Oxygen Concentrators: Your Questions Answered

Oxygen Concentrators: Your Questions Answered


Not many people outside the healthcare system knew about oxygen concentrator until 2020. What made it so common doesn’t need an introduction.

If you have come to this page on oxygen concentrator, you might have come across oxygen therapy need or discussion.This healthcare blog from Sehaa Online, the leading healthcare product reseller in the UAE, will help you get answers to your queries regarding oxygen concentrator, its benefits, risks and precautions.

#1. What does the blood oxygen shortage mean?

The shortage of oxygen in the blood is called as hypoxemia or hypoxia. It’s a dangerous condition. Without oxygen, your brain, liver, and other organs can be damaged just minutes after symptoms start.

Let’s understand the cause and effect. Oxygen supports the cell metabolism which, in turn, unleashes energy from the food we consume, makes available the building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and some carbohydrates; and the eliminates the metabolic wastes from the body. Therefore, any interruption to the supply of oxygen or its shortage affects the metabolism and the normal functioning of our body.

#2. What are the symptoms of oxygen shortage?

Although they can vary from person to person, the most common hypoxia symptoms are:

1. Changes in the color of your skin, ranging from blue to cherry red

2. Confusion

3. Cough

4. Fast heart rate

5. Rapid breathing

6. Shortness of breath

7. Slow heart rate

8. Sweating

9. Wheezing

#3. What are the causes of blood oxygen shortage?

A variety of conditions and circumstances can interfere with the body’s ability to maintain a healthy blood-oxygen saturation level. Some of the most common causes are listed below.

1. Heart conditions, including heart defects

2. Lung conditions such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis

3. Locations of high altitudes, where oxygen in the air is lower

4. Strong pain medications or other problems that slow breathing

5. Sleep apnea (impaired breathing during sleep)

6. Inflammation or scarring of the lung tissue (as in pulmonary fibrosis)

#4. What is the typical level of blood oxygen?

In a healthy being, the oxygen saturation level stays in the range 94–100 percent (arterial vessels).

You should know what is ‘oxygen saturation level” or SpO2. Oxygen saturation is the fraction of oxygen-saturated hemoglobin relative to total hemoglobin (unsaturated + saturated) in the blood.

Your SpO2value reveals how well your lungs, heart, and circulatory system work.

#5. How to check oxygen level?

Pulse oximetry: A sensor that slips over your finger measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. Pulse oximetry is painless and noninvasive.

Arterial blood gas test: A needle is used to take a blood sample from your artery to measure the levels of oxygen in your blood.

Other breathing tests: These might involve breathing into tubes that are connected to computers or other machines.

#6. What is oxygen therapy?

The oxygen therapy aims at increasing the level of oxygen in the blood.For quick relief and recovery, physicians usually recommend supplying pure oxygen to the patient externally. Healthcare professionals also call this extra oxygen as supplemental oxygen.

The treatment is complemented with medications to improve the condition of lungs and other parts of the body responsible for maintaining the right level of oxygen in the blood. There are two popular types of oxygen machine, namely oxygen cylinder and oxygen concentrator.

#7. What are the differences between oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators?

An oxygen cylinder is filled with pure oxygen from a source (oxygen plant) while a concentrator is a machine that uses the environmental air and concentrates its oxygen percentage. The oxygen percentage in the air stands at 21%. The portable oxygen concentrator, as the name echoes, concentrate the oxygen to make it nearly 100% pure. Therefore, an oxygen cylinder can go out of oxygen, but not a concentrator until there is some technical fault.

#8. Who does need it the most?

Anyone with the following conditions may need it to overcome oxygen deficiency.

1. COVID-19

2. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

3. Pneumonia

4. A severe asthma attack

5. Late-stage heart failure

6. Cystic fibrosis

7. Sleep apnea

#9. Does oxygen therapy make people dependent on or addicted to external oxygen?

No clinical research has surfaced so far proving supplemental oxygen makes the patients either "dependent on" or "addicted to" it. However, it must be taken as per the instructions of a physician.

#10. How to take supplemental oxygen?

Use a delivery pipe to transfer the oxygen from the oxygen concentrator to the patient. For safe and convenient administration of oxygen,use any one of the following devices at the patient’s end.

• Nasal cannulae

• Simple face mask

• Venturi mask

• Reservoir bag mask

#11. How much oxygen do I need?

Oxygen supports life, it’s true, but its excessive intake can be harmful too.A research work published with The Lancet states that the liberal use of oxygen for patients with acute illness (sepsis, critical illness, stroke, trauma, myocardial infarction, or cardiac arrest) may increase the risk of death. Oxygen also leads to dryness in the air passage, which is overcome by blending oxygen concentrator with a humidifier. Sometimes, when it’s not integrated with the concentrator, patients are recommended to use supplemental oxygen in a room with a separate humidifier machine installed.

Follow the advice of your doctor. Depending upon your conditions, your doctor will give you a prescription that reads how much oxygen you need per minute and when you need to get it. Before prescribing the supplemental oxygen dose or flow rate, the doctor may recommend a blood test.

#12. What safety measures are required?

Oxygen supports burning and oxidation. Hence, it must be administered with due safety. Here is a list of safety measures while using oxygen concentrators:

1. Never smoke, and don’t let others light up near you.

2. Mind the open flames, such as matches, cigarette lighters, and burning tobacco.

3. Keep heat sources like gas stoves, candles, lighted fireplaces, and electric or gas heaters at least 5 meters away

4. Don’t use flammable products like cleaning fluid, paint thinner, and aerosol sprays.

5. Keep oxygen containers upright. Attach them to a fixed object so they don’t topple.

6. Skip products with oil, grease, or petroleum. That also goes for petroleum-based creams and ointments like Vaseline on your face or upper chest.

7. Have a fire extinguisher close by.

#13. What are the best oxygen concentrators in the market?

Kare Medical, O2 CONCEPTS, Philips, Sanrai and Yuwell are some of the reputed makers of the best oxygen concentrators in the market. You should always buy oxygen concentrators from an authorized retailer to avoid counterfeiting.

#14. How much does an oxygen concentrator cost?

The oxygen concentrator price may vary by brand, size or volume, origin, and marketplace competition. In Dubai, Abu Dhabi or any other place in UAE, the average price of a 1 Litre cylinder could be AED420.00. Buying a larger size can help you save more. You can get a 10-litre aluminium oxygen cylinder at Sehaaonline at AED1,550.

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