The official blog of the Lung Institute.
When someone has been diagnosed with lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), supplemental oxygen is often prescribed in later stages.
Supplemental oxygen, or supplemental 02, is used when lung function has reduced to the point where additional oxygen is needed to continue normal bodily functions. Supplemental 02 can improve mental alertness and stamina, and prevent heart failure in people with severe lung disease, such as emphysema. But can you overuse supplemental 02?
When is Supplemental 02 Prescribed?
Normal blood oxygen levels are between 95-100 percent. Levels between 90-94 percent are considered low, but not a health issue. Physicians usually prescribe supplemental 02 when a patient’s blood oxygen tension when breathing is below 55 mm Hg, or their baseline oxygen saturation was 88 percent or less, according to Medscape. For someone with COPD, oxygen is best prescribed to achieve a target range rather than a fixed dose of oxygen. Ideally for someone with COPD, the target range should be between 88-92 percent. Staying within that range will avoid hypoxia, or a deficiency of oxygen reaching body tissue, or hypercapnia, or excessive carbon dioxide in the bloodstream.
When using supplemental 02, it’s good to treat oxygen like any other drug prescribed by your doctor and use it as recommended. According to the University of California San Francisco, your healthcare provider will recommend the amount of oxygen you’ll need to keep your blood oxygen levels above 90 percent.
Can I Become Dependent on 02?
Luckily there is no such thing as being dependent or “addicted” to oxygen because everyone needs oxygen to live. If supplemental oxygen is used as instructed by a medical physician, there shouldn’t be any problems. If someone on supplemental 02 starts to feel headaches, confusion or increased sleepiness, then they might be using too much oxygen. Setting supplemental oxygen above the recommended levels can cause dryness and bleeding of the lining of the nose. Some oxygen equipment includes a humidifier to prevent dryness.
How Supplemental 02 is Supplied
Supplemental 02 is supplied as compressed oxygen, liquid oxygen, or via oxygen concentrators. Oxygen gas is stored in aluminum or steel canisters. Liquid oxygen is made from cooling oxygen gas, changing it to liquid. Oxygen concentrators are devices the size of an end table that produce oxygen by concentrating ambient oxygen and removing other gasses.
Many lung disease sufferers have taken their health into their own hands through self-derived cell therapy. If you or a loved one suffers from lung disease, contact the Lung Institute today by calling (800) 729-3065.