4 Amazing Benefits of Home Oxygen Therapy
They call it home oxygen therapy. It’s when your doctor prescribes for you to use supplemental oxygen at home. It’s ordered when your doctor recognizes it will benefit you. So, what are these benefits of oxygen? Here are 4 amazing benefits to using home oxygen.
Oxygen allows you to stay active
In 1958, Alvin Barach invented the first portable oxygen cylinder. It allowed people wearing oxygen to exercise. This was a HUGE deal since most people needing home oxygen back then had to utilize large H-tanks. They were not portable. So, most people using oxygen were bed bound. This made it so doctors only prescribed it for people in the later stages of COPD.1
A short time later, a British study noted a nice benefit of portable oxygen. The study showed that it allowed people using oxygen to exercise longer. It allowed oxygen levels to stay normal during exercise.
Add to this the benefits of exercising with COPD, and you can easily see how staying physically active is so important when you have a diagnosis of COPD.
Oxygen improves your heart function
So, why does it improve exercise tolerance? Researchers set out to answer this question. Two studies were released in 1965. Both showed improved hemodynamic stability in those with COPD utilizing long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT). They concluded that this is how these patients were able to stay active longer.1-2
Imagine what your heart has to do when you have diseased lungs. Your body naturally dilates blood vessels in areas that are poorly oxygenated. This causes what is called pulmonary hypertension. So, this makes it so your heart has to work extra hard every day to pump blood through your lungs. Like any muscle would, this extra work makes day after day makes your heart larger. It becomes hypertrophied. This causes a condition called cor pulmonale.2
Both of these studies showed LTOT significantly reduced pulmonary hypertension. A 1968 study showed that LTOT also reduced cor pulmonale. Other studies verified these results. So, the combination of these factors makes it so people utilizing home oxygen are able to stay active and stay active longer.
Use of oxygen leads to fewer hospital admissions for COPD flare-ups
The 1968 study noted above also showed one other very important benefit. Staying physically active at home kept people more physically fit. And this resulted in fewer hospital admissions for COPD flare-ups.1
Supplemental oxygen prolongs your life
It’s true. This was the conclusion of two HUGE studies. Both studies looked at COPD patients with low oxygen levels. They did an ABG on the participants. Only those with a PO2 of 55 or less were allowed to participate (This would correlate with an oxygen saturation of about 88%).1
The first study was done by the British Medical Research Council (MRC). They had one group of COPD patients use home oxygen for 15 hours every day. The other group did not receive any supplemental oxygen. Both groups were followed for several years.
The results were stunning. The group that received supplemental oxygen lived longer than the group that did not.
The other study is called the Nocturnal Oxygen Therapy Trial (NOTT). Again, COPD patients were divided into two groups. One group received supplemental oxygen only at night. The other received supplemental oxygen 24 hours a day (this group also had access to portable oxygen).1
Researchers often combine the results of these two studies. When they do, it shows that both groups receiving supplemental oxygen LIVED LONGER than those who did not receive oxygen. Those who used supplemental oxygen around the clock lived the longest.1
Keep in mind this is only true only for those who qualify for oxygen therapy. But, for people with low oxygen levels, LTOT can normalize oxygen levels. This can help you live longer. It's proven by science. And this is why we often say: OXYGEN is the only drug PROVEN to prolong life!!!!
Oxygen therapy is now started earlier
So, initially, home oxygen therapy was only for those at the end stages of lung diseases. Today, it’s started much earlier in the disease process. The reason is that home oxygen therapy improves your heart function. And this allows you to stay physically active. This, in turn, reduces your risk for flare-ups and helps you live longer with COPD.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?