I am a 56 yr. old female who has COPD and asthma. I was diagnosed two years ago and currently taking Spiriva and Advair 250. My FEV1 is running around 41% and my pulse ox reading is normally 97%. I recently had a sleep study done which was neg. for sleep apnea...positive for restless leg syndrome. During deep sleep my pulse ox dropped to 66% at the lowest. My pulmonologist suggested that I use O2 ..2 liters..when sleeping. I do have alot of weight to lose...which I intend to do to help my situation but I am not convinced that I need to start the O2...I am afraid that I will have to use it during the day too and I don't want to start that until I absolutely need too...any advice?? Thank you
First, I know it is hard to lose weight, but in your case it is a matter of life or death. As we know room air theoretically contains 21% oxygen, but in a room that is sealed this can drop to 17%. So think about having open windows and good air exchanges. Secondly get plants in the room, which take in carbon dioxide and put out oxygen. This can increase the room oxygen content by one or two percent. There are lots of arguements pro and con oxygen, too complex to get into on this board. The short answer is that you may indeed become "addicted" to the supplement. As a general rule, a good respiratory therapist should take a breathing rate for five minutes and then take an average. Then place the person on oxygen and see if the breathing rate decreases. If it does decrease the extra oxygen is not needed. If he does not take this test he should consider another profession such as carpet cleaner or toy salesman. A rate of 66 by a pulse oximeter is kind of low, so your physician's suggestion isn't entirely out of line. He sounds like a good guy. If you do get oxygen remember that oxygen is hypergolic (such substances burst into flame when in contact with certain other chemicals), and if you use vasoline on your lips or certain types of make up you can develop spontaneous ignition and suffer terrible burns. That is why oxygen fittings are NEVER lubricated with oily substances. I had a weight problem for a while and KNOW how hard it is, but I want you to promise me that, under the care of a physician, you will develop a weight reduction plan and stick to it. If you do get oxygen get a concentrator rather than a large "E" tank. Be very careful using oxygen. If 100 percent oxygen is given to some people with COPD they stop breathing. Ask your physician if you are in this category. There are complex reasons for this beyond the scope of a post. So if he recommends a nasal cannula with 2% supplementation only use a cannula and do not increase the rate of flow. The best of luck.
Thank you so much for your comments. And thanks for your caring and considerate answer! I do understand that it is a life or death situation and it's shocked me out of my complacency. I will lose the weight and thanks again. Patty
Patty: You're my twin. I'm 56. I have COPD, a good O2 Sat rate and a drop when I sleep.
I started using 2l O2 at night when I ended up in the hospital last summer. I continue
to do so. I feel great when I get up in the morning, and I sleep like a baby. Don't
be afraid of it. Just use it as your doctor tells you - usually a nasal canula. With long
enough tubing, you won't even know it's there.
Patty, Evan thought I'm 52 we are now almost triplets. I to have COPD and I was put on O2 at night about a year ago after a sleep study. I am over weight do to steriods and eating. I ask my pulmonary doctor if the weight is the reason I couldn't breath. He told me it doesn't have anything to do with my weight. Of course we all know that loosing weight WILL help our breathing along with our health. Don't be afraid to use the O2 at night. You will feel alot better in the morning.
I would like to jump in here... a person cannot get addicted to O2...it is physiologically needed, if a person has low oxygen levels, then it should be used! The first poster said his sats went to 66% at night, absolutely wear that O2 at night and don't worry about dependency of O2...it isn't a narcotic!! It is needed by the body for its organs and cells to function. Alot of people do okay during the daytime, but once they sleep, their resp. muscles aren't breathing as deeply and people tend to desaturate and do need that extra O2. If sleep apnea had been diagnosed then something like a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device would be used to keep the airways open. I had severe apnea (muscle problems) and required BiPAP (similar to CPAP) to help me keep my sats acceptable..I even had to have O2 to bleed in as well.
O2 was my buddy for quite some time and there were ways to help deal with it...for sore nose, I used Ayr or some other water based lubricant. Even KY jelly works. For sore ears, I would tape gauze around where the cannula set on my ears. There are new cannulas out there that have them built in. Also, please make sure that your O2 is humidified...this is a biggy. For the first two weeks I was home with O2, I didn't have humidification and I had the biggest boogers out there, and horrible bloody noses to boot. Once a bubble humidifier was added, things got much better. Just make sure that you use either distilled or sterile water in them..never use tap water!
Soon enough, you won't even feel that cannula...except when you go to step on the tubing!Yow!!
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