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How helpful is supplemental oxygen?

This may seem stupid to ask but I am on O2 at night and was advised to also use during increased activities. My question is this, since COPD causes difficulty exhaling, are the lungs still able to absorb (for lack of better word) the oxygen and utilize it throughout the body? Wouldn’t it increase the risk of trapped air since exhaling is obstructed? My PCP always asks if the nighttime O2 helps me feel more rested and honestly I feel no difference. Any thoughts?

Community Answers
  • Domino3076
    6 months ago

    I sleep with O2 at night too. Low O2 leads to headaches. Mine are across the top of my head. I still sleep with O2 at night and use it when I work out at the gym or got for a walk, It increases stamina and the amount I can lift. I do trap air which seems to release after a while. Never tracked it. As Will suggested, pursed lip breathing helps too.

    Hope this helps. Elizabeth

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi Domino3076 and thanks for your post. We appreciate you sharing what works for you with the use of supplemental oxygen. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi again, marylpn, and thanks for your prompt reply and plan. Enjoy the information in the articles – I believe it provide you with some additional insight. And, with an oxygen saturation of 85%, if your physician(s) have advised you to use supplemental oxygen, that would be the way to go.
    Please keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing moving forward. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • WillDoe
    6 months ago

    Hi marylpn!
    Good questions.
    When I was put on o2, the doctor warned me about having too high of a concentration of oxygen. That I were to remove the cannula when my o2 got back into the nineties. This cover most of the time that I am just sitting around surfing the net or watching TV.
    Lately, though, my oxygen can plummet when standing, like making a meal. It gets even worse when I try to clean my apartment or exercise. I’ve had it as low as the mid 70’s.
    Recently I was upped in my dosage from a 2LPM flow to a 3LPM flow when I’m taking a casual walk (my choice for passive exercise). I usually get up to a 4/5LPM flow on the treadmill and elliptical trainer.
    My night time flow is to remain at 2LPM, and the initial instruction to go off the o2 when my blood oxygen is above 90 still stands.
    As for the trapped air, pursed lip breathing may help especially with a puffing of air at the very end.
    The use of a spirometer ten times followed by intentional gentle coughing has gotten my lungs to clear and made my breathing easier.
    Drinking water can thin the contents of the lungs and make coughing up mucus, and breathing, easier. The use of NAC, if available, may help. I was using it to help clear my lungs for years, it doesn’t seem to help anymore.

    Sorry for getting ‘long winded’!
    The Best!

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi marylpn and thanks for your question (it is NOT a stupid question at all).
    Oxygen is extremely beneficial to those with COPD when indicated. There are many negative sequelae that can occur when the body does not get sufficient oxygen and/or one is experiencing hypoxia. I thought you might gain some additional insight from reading any of these several articles on COPD and the use of supplemental oxygen: I realize it is a lot of material, Mary, but please don’t feel you have to read it all at one time. Rather, use this post as a reference for future use. I do hope you find it to be helpful. Wishing you well, Leon (site moderator)

  • marylpn author
    6 months ago

    Thank you both for the feedback! I will read the links you sent me as sometimes it isn’t necessary. However, after a recent sleep study(which thankfully was negative) it showed without O2 my Sats dropped to 85 they strongly urged I continue, so I do.

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