been proven to add years to your life, and not only time, but quality time where you can eat right, exercise, and sleep well (if you put in the work).
This is not to say that there will be hard days, COPD and respiratory illness across the board are no joke, and they affect millions of people across the world.
How Oxygen Therapy Can Save your Life
When you get on oxygen you will be sourcing your lungs with extra medical grade pure oxygen so that oxygen can move fluidly throughout your blood and muscles.
With the help of you oxygen therapy you will have an easier time getting to sleep and staying asleep. Exercise will come more easily because you won't fee las tired or short of breath. Oxygen therapy is giving you the tools to live an active and healthy life, so it is not not only extending your life but improving the quality of life you have.
Here are the 7 portable oxygen concentrators, and their most attractive features, that will help you live a long and healthy life.
Inogen One G4
Caire Freestyle Comfort
The Caire Freestyle Comfort is also a pulse flow device, it has a long lasting battery life. With the double battery installed it can last for up to 8 hours on a setting of 2 LMP.
Inogen One G5
The Inogen One G5 is the most popular pulse flow device on the market because it is so powerful. It can operate on any setting 1-6 LPM without sacrificing battery life.
The Respironics SimplyGo is the lightest continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator. It weighs 10 pounds and can give off pulse or continuous oxygen depending on the setting you set it to.
The Oxlife Freedom is a pulse flow device that is the first of its kind. It is equipped with tools to help oxygen patients and their healthcare providers better manage their respiratory conditions! The built in DNA or Dynamic Network Analysis is cutting edge technology that allows your healthcare provider to more closely monitor your oxygen use.
The Oxlife Independence portable oxygen concentrator is a continuous and pulse flow device is also the first of its kind. It is the world’s first “smart” portable oxygen concentrator. It is equipped with the same DNA technology inside the Oxlife Freedom which is powered by the Verizon network. The Oxlife Independence can monitor your usage and corresponding environmental conditions to adapt and proactively support your needs. It tracks vital data like hours used, breathing rate, ambulation, and more!
SeQual Eclipse 5
The SeQual Eclipse 5 is both a continuous and pulse flow device. It is known for offering the highest oxygen output on the market, gets good battery life, and it was also designed for the US Military.. It is one of the most popular continuous flow portable oxygen concentrators on the market because of its long-standing track record for being durable and reliable. If it’s good enough for the US Military, that should tell you something.
Staying On Track to Live A Healthy Life on Oxygen
If any of these portable oxygen concentrators are calling your name, simply call 1(800)-946-1201 to speak with an oxygen specialist about their other features and how it can fit into your life!
Once you have an oxygen device that you trust you can start adjusting your lifestyle to a more positive and active one that cultivates more energy and happiness. We would like to leave you with some positive suggestions for everyday life that will make the challenges you face dealing with respiratory disease more manageable.
Keep a Journal
Keeping track of your oxygen levels, symptoms, triggers, and health related issues are valuable for you and your doctor. This can give your doctor an inside look at your life at home, and how your symptoms evolve and change so they can advise a course of action and treatment plan that works for you.
It is also valuable to jot down your emotions, to do lists, write down goals, and stories. Writing ignites a creative part of your brain, that like your muscles need exercise.
Even if you haven't written anything down for years, it is never too late to pick up a pen and paper and write down your struggles, achievements and everything in between.
You will be surprised how helpful it is to make decisions when you create a pros and cons list, or how writing down something that happened to you that day can enhance your memory.
Exercise in the Water
We hear all the time that oxygen patients also require exercise as treatment. But for many, exercise can cause a lot of other issues throughout the body.
People with COPD may have muscle or bone conditions that make exercise painful and high impact workouts can be impossible. Water exercises give you the alternative for a less stress induced workout on the body.
A 2013 study found that water-based exercises might increase a person’s exercise capacity and quality of life. In people with COPD and physical disabilities, water-based exercises were more effective than both land-based exercise and no exercise.
