While chronic lung disease can be a challenge for patients to deal with on a daily basis, modern methods of oxygen therapy – including portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) – can make the challenge easier to cope with. Portable oxygen concentrators can not only help to decrease issues like shortness of breath, they can allow for a more active and enjoyable lifestyle.
POCs for Oxygen Therapy
Long-term oxygen therapy is standard treatment for patients with various respiratory conditions and the Respiratory Care Journal notes that this therapy helps to decrease shortness of breath and hypoxemia and can let patients maintain their active lifestyle. There are many types of oxygen therapy to choose from, including portable oxygen concentrators. According to National Jewish Health, POCs are able to draw oxygen in from the surrounding environment for patients to use as they go about their day. They either run on a battery or electricity and they are both smaller and lighter than stationary concentrators, ranging from 3 to 18 pounds. Most can be carried in backpacks so that patients can access their oxygen therapy as they go about their day.
While being physically active is important for anyone, it is especially important for respiratory patients. The Chronic Respiratory Disease journal notes that patients with chronic lung diseases who are able to maintain an active lifestyle tend to both live longer and have a better quality of life. The researchers suggest that when a patient and physician choose an oxygen delivery system, the most portable and easy-to-use system should be selected to make it possible for that patient to carry out their activities of daily living to the highest degree possible.
Travelling with a POC
National Jewish Health notes that one of the reasons why so many patients opt for a POC is that it makes air travel easier. Most airlines allow POCs for passengers to access in flight and many different styles of POC have been approved by the FAA for this purpose. However, it is important that patients talk to their oxygen company at least two weeks before flying so that they can obtain the required documentation for their flight; they should also contact the airline itself to make sure that they are aware that a POC will be brought aboard. Also, it may be necessary to buy or rent batteries from the oxygen company ensure there are enough batteries to last the entire length of the flight.
Oxygen therapy is an important part of disease management for many respiratory conditions. POCs can be an important part of a plan of care to maintain the highest possible degree of health and wellness and make activities like air travel more accessible.