5 Chronic Lung Disease that Often Require Oxygen Therapy

Your lungs have a very important job which is to absorb oxygen from the air and transfer it into your bloodstream, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). But some diseases and conditions can keep your body from getting the oxygen it needs. People with chronic diseases have ineffective or heavy breathing pattern 24/7 with deep breathing 24/7. If you develop one of these conditions, and your blood oxygen level falls too low, your doctor may prescribe supplemental oxygen and a finger pulse oximeter to monitor the oxygen level.

Oxygen therapy, also known as supplemental oxygen, is the use of oxygen as a medical treatment. This can include low blood oxygen, carbon monoxide toxicity, cluster headaches, and to maintain enough oxygen while inhaled anesthetics are given. Supplemental oxygen, especially portable oxygen solutions, helps those with chronic lung diseases to enjoy life to the fullest. A portable oxygen unit, like a portable concentrator, can help you regain your independence and mobility while allowing you to increase your physical fitness, as well as time spent with family and friends.

While considering carbon dioxide effects, we also found that chronic overbreathing leads to reduced oxygen transport to cells. As a result, ineffective breathing patterns cause tissue hypoxia, chronic inflammation, immunosuppression, and many other negative effects caused by low body-oxygen levels and hypocapnia (reduced CO2 levels).

Meanwhile, it is known that tissue hypoxia is the driving force of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, chronic fatigue and many other health conditions. Hence, the more people breathe, the more severe health problems, diseases, and symptoms they are going to experience.

The following are Conditions and Diseases that may require supplemental oxygen to help you feel better:

  • Cystic Fibrosis. An inherited disease that affects the secretory glands, including those that produce mucus and sweat, according to NHLBI. One of the causes of Cystic Fibrosis is Chronic Hyperventilation. Unfortunately, with CF, thick sticky mucus collects in the airways, creating an ideal place for bacteria to grow. After repeated, intense lung infections, the lungs become severely compromised. Supplemental oxygen can help the lungs do their job.


  • Pulmonary fibrosis. A lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred.  A person is often diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis (PF) when tissues in the lungs become thickened, stiff and make it more difficult for your lungs to work properly. As pulmonary fibrosis worsens, you become progressively more short of breath. The Mayo Clinic provides many reasons someone could develop PF, including long-term exposure to occupational toxins, radiation treatment, certain diseases and medical conditions. However, in many cases, the cause remains unknown. As the disease progresses, it decreases the amount of oxygen lungs can transfer to the bloodstream. Supplemental oxygen Helps to reduce breathlessness, while portable solutions enable those with PF to be more physically active.


  • Chronic bronchitis: Chronic bronchitis is one type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). This leads to coughing and difficulty breathing. Cigarette smoking is the most common cause. Breathing in air pollution, fumes, or dust over a long period of time may also cause it. The disease, which will get worse over time, is characterized by a constant cough and a large amount of mucus. When caught early, the disease can then be managed so you can live a full, active life. As the disease progresses, portable oxygen solutions can allow you the mobility and independence you need to get out and moving more often.


  • Emphysema: a condition in which the small air sacs of the lungs are damaged and enlarged, causing breathlessness. The No. 1 culprit of an emphysema diagnosis is smoking. This disease makes it harder and harder to breathe normally. Those with emphysema often become short of breath on a regular basis. However, supplemental oxygen can help provide some relief by increasing blood oxygen levels and making oxygen distribution easier on the body.


  • Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency: An inherited disorder that may cause lung disease and liver disease. This genetic disorder can lead to breathing problems at a young age and eventually develop into emphysema or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), according to WebMD. The Alpha 1 Antitrypsin enzyme is found in the lungs and bloodstream and is meant to prevent inflammation and its effects in the lungs. When your body lacks enough of this enzyme, it can lead to emphysema and make it difficult to breathe. NHLBI says supplemental oxygen, along with bronchodilators and pulmonary rehabilitation, are common treatments of AAT deficiency.

The critical oxygen level is an oxygen saturation of approximately 90% (this is measured by a finger pulse oximeter), equivalent to a blood oxygen level of 55-60 mmHg (this is measured from a blood sample taken from an artery, commonly in the wrist). This blood test is known as an arterial blood gas or ABG. Therefore, controlled oxygen therapy, to maintain oxygen saturation at around 90% (88-92% is an acceptable range). It is important to avoid too much oxygen and minimize the risk of worsening CO2 levels in this situation. Some patients who are very sensitive to the adverse effects of too much oxygen may choose to wear a medical alert bracelet to alert paramedics about their lung condition in the event of an emergency.



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