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Portable Oxygen Systems - The Importance Of Choosing Wisely

Updated on June 21, 2016

Portable Oxygen and Lifestyle Go Hand in Hand

There have been some very important developments in portable oxygen systems these last few years that are helping thousands who are on oxygen therapy and specifically regarding their mobility - and this is one of the most important things.

Quality of life, if seen as the ability to be active, is directly affected when anyone is prescribed with supplemental oxygen.

Before choosing your oxygen delivery system you will have to take into account various factors, such as:

  • How often you need to receive oxygen. Is it 24 hours a day? While sleeping? During exercise?
  • How much oxygen you should be getting.
  • Your lifestyle, including how active you are - work -social life - hobbies.

You should discuss these with your doctor, who as the expert can guide you to the best oxygen delivery units based on your particular requirements. The more he knows about you and your style of life the better.

Usually you will have a home system and a portable one and normally they will be made up of a combination of units. Once you receive your system you go through a process of learning how to use it until it becomes a nearly automatic part of your life. The adjustment process doesn't take very long although it will vary between individuals.

One thing though is that if for any reason you have to change your oxygen system, perhaps due to an increase in activities, it becomes difficult to adjust to the new ones and you may actually resist the change. The important point here is that you should try to choose wisely and this means providing your doctor with as much information as possible before committing to a particular system or combination of oxygen delivery units.

The 3 Different Oxygen Delivery Systems:

Both home oxygen systems and portable oxygen systems fall into one of these and they are:

  1. Portable Oxygen Concentrators: These are machines that deliver concentrated (100%) oxygen that has been extracted from the surrounding air. The oxygen is then delivered to the patient in pure form and through a nose cannula. As they are electrically powered, the portable machines have also a battery option. Many people are finding them very practical as they are increasing their mobility and expanding their levels of activity. The newer models are lighter, more maneuverable and batteries last for longer periods of time.
  2. Portable Oxygen Cylinders - They hold compressed (under pressure) oxygen which is delivered to the patient at set rates according to the prescribed flow rate. Cylinders are now made of aluminum and are therefore lighter. Of the three systems, compressed oxygen that is stored in the cylinder, lasts for shorter periods of time - but has other advantages, an important one being ease of refilling.
  3. Portable Liquid Oxygen Tanks - Oxygen has the physical property of turning liquid at lower temperatures. Liquid oxygen tanks keep a reservoir of liquid oxygen (which by the way means a much greater amount of oxygen is stored than if kept in its gaseous state), which is then delivered at the appropriate setting as a gas (obviously the tank has a small gas storage part). There are small units available that can deliver oxygen for many hours.


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