Individuals who have various respiratory problems require oxygen therapy to supplement their oxygen intake and relieve bothersome symptoms. The vast majority of people who need more oxygen delivered either in the form of oxygen tanks or oxygen concentrators have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is caused by chronic smoking and involves damage to the lungs by diminishing their capacity and narrowing of airway passages, which results in a lower ability to inhale and utilize oxygen.
There are more than 30 million people in the United States who have COPD, and more than 100 million in the world. Oxygen tanks are old fashioned and they are rarely used anymore outside hospitals because they have a limited oxygen capacity and they have substantial associated risks, such as the risk of explosion if improperly handled. Oxygen concentrators work by concentrating the oxygen from the ambient air, which is essentially a mixture of 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen.
Portable Oxygen Concentrators Are An Excellent Choice For People Who Have An Active Lifestyle
Oxygen concentrators come in two varieties – home oxygen concentrators and portable. Home oxygen concentrators are very effective in delivering high amounts of oxygen to supplement the needs of a suffering person, but they are stationary and bulky. They can be used at home or in clinical settings. Portable oxygen concentrators allow the individual an unparalleled freedom of movement and activity, because they are small, can work with battery power, and can be easily charged by plugging them into the car battery or to a wall outlet. Modern portable oxygen concentrators work as effectively as large, stationary home concentrators and they can be easily operated because they have simple controls and a few buttons. Portable oxygen concentrators may have two operation modes – continuous and pulse flow.
How To Choose Between Continuous Flow And Pulse Flow?
Continuous flow means that oxygen is concentrated and delivered continuously. This feature is useful for individuals who want to use their concentrators with a continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machine as treatment for their sleep apnea. It is also necessary for people with severe COPD who have high oxygen intake requirements due to extensive lung capacity limitations.
People who don’t need continuous oxygen intake can use pulse flow concentrators, which release oxygen from a small tank when the user inhales. This feature allows to prolong battery life and to make the portable oxygen concentrators even smaller and more maneuverable. Many portable oxygen concentrators work only on pulse mode, which is convenient for many users. Examples include Respironics EverGo, Inogen One G2 and G3 models, Inova LifeChoice, Invacare XPO2 and AirSep FreeStyle.
If you are suffering from sleep apnea and would like to use the concentrator with a CPAP machine, then you may choose a model that has both continuous and pulse flow features. Examples include Respironics SimplyGo, SeQual Eclipse 3, OxLife Independence, Invacare Solo2, DeVilbiss iGo and other models. If you are not sure whether you need a pulse flow portable oxygen concentrator or a device that has both options, then consult with your doctor who can evaluate your respiratory needs and suggest the best alternative.