Oxygen Therapy: What is it and Why do you need it?

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oxygen therapy

What is Oxygen Therapy?

Oxygen Therapy is a medical gas administered through inhalation to improve the blood circulation throughout your body. Medical practitioners use oxygen therapy supplement oxygen to promote healing and to fight infections. The oxygen then restores the levels of blood gases and tissue function.

oxygen therapy face mask

Oxygen therapy is one of the most effective and safest medicines needed in a healthy bodily system. 

It also falls under one of the most common treatments used within a hospital, although you do not need to be administered in a hospital to receive the treatment. It is an already well-established treatment throughout the world. You can receive treatment in several different ways; in a pressurized room/tube (hyperbaric chambers), a nasal cannula and even a face mask. 

The amount of oxygen you receive depends on the medical condition for which you will receive treatment. Usually, we breathe in about 21% of oxygen in the air around us. Oxygen can increase this amount up to 100%!

There are several types of oxygen therapy (OT)

The treatment used for stabilization is called Long Term OT. To improve your oxygen levels while you sleep, you will receive Nocturnal OT. To enhance your oxygen intake while you are active, you will need Ambulatory OT. If you need to treat severe breathlessness, Palliative OT is the treatment for you. 

oxygen therapy hyperbaric chamber

Why do you need it?

First, your quality of life is much improved. Your life span expands, and you will have much better experiences when you’re active. To function normally, your body needs oxygen when it comes to breathing, the healing process of tissue, and to protect your vital organs. Your vital organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys and muscles can be dangerously damaged otherwise. Blood carries the oxygen flowing throughout your body to help fight bacteria and release growth factors and stem cells to promote healing.

Medical practitioners mainly treat patients with these conditions:

  • Patients suffering from low blood oxygen
  • Carbon monoxide toxicity
  • Cluster headaches
  • To maintain a sufficient amount of oxygen while under anaesthetics during a surgical procedure.
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Neuro-muscular conditions
  • Heart problems, like congestive heart failure
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

The list extends to even more conditions treated with oxygen therapy in severe cases of:

  • Asthma
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Pneumonia 
  • Emphysema
  • Lung cancer
  • Pulmonary fibrosis

Oxygen therapy is also successful in treating severe infections and wounds that struggle to heal from a radiation injury or as a cause of diabetes. Scuba divers can benefit from oxygen therapy to treat decompressed sickness

oxygen therapy decompression sickness

Awaiting more clinical trials to prove effectiveness, oxygen therapy is yet another treatment with high success rates, but still lacks sufficient evidence to treat other conditions. As we lean more into a world where success rates matter the most, we hope that the treatment of oxygen therapy to treat many more medical conditions will rise, too.

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