The researchers suggested that these effects might be due to the unique properties of water, which support body weight through buoyancy and provide resistance to increase exercise intensity
Breathing with Purpose to Avoid Excess Anxiety
Avoiding stress and anxiety are two big ones when it comes to easing COPD symptoms. Breathing can be directly related to relaxation or lack there of.
Anxiety will come up for the patient and caretakers for everyone with chronic illness. The very real stressors that come with chronic illness include medical emergencies, financial worries, everyday care issues.
So these stressors are unavoidable, and the emotional distress can trigger a physical reaction that may lead to you being hospitalized for exacerbated symptoms, known as a COPD flare up.
Naturally when humans feel afraid or upset, the heart rate, and blood pressure increase, this causes the breathing to speed up. Anxiety and fast breathing means more shortness of breath. For people with respiratory disease who already suffer from shortness of breath, this can generate even more anxiety, which causes further shortness of breath…It’s a toxic cycle.
So how can you and your caretaker help each other learn to relax in these moments? Try following three basic relaxation techniques from the Crossroads Hospice online resource center:
Take 10 minute to do each of the following breathing techniques:
- Deep breathing. Sit comfortably, feet on the floor. Put one hand on your chest, the other just under your ribs. Breathe slowly through your nose, counting to five. Only the hand at your belly should rise. Exhale slowly, counting to five. Repeat.
- Muscle relaxation. Lie down or sit comfortably. Starting with your toes, tense and relax your muscles, moving up your body to calves, thighs, etc. Count to five while tensing and to 30 while relaxing. Notice the difference between tense and relaxed.
- Visualization. In a quiet place, lie down or sit comfortably. Imagine yourself at your favorite place of tranquility (beach, mountains, etc.). Bring in as many elements of the place as you can: what you would be seeing, smelling, hearing, touching.
Managing Fatigue Effectively
It's common for COPD patients and oxygen users to “run out of gas” even when doing simple things around the house.
You can learn to conserve energy—The energy that keeps you awake and moving around—so you are able to enjoy activities and exercise that you love to do for longer.
Try getting into the rhythm of this simple strategy- Understand that you have a limited amount of energy each day. If you’re mindful of how you use that energy by creating a daily routine, for chorus, everyday necessities, any medical treatment, and exercise and life’s pleasures.
Plan out your days with the pace for each activity. Keep these tactics in mind:
- DON’T rush, allow plenty time for what needs to get done.
- Alternate activity with rest.
- Divide large chores into smaller tasks spread across the day or week.
- Work smarter by minimizing trips up/down stairs, shopping with a list and in as few stores as possible, cook in bulk and freeze the leftovers, after bathing, rest in a terrycloth bathrobe instead of drying with a towel. These little things conserve a lot of energy over time.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. You can order your medications and groceries to be delivered.Throughout the day, look for opportunities to sit down, and minimize time walking, lifting, and bending (use extensions bending and reaching).
- Sit down while cooking, cleaning, bathing, dressing, or grooming face and hair, have a stool or seat handy in multiple rooms of your house.
- Stay organized and lay out supplies at waist height so everything is within easy reach before you start cooking, cleaning, bathing, or dressing.
- Use an elevated toilet seat, a grabber for objects, and elongated handles on shoe horns, brushes, and dustpans.
By learning how to operate at a mild pace with lots of helpful tools throughout your house, daily life gets easier and easier, and your tank of energy will get you further and further the more you conserve energy.
Of course, none of these simple everyday changes listed above will make much of a difference if you are lugging around a heavy oxygen tank, or are stressed and worried about getting your next oxygen delivery.
First step to getting your second chance at a healthy and active life after being prescribed oxygen, is getting an oxygen device that can help you through life, rather than holds you back.
Talk to your doctor about your oxygen device options and how your prescription will work day to day, and then call us at LPT Medical at 1(800)-946-1201 so we can help you find a device that fits your needs and lifestyle.