Caregiver in Alexandria VA
At some point during your time as a family caregiver to a loved one with COPD, he may well need oxygen therapy. Here are some things that you need to know about oxygen treatments so that you can better help your loved one.
Why Your Loved One Might Need Oxygen
In COPD, your loved one’s lungs are damaged. In some cases, they’re damaged enough that your loved one has a difficult time getting enough oxygen into his body even when he’s not exerting himself. At that time, your loved one’s doctor may need to prescribe supplemental oxygen in order to help your loved one get the oxygen that he needs. Your loved one might also need supplemental oxygen if he’s traveling, particularly by airplane or to higher elevations. Both can cause your loved one to need extra help with breathing.
Benefits of Oxygen Therapy
The main benefit of oxygen therapy for your loved one with COPD is that he won’t have to struggle as much in order to breathe. Your loved one might also experience lower blood pressure, which can be higher than normal due to anxiety about being unable to breathe. Despite these benefits, some loved ones who are prescribed oxygen therapy are embarrassed to use it, particularly in public.
Pulse Oximeter Readings
Your loved one’s doctor uses measurements called arterial blood gas, or ABG, in order to determine how much and when your loved one needs oxygen. He may also recommend that your loved one use a device called a pulse oximeter at home to determine if oxygen should be used. This is a small device that fits over your loved one’s finger. It tests both your loved one’s pulse rate and the level of oxygen in his blood. Your loved one’s doctor will tell you and your loved one what readings are good and what readings require extra attention.
Work with Your Loved One’s Doctor
Continue to work with your loved one’s doctor in order to make sure that the oxygen therapy is working for your loved one. At some times, your loved one may need more or less oxygen in order to function properly. If you ever feel that there is something that needs more attention, contact your loved one’s doctor to have the situation checked out.
Oxygen therapy can be extremely helpful for your loved one with COPD.