What is oxygen?
Oxygen is a natural part of the air we breathe, but it makes up less than a ¼ of the gases we call air. Our bloodstream collects oxygen from our lungs and transports it to the tissues of our body.The cells within these tissues use both oxygen and the food we eat to create energy.
Why do I need oxygen?
If you have chronic lung disease, some areas in your lungs are damaged. These damaged areas act as blockages, preventing oxygen from moving into your bloodstream. You are unable to capture enough oxygen during a breath for your body to thrive. You likely experience difficulties breathing, sleeping and performing daily activities.
Oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen available to your bloodstream in each breath. The increased oxygen concentration eases the capture of enough oxygen by your bloodstream to supply your body. This therapy helps you breathe more comfortably, so you can enjoy your daily activities.
Will I become addicted to oxygen?
Definitely not. Drug addictions create a biochemical change; oxygen does not cause a biochemical change, so it cannot be addictive. If you use home oxygen, you suffer from a physical barrier in your lungs. This barrier reduces the flow of oxygen gas from the lungs into your bloodstream. Home oxygen therapy simply increases the amount of oxygen in each breath compared to other gases. With more oxygen in your lungs, the blood has a better chance of pulling that oxygen out of your lungs.
Oxygen therapy patients typically need increasing amounts of oxygen over time because their lung disease worsens. If you need additional oxygen, it is because of the progression of your condition, not because you are addicted to oxygen.
Can I ever stop using oxygen?
Unfortunately, if your lung disease has caused enough lung damage to force the need for oxygen, you will likely need it for the rest of your life. However, some lung conditions are treatable with the use of medications or by curing an infection; in those cases, patients may overcome the need for oxygen.
Do I have to use oxygen all the time?
Your oxygen prescription tells you when to use your oxygen. Some patients must use oxygen all the time, while other patients do not.
What happens if I don’t use my oxygen?
Always consult your physician before making any changes to your oxygen therapy. Suddenly stopping oxygen therapy may cause complications to your condition. Without enough oxygen, your symptoms may worsen and you may find it impossible to do even simple tasks.