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Who needs
home oxygen?

Everyone needs oxygen. Without it, we could not survive, as our cells use oxygen and nutrition from the foods we eat to make the energy needed to function. The air that we breathe contains approximately 21% oxygen

Certain conditions can cause a shortage of oxygen in your body and you may need ‘extra’ oxygen to keep healthy and active.

Chronic bronchitis

Airflow limitation and inflamed airways in the lungs can produce too much mucus, leading to coughing and shortness of breath.  Cigarette smoking is the most common cause.

Emphysema

Damages the air sacs (alveoli) in your lungs.  Enlarged air sacs in the lungs don’t allow the oxygen and carbon dioxide to move in and out of the lungs into your bloodstream.  Long term, progressive disease that primarily causes shortness of breath.

Neuromuscular conditions

Broad term that encompasses many diseases that can impair the functioning of the muscles.  This can interfere with signals to your diaphragm and its correct function which can cause difficulty with breathing

Heart problems

This might interfere with blood being pumped to and from your lungs correctly which can make it hard to breathe.  

 

Without sufficient oxygen, people may find they are limited in what they can do and that oxygen therapy gives them a better quality of life.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the most common lung disease that is treated using home oxygen.

Why is home oxygen therapy used?

Oxygen is fundamental to your health. If you have COPD, even when you are not breathless some of your body’s key organs, including your heart, brain, kidneys and muscles, may not be receiving enough oxygen and can be damaged.

If your condition gets worse, it can make it increasingly difficult to enjoy simple daily activities. Oxygen therapy can be prescribed by healthcare professionals to help you cope with everyday living.

Oxygen is a medicine. Oxygen therapy increases the oxygen in your blood and provides a range of benefits that include: (1-2)

  • Prolonged life
  • Increased ability to move about and to keep a social life
  • Increased sleep and quality of life
  • Improved heart function

References:

1. Nocturnal Oxygen Therapy Trial Group. Continuous or nocturnal oxygen therapy in hypoxemic chronic obstructive lung disease: a clinical trial. Ann Intern Med 1980; 93: 391-398

2. Report of the Medical Research Council Working Party. Long-term domiciliary oxygen therapy in chronic hypoxic cor pulmonale complicating chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Lancet 1981; 1: 681-686