Oxygen Therapy: Signs of Oxygen Deprivation
Learn To Recognize Telltale Signs Of Oxygen Deprivation
Many people need supplemental oxygen constantly - it could be everyday, all day long; it could be while exercising or for sleep at night. In fact more and more people are using supplemental oxygen everyday. A few years back it wasn´t common and now, although common is perhaps too strong a word, it dosen´t merit a second look.
Whatever the case may be adjusting to external oxygen delivery, whether it is a portable oxygen concentrator, an oxygen tank or cylinder, is a process they all have to go through. In time, and this will vary depending on the person and frequency, it becomes another part of the everyday. It just has to be done and therefore accepted.
One of the risks of having to receive additional oxygen is not getting enough and this can happen both to those who are new to supplemental oxygen as well as to those that have been on oxygen therapy for a longer period of time. There are a number of reasons for insufficient oxygen that go from malfunction of the unit, to exertion, a twist in the hose or faulty settings. It can be something as simple of breathing through the mouth for those who use nose cannulas.
The important thing is to recognize the symptoms of oxygen deprivation - and this goes for both patients and caretakers or close family and friends. One of the effects of oxygen deprivation is losing concentration and awareness; this means that many times the patient will not notice a lack of oxygen and cannot therefore take corrective measures. Familiarity breeds contempt and in this case it can mean that once you get used to living with additional oxygen, it becomes a habit and your level of awareness goes down. This can also happen to relatives and those who share time with a patient. This is just human nature.
Signs of Oxygen Deprivation
The following is a list of signs of oxygen deprivation; this list doesn´t pretend to cover all signs but rather a guide to help you out.. Both patients and those who are close to them should be aware of them so that in the event they can act accordingly.
1. Lips and finger nails turn a bluish color. This can also be a heart warning due to poor circulation.
2. Concentration can also be affected and can be recognized when conversation is disjointed and the person begins to slur words.
3 Some headaches are also caused by lack of oxygen.
5. Shortness of breath, irregular breathing or breathlessness.
6. Anxiety and tension.
If you or someone near you thinks they are recognizing any of these signs you can check the blood oxygenation levels with an oximeter. If lack of oxygen is confirmed you can increase the delivery. It is important to stay calm as agitation has a direct effect on your breathing. You must also identify the cause which could be equipment related or health related and then act accordingly - referring to your doctor or checking the oxygen delivery equipment.