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How can my husband bring his oxygen levels up?

My husband is on an oxygen concentrator 24/7. His oximeter reading is usually 95/96. When we go outside, he is on a portable oxygen tank and the readings drop significantly down to the low 80's. Deep breathing brings it back up to around 90 for a short amount of time and then drops again.

We're fairly new to this and we'd sure appreciate any help, ideas, or suggestions. Thank you so much!

  1. Hi DenW: From my viewpoint 95/96 SpO2 is great. Alost 9 years ago with a SpO2 of 70% my Pulmonologist said oxygen 24/7 for rest of my life. Being a Taurian I did not accept that and decided, for me, that using oxygen all the time would not allow my lungs to try to recover. At taht time I did not think apO2 of 70% was serious even when a visiting Nurse stated that she couldn0t believe I could still walk. For one month I used oxg¿ygen for 1.5 hours a day in 15 minute increments. I recorde Oximeter readings on the hour and created a Table and Chart. At end of month my SpO2 was back in 92-94 reange. I sent data to Doctor. He was surprised and I have not had to visit him since then. I keep arythromycin on hand for any secondary infections plus I have large bottle oxygen waitingto be used. My SpO2 has been as low as 63% but readings below 70% are not reliable. I use daily Spiriva and Symbicort plus drink lots of fluids in form of Guava Leaf Tea. I can do because I have tree in backyard.I was going to start a 70%Club with friends who had SpO2 readings of that level. The seriousness of that level came to realization when my neighbor reached that level and did not recover. I also use Apple Cider Vinegar on just about everything as I read that it helped losen mucous. And Fish & Chips without ACV unthinkable. I hope your outside SpO2 increases but I myself would be very happy with those levels. Outside you might try "pursed breathing". To do pursed lip breathing: I know it works.

    Relax your neck and shoulder muscles.
    Breathe in for two seconds through your nose, keeping your mouth closed.
    Breathe out for four seconds through pursed lips. If this is too long for you, simply breathe out twice as long as you breathe in.

    1. Allyson, thank you so much for the information you have provided....such a blessing! It had been so long since we'd been out of the house and we were trying to take in the views of Tampa Bay where it was hot and humid so I'm pretty sure that was our first issue! I will definitely read the articles you have provided. Again, I thank you so much for the info and your time! P.S. I've also placed a call to his doctor as you suggested....just waiting for a response.

      1. Hi DenW, thank you for reaching out! There is a lot to learn and consider when adjusting to a COPD diagnosis and oxygen therapy. While we cannot offer specific medical advice over the internet (for safety reasons!), your question does merit a response! One thing worth noting is that for many, the weather can affect breathing. During the summer months many find heat and humidity to negatively impact breathing. Could there possibly be a weather impact to your husband's experience? Have the days he's gone outside and struggled to breathe had particularly high dew points or high temperatures? I thought these articles might be of interest to you:
        https://copd.net/living/preparing-hotter-weather/
        https://copd.net/living/humidity/
        https://copd.net/living/managing-rain-humidity/
        Employing pursed-lip breathing techniques can be helpful when experiencing a flare of symptoms. These articles might be of interest in providing some information and tips about different breathing techniques:
        https://copd.net/guest-expert/pursed-lips-are-not-just-for-kissing/
        https://copd.net/living/better-breathing-exercises/
        I would also encourage you to check in with his doctor and report what you have been observing. S/he may have suggestions for how to help manage his breathing. Please keep us posted on how things progress and what you learn. Wishing you a gentle day. ~Allyson (COPD.net team)

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