7 Signs It's Time to Upgrade to a Portable Oxygen Concentrator
Life has a tendency to throw some curveballs from time to time. Whether it be a simple change to our daily routine or something more serious like the coronavirus pandemic that we’re currently dealing with, it’s important to always stay on your feet and be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.
If you’re a COPD patient, chances are, you spend a lot of time thinking about how you can improve your daily treatment regime and better prepare yourself for unexpected events in life. From an outsider's perspective, this may seem like an easy task, but if you’re someone who’s actually coping with chronic respiratory symptoms, you know it’s anything but that.
One decision many respiratory patients will likely need to make at one point or another is whether or not to upgrade to a portable oxygen concentrator from some other oxygen device such as an oxygen tank or even a home oxygen concentrator. You’ve likely heard good things about portable oxygen concentrators, but you may be concerned about the cost and ensuring your oxygen needs are met.
In this post, we hope to settle a few of your doubts by providing you with 7 signs it’s time to upgrade your oxygen tank, liquid oxygen tank, or stationary oxygen concentrator to a portable oxygen concentrator. If you have any unanswered questions after reading this post, please fill out the contact form at the side of the page and our respiratory specialists will get back to you as soon as possible.
You Feel That Your Freedom is Being Restricted
Potentially the most common reason people feel the need to upgrade to a portable oxygen concentrator is that they feel their freedom is being restricted. Simply put, if you’re relying on outdated technology for your supplemental oxygen therapy, you’re not going to be able to go as many places and do as many things as you would if you had the newest oxygen therapy machines like portable oxygen concentrators.
For starters, portable oxygen concentrators are battery operated devices. What this means is that you won’t have to refill them like you do with oxygen tanks or liquid oxygen tanks, and you won’t have to keep them plugged into a wall outlet like stationary oxygen concentrators. Most modern POCs use lithium-ion batteries which are powerful and can power your device for hours on end without needing to be charged.
Mobile oxygen concentrators like the Inogen One G5, for example, can run for up to 13 hours on one charge. For most people, this is plenty of time to be out and about all day without ever having to worry about your oxygen supply. However, even patients who have higher oxygen needs can take extra batteries if they feel the need to.
Another way portable oxygen concentrators offer more freedom than other types of supplemental oxygen machines is that they are lighter and more compact. An average pulse dose portable oxygen concentrator weighs under 6 pounds which is light enough to carry on your shoulder or back without having any problems. In terms of size, most POCs are about the size of a lunch box, however, continuous flow portable oxygen concentrators tend to be bigger and bulkier.
Lastly, all portable oxygen concentrators are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for in flight use. The FAA is an agency of the United States Department of Transportation that oversees commercial aviation regulations. The FAA has deemed portable oxygen concentrators safe for in-flight use because they are small, lightweight, and contain no pressurized oxygen. This means you’ll be able to fly all over the world without being denied access to a flight.
You Aren’t Achieving Your Full Potential
Everyone, no matter their age or physical ability, has goals and aspirations. Ultimately, in order to achieve these goals, you’ll need to be focused on what you’re trying to accomplish rather than your health and general well-being. Studies have shown that people with COPD and other chronic respiratory ailments tend to spend a significant amount of time thinking about their condition which can lead to depression and other mental health conditions.
One study found that, with COPD-related depression, patients experienced greater fatigue, shortness of breath, and COPD symptoms. Another study found that patients experiencing depression were 77% more likely to be hospitalized and 48% more likely to be sent to the emergency room due to COPD-related symptoms than their nondepressive counterparts.
The most important thing to draw from these studies is that COPD-related depression not only takes your focus away from your goals, but it can manifest itself physically through COPD symptoms. With a portable oxygen concentrator, you’ll have a reliable source of oxygen wherever you go which will keep your pulmonary condition stable and keep your COPD symptoms in check.
You Feel Financially Insecure
These are difficult financial times for many people across the world. Due to mandatory lockdown orders across the country as a result of the coronavirus, many businesses have been forced to shut their doors until further notice. Just in the last week alone, the Department of Labor reported that more than 3.28 million people have filed for unemployment insurance in the last week alone.
While we can’t possibly predict how long these issues will last, it’s safe to assume that it’s best to play it safe and begin working on a long-term financial plan for you and your family. In this plan, you should make sure you have enough money put aside for health-related expenses such as COPD checkups and emergency room visits.
While we by no means want you to immediately go out and buy a portable oxygen concentrator, it is something to consider if you’re concerned about your long-term financial well-being. Think of it this way, if you’re currently using an oxygen tank, you’re likely spending around $5 each time you need to refill it. In a year, this is about $1,825 which is about as much as a portable oxygen concentrator. However, portable oxygen concentrators last, on average 5 to 7 years while offering significantly more freedom than an oxygen tank.
If you went an alternate route and refilled your own oxygen tanks, you would need to purchase a homefill oxygen station. These cost just as much or more than a portable oxygen concentrator, so when you put things into perspective, a portable oxygen concentrator is a much better option for long-term financial well-being. With that being said, it’s important to ensure you have enough financial stability to buy one in the first place. If not, LPT Medical has a lot of great financing options available to you. Simply get in touch with our respiratory specialists and we can go over the details.
