Supplemental Oxygen Prescribed COPD Patient

If a COPD patient is prescribed supplemental oxygen, what are the indications?


When COPD patients have low blood oxygen levels for an extended period of time, a doctor will prescribe supplemental oxygen to help them recover. Oxygen therapy can help patients with COPD live longer lives by reducing the risk of heart failure and increasing their overall longevity.

During certain activities, COPD patients may also require additional oxygen to maintain their health. Exercise can cause shortness of breath, which can be alleviated with the use of supplemental oxygen. If a COPD patient experiences any sleep disorders, it may be necessary for him or her to sleep with oxygen. Additionally, when traveling by air, patients may require supplemental oxygen due to the fact that high altitudes can exacerbate COPD symptoms.

What exactly is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that affects the ability of the lungs to expel air from the body. Patients may complain of difficulty breathing, wheezing, and a productive cough in addition to other symptoms. COPD is the third leading cause of death from a disease in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. There are more than 16.4 million people in the United States who have been diagnosed with COPD. 1

COPD is caused by long-term exposure to lung-damaging polluted air, which is common in industrial settings. It can also be caused by cigarette smoking for an extended period of time. Patients with COPD are at increased risk for developing other diseases such as heart disease and lung cancer.


What Are the Stages of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?

COPD is classified according to its severity in four stages.

Stage 1 (Early): Patients begin to experience mild symptoms such as frequent coughing and shortness of breath in the early stages of the disease. The majority of the time, they do not receive a diagnosis.

Moderate Symptoms: At this stage, the symptoms begin to interfere with daily activities, with coughing and shortness of breath occurring on a regular basis. This stage of the illness is also characterized by feelings of fatigue and difficulty sleeping.

Stage 3 (Severe): Patients’ symptoms make simple activities such as chores and short walks difficult or impossible for them to complete.

Stage 4 (Extremely Severe): The quality of life is severely compromised at this stage. Patients report having little to no ability to breathe on their own in most cases. Supplemental oxygen is now required at this point in the process.


Supplemental oxygen is prescribed for COPD patients at what stage of the disease?

Patients with COPD in the early stages may benefit from using supplemental oxygen to manage flare-ups and maintain a normal quality of life. In addition to being used for travel, portable oxygen concentrators and home oxygen concentrators are also used to help with symptoms all day. The use of nebulizers may also be recommended by physicians, depending on the severity of the illness.

When a patient reaches Stage 4, supplemental oxygen is usually the only way for them to breathe normally again. Oxygen tanks and oxygen concentrators are both capable of delivering consistent oxygen therapy to patients.

Patients with COPD can benefit from supplemental oxygen therapy.

Supplemental oxygen increases the amount of oxygen that gets into the lungs and bloodstream of people with COPD. These concentrators can be programmed to operate at a variety of flow rates in order to effectively manage COPD flare-ups. Find out more about the advantages of oxygen therapy for COPD patients in this article.

Is a Humidifier Effective in the Treatment of COPD?

Pure oxygen from either oxygen tanks or oxygen concentrators can be extremely dry, which can cause nasal irritation and sore throats in some people who are sensitive to dry air. The use of a humidifier in conjunction with an oxygen concentrator helps to moisten the air and alleviate these side effects. However, while the vast majority of home oxygen concentrators are compatible with an optional humidifier bottle, portable oxygen concentrators are not.