Oxygen Therapy: Signs of Oxygen Deprivation

Many people need supplemental oxygen constantly - it could be everyday, all day long; it could be while exercising or for sleep at night. Whatever the case may be adjusting to external oxygen delivery, whether it is a portable oxygen concentrator, an oxygen tank or cylinder, is a process they all have to go through. In time, and this will vary depending on the person and frequency, it becomes another part of the everyday. It just has to be done and therefore accepted.

One of the risks of having to receive additional oxygen is not getting enough and this can happen both to those who are new to supplemental oxygen as well as to those that have been on oxygen therapy for a longer period of time. There are a number of reasons for insufficient oxygen that go from malfunction of the unit, to exertion, a twist in the hose or faulty settings. It can be something as simple of breathing through the mouth for those who use nose cannulas.

The important thing is to recognize the symptoms of oxygen deprivation - and this goes for both patients and caretakers or close family and friends. One of the effects of oxygen deprivation is losing concentration and awareness; this means that many times the patient will not notice a lack of oxygen and cannot therefore take corrective measures. Familiarity breed contempt and in this case it can mean that once you get used to living with additional oxygen, it becomes a habit and your level of awareness goes down. This can also happen to relatives and those who share time with a patient. This is just human nature.