Oxygen Therapy in Cystic Fibrosis
Oxygen therapy is a way of delivering more oxygen (O2) to the compromised parts of the body. It is a method used by people with lung diseases like cystic fibrosis. The heart's workload is reduced and the person is able to breathe easier through this form of therapy.
A doctor will prescribe the amount of oxygen you need based simple test with an oxymeter. This is a simple device that slips around ones finger. A few seconds later the doctor knows the oxygen saturation of the patient. This measures the amount of O2 the red blood cells are carrying as a percentage of the total amount the blood can carry. Healthy people have values between 95% and 100%. Values under 90% require additional oxygenation of the body.
Oxygenation and Its Importance in Cystic Fibrosis
Oxygen has long been used in the hospital setting. Normally, people can breathe the exact amount needed by the body, even cystic fibrosis patients. But as time goes by and the lung capacity of the cystic fibrosis patients becomes smaller through scarring, the oxygen intake will be insufficient for healthy functioning of all body organs. Patients will then need to compensate the lack of oxygen in the blood through oxygenation. Usually patients in need for O2 will be on a list for transplantation. Extra oxygenation of the body organs will keep the body fit and healthy before surgery.
Oxygenation serves a very important role in cystic fibrosis. Here are some of its benefits:
- Improved exercise capacity is noted from the patient.
- A speedy recovery period can be expected.
- There is improvement in the breathing pattern.
- Compliance to the therapy shows a positive change in the sleep and rest habit of the patient.
Home Oxygenation in Two Ways
More and more people are using this therapy outside the hospital. The therapy permits them to lead healthy, active and productive lives. Those suffering from lung cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and cystic fibrosis benefit much from this therapy.
There are three common ways to deliver gas into the body:
First, there is the compressed gas oxygen which is stored under pressure inside a cylinder. Some are stored in small portable cylinders while others come in large tanks.
Next, there is the liquid oxygen which is stored in a very cold liquid vessel. The oxygen inside is converted to gas and the air is breathed in just like in a compressed gas system. Liquid O2 is much compacter than gas O2, enabling users to actually transport the liquid gas in a small container on their back.
Lastly, there is the oxygen concentrator which is a powered device that separates the air, concentrates and stores it. This type of oxygenation does not have to be re-supplied and it is not as costly as the liquid oxygen.
Do's and Don'ts
- Do not ever change the flow rate unless directed by your physician.
- Make sure that you never run out of supply at home.
- Use water-based lubricants on your nostrils or lips.
- You can tuck some gauze under the tubing to prevent skin irritation.
- If you experience anxiety, headaches, drowsiness, blue lips, restlessness and confusion, do call your physicians immediately.
- Make sure that you perform after care of the equipment used in oxygen therapy.
Disclaimer: This website provides general information about cystic fibrosis and in no means should be taken as a medical or health advice. Please consult your doctor before acting on any of its information.