Good Advise!

Supplemental Oxygen

Sometimes with COPD, lung function is reduced to the extent that supplemental oxygen (also called oxygen therapy) is needed to continue normal bodily functions and maintain or increase activity.

Oxygen is an element, a gas, and a drug.

The cells in the body get their energy from the interaction of oxygen with food. The energy produced is used to do everything from breathing, to carrying out bodily functions, to going to the grocery store.

For people who do not get enough oxygen naturally, supplements of oxygen can have several benefits. Oxygen therapy can:

  • Improve sleep and mood
  • Increase mental alertness and stamina
  • Allow a person's body to carry out normal functions
  • Prevent heart failure in people with severe lung disease

Three Ways Oxygen Therapy Is Supplied

  • Compressed oxygen gas and liquid oxygen are two ways to have oxygen delivered to the home. Oxygen gas is stored in tanks or cylinders of steel or aluminum.
  • These tanks come in many sizes; larger ones are usually used at home, and smaller ones are used for leaving the house. Liquid oxygen is made by cooling the oxygen gas, which changes it to a liquid form.
  • It is often used by people who are more active because larger amounts of oxygen can be stored in smaller, more convenient containers than compressed oxygen. The disadvantage is that it cannot be kept for a long time because it will evaporate.
  • Oxygen concentrators are also available to use in the home. An oxygen concentrator is an electric device about the size of an end table. It produces oxygen by concentrating the oxygen that is already in the air and removing other gases.
  • This method is less expensive, easier to maintain, and doesn't require refilling. Some oxygen concentrators, however, give off heat and are noisy. Other drawbacks are that you may notice an increase in your electricity bill, and you will need a back-up source of oxygen in case of a power failure.
  • There are now several reliable portable oxygen concentrators that allow people using them to easily leave the home, go to work, enjoy recreational activities and travel.

You might need oxygen therapy all of the time or just part of the time. A doctor's prescription is required for supplemental oxygen. 

Safety Tips

There are important safety factors to keep in mind when using oxygen. 

Oxygen is a safe gas and is non-flammable, however, it supports combustion. Materials burn more readily in an oxygen-enriched environment. Follow these tips for safe oxygen use:

Post "No Smoking" and "No Open Flames" signs in and outside your home to remind people not to smoke
  • Avoid open flames in the presence of oxygen use (e.g. matches, cigarette lighters, candles, and burning tobacco). Insist that people who wish to smoke step outside your home to protect your lungs and your home.
  • Caution must also be used around other sources of heat, such as electric or gas heaters and/or stoves—at least 5 feet is a recommended distance between oxygen and other heat sources.
  • People using oxygen should avoid using lotions or creams containing petroleum. The combustion of flammable products containing petroleum can also be supported by the presence of oxygen. Use water-based products instead.
  • It is important to store cylinders safely—cylinders should be upright and secure, in an approved cart or device for storage.
  • Remember when not in use, oxygen supply valves should be turned off.
  • Always follow the instructions of your oxygen supply company regarding safe usage.

 


 


 

Other breathing treatments called assisted breathing are becoming more frequently used for patients with COPD. These treatments may be called CPAP, Bi-PAP, or nasal positive pressure ventilation. Talk to your doctor about whether or not this is right for you. For more information call the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872).

O2 Store    👍


 


 

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in Blood

What is a Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Blood Test?

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an odorless, colorless gas.

It is a waste product made by your body.

Your blood carries carbon dioxide to your lungs.

You breathe out carbon dioxide and breathe in oxygen all day, every day, without thinking about it. A CO2 blood test measures the amount of carbon dioxide in your blood.

Too much or too little carbon dioxide in the blood can indicate a health problem.

Other names: carbon dioxide content, CO2 content, carbon dioxide blood test, bicarbonate blood test, bicarbonate test, total CO2; TCO2; carbon dioxide content; CO2 content; bicarb; HCO3

What is it used for?