You Feel Unsafe With Your Oxygen Device
Let’s face it, supplemental oxygen devices are not safe to use by any means. Oxygen tanks have been used for many decades, but you’ve likely heard horror stories of them exploding or causing fires in peoples’ homes. One of the main reasons they’re so dangerous is that they contain pressurized oxygen. As such, they need to be handled very carefully if you don’t want them to be a threat to yourself or anyone around you. Another problem with compressed oxygen are leaks. Oxygen is what’s called an oxidizer. What this means is that anything it’s exposed to becomes more flammable.
All things considered, liquid oxygen tanks are not much better. While they don’t contain pressurized oxygen like normal oxygen tanks do, they do have the potential to expand if the equipment isn’t ventilated properly. What’s more, exposure to the cold temperatures required to keep oxygen in its liquid state can lead to severe burns and like compressed oxygen, there’s still a chance oxygen could be exposed to your surroundings.
Portable oxygen concentrators, on the other hand, do not have any of these safety concerns. Because POCs draw in ambient air and remove the oxygen, there is no compressed oxygen inside the unit. So, if you happen to drop it or bump it on accident, it won’t blow up or cause a leak. Another reason POCs are safer than oxygen tanks is because they only put out oxygen when they detect a breath. This is called pulse dose technology and all though it’s not intended as a safety mechanism, it can prevent oxygen from being exposed to surfaces unintentionally if you happen to drop your nasal cannula for some reason.
Last but not least, portable oxygen concentrators are safer simply due to their size and weight. Even portable oxygen tanks can weigh well over 8 pounds and they’re made of metal. If one of them happens to fall on you or a loved one it could pose a serious health risk. However, POCs have a very small form factor and they typically weigh under 5 pounds making them much easier to handle. Even if one does happen to fall on someone or bump into them, it likely won’t cause any harm.
You Want to Simplify Your Routine
While we don’t always like to admit it, life can be complicated sometimes. Between work life and home life, it can be difficult to balance things if you don’t have some sort of organized plan. Unfortunately, if you’re chronically ill and suffer from a condition like cancer, COPD, or diabetes you have one more thing to worry about. As a COPD patient, this could mean having to manage a strict diet, exercise routine, and most importantly your oxygen therapy routine.
Although you do need to juggle a lot as a COPD patient, that doesn’t mean each chore needs to be difficult. For example, you may be able to find a company that can deliver pre-cooked meals that contain all the nutrients you need each week. This way, all you need to do is simply heat them up and your meals are taken care of.
If you want to simplify your oxygen therapy routine, you may choose to invest in a portable oxygen concentrator. Instead of having to refill your oxygen tank each day or carry an extra tank with you, a POC will allow you to go wherever you please knowing that you’ll always have access to high purity medical-grade oxygen. You can make your supplemental oxygen therapy even more convenient by doing your research and buying a POC that matches your needs and lifestyle.
Your Pulmonologist Recommends a Change
Another reason to invest in a portable oxygen machine is if your primary care physician or pulmonologist recommend a change. Due to the fact that portable oxygen concentrators offer the same medical-grade oxygen as tanks, most pulmonologists will no longer see a need for any other type of oxygen delivery device. The one time that you’ll likely need to use an oxygen tank is in the hospital after being admitted for a COPD exacerbation or some other health event. This is referred to as “high-flow short-term oxygen therapy” and it’s only advised under the supervision of a medical specialist.
If your doctor does recommend portable oxygen concentrators, it will likely be for the reasons we’ve discussed previously. Oxygen concentrators are much safer than oxygen tanks, they’re easier to operate especially when you’re out of the house, and they provide a more reliable source of oxygen. If you’re not sure what type of oxygen device your pulmonologist recommends, it may be worth it to reach out to him/her and ask. They may have something specific in mind that will best suit your wants and needs.
You Find a Great Deal
The final sign that it’s time to upgrade to a portable oxygen device is if you find a great deal on one. Unfortunately, when it comes to oxygen tanks and liquid oxygen tanks, the prices are pretty standard and set in stone. This means you’re likely not going to be able to find a great deal on one even if you wait several months to a year.
Alternatively, you could opt for a portable oxygen concentrator which always have great deals running to help you save money. Here at LPT Medical, most of our portable oxygen concentrators come with a carrying case, AC and DC power adapter, a 3-year warranty, and access to Thrive ePulmonary workshop, an official COPD training course that provides you with helpful information for managing your disease as well as full 24/7 support from trusted medical professionals. We’re also happy to offer a lot of great portable oxygen concentrator sales on both new and refurbished units.
With the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial insecurity has become a major concern for many Americans. If you’re considering purchasing a new oxygen therapy device, it may be time for you to upgrade to a portable oxygen concentrator such as the new Inogen One G5, Caire FreeStyle Comfort, or Inogen One G4 which offer the same great benefits of an oxygen tank or liquid oxygen tank but they’re far lighter, smaller, and easier to use. Not to mention they last longer and are a more financially wise choice for long-term oxygen therapy.
We understand that choosing a portable oxygen concentrator is not easy by any means. There are many units on the market and you may have trouble determining which one fits your needs. That’s why our respiratory specialists here at LPT Medical are always here to help. To get all your questions answered, simply fill out the contact form at the side of the page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. What’s more, you can stay tuned to our blogs for more helpful tips on managing COPD and choosing an oxygen therapy device.