A CO2 blood test is often part of a series of tests called an electrolyte panel. Electrolytes help balance the levels of acids and bases in your body. Most of the carbon dioxide in your body is in the form of bicarbonate, which is a type of electrolyte. An electrolyte panel may part of a regular exam. The test may also help monitor or diagnose conditions related to an electrolyte imbalance. These include kidney diseaseslung diseases, and high blood pressure.

Why do I need a CO2 in blood test?

Your health care provider may have ordered a CO2 blood test as part of your regular checkup or if you have symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance. These include:

What happens during a CO2 blood test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don't need any special preparations for a CO2 blood test or an electrolyte panel. If your health care provider has ordered more tests on your blood sample, you may need to fast (not eat or drink) for several hours before the test. Your health care provider will let you know if there are any special instructions to follow.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

Abnormal results may indicate that your body has an electrolyte imbalance, or that there is a problem removing carbon dioxide through your lungs. Too much CO2 in the blood can indicate a variety of conditions including:

  • Lung diseases
  • Disorders of the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are located above the kidneys and help control heart rate, blood pressure, and other bodily functions.
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Kidney disorders
  • Alkalosis, a condition in which you have too much base in your blood

Too little CO2 in the blood may indicate:

  • Addison's disease, a condition in which your body's adrenal glands don't produce enough of certain types of hormones. The condition can cause a variety of symptoms including weakness, dizziness, weight loss, and dehydration.
  • Acidosis, a condition in which you have too much acid in your blood
  • Ketoacidosis, a complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Shock
  • Kidney disorders

If your test results are not in the normal range, it doesn't necessarily mean you have a medical condition requiring treatment. Other factors, including certain medicines, can affect the level of CO2 in your blood. To learn what your results mean, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about a CO2 blood test?

Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines can increase or decrease the amount of carbon dioxide in your blood. Be sure to tell your health care provider about any medicines you are taking.

References

  1. Hinkle J, Cheever K. Brunner & Suddarth's Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 2nd Ed, Kindle. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2014. Total Carbon Dioxide Content; p. 488.
  2. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Bicarbonate: The Test; [updated 2016 Jan 26; cited 2017 Mar 19]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/co2/tab/test
  3. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co., Inc.; c2017. Addison Disease; [cited 2017 Mar 19]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/hormonal-and-metabolic-disorders/adrenal-gland-disorders/addison-disease
  4. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co., Inc.; c2017. Overview of Acid-Base Balance; [cited 2017 Mar 19]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/hormonal-and-metabolic-disorders/acid-base-balance/overview-of-acid-base-balance
  5. National Cancer Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: adrenal gland; [cited 2017 Mar 19]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms?cdrid=46678
  6. National Cancer Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: carbon dioxide; [cited 2017 Mar 19]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms?cdrid=538147
  7. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Types of Blood Tests; [updated 2012 Jan 6; cited 2017 Mar 19]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/bdt/types
  8. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; What Are the Risks of Blood Tests?; [updated 2012 Jan 6; cited 2017 Mar 19]; [about 6 screens]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/bdt/risks
  9. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; What Do Blood Tests Show?; [updated 2012 Jan 6; cited 2017 Mar 19]; [about 7 screens]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/bdt/show
  10. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; What To Expect with Blood Tests; [updated 2012 Jan 6; cited 2017 Mar 19]; [about 5 screens]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/bdt/with
  11. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2017. Health Encyclopedia: Carbon Dioxide (Blood); [cited 2017 Mar 19]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=carbon_dioxide_blood

The medical information provided is for informational purposes only, and is not to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please contact your health care provider with questions you may have regarding medical conditions or the interpretation of test results.

In the event of a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

Many people with lung disease use oxygen. There are several ways you can connect with other people and lung disease experts to help you get started with oxygen:

  • Call our free Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit Lung.org/helpline to talk with a medical professional.
  • Connect with other patients facing lung disease in one of our free online support communities. Visit Lung.org/community to learn more.
  • Join an in-person Better Breathers Club support group. Visit Lung.org/better-breathers to learn more.
  • Get started with a pulmonary rehabilitation program. The trained respiratory therapists can help answer your questions about oxygen and teach you how to stay active. Visit Lung.org/pulmonary-rehab to learn more.