In the past, people who needed ongoing oxygen therapy relied on oxygen tanks. These tanks were filled with compressed oxygen and provided continuous oxygen – and though they could be transported, they were heavy and limiting.
Fortunately, advances in technology led to the creation of portable oxygen concentrators. These new devices create their own oxygen rather than relying on a limited supply. Portable oxygen concentrators pull oxygen out of the air, filter it, and store it.
Portable oxygen concentrators are also easy to carry and lightweight, helping people live without constraints. But these aren’t the only benefits. Here are a few more benefits for those who require oxygen therapy.
A Treatment Option for COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a chronic lung condition that progressively worsens over time. It’s incurable, but the symptoms of COPD can be managed. According to the COPD Foundation¹, COPD affects an estimated 30 million Americans. As the disease progresses, COPD may cause shortness of breath and a shortage of oxygen, meaning many people who have COPD need supplemental oxygen. They may hesitate to leave home once on oxygen therapy because of the bulkiness of oxygen tanks.
Portable oxygen concentrators are an easy solution for people who have COPD. They don’t need to be refilled and are compact. Some of these devices weigh as little as five pounds and can be carried in a shoulder bag. Today’s portable oxygen concentrators operate on batteries that can last up to 12 hours, and they also have A/C adapters so they can be plugged in and recharged anywhere while you’re on the go.
Better Mobility and Easier Travel
Traveling may seem nearly impossible for those who rely on oxygen tanks – and flying is just about out of the question. When you travel by plane, you’re exposed to decreases in air pressure. While these are not noticeable for most people, they can limit the ability of people who have lung diseases to fly on airplanes. Even worse, people aren’t able to bring gaseous or liquid oxygen tanks on flights.
However, the Federal Aviation Administration² has approved multiple portable oxygen concentrators for in-flight use. If you plan to travel by air, check with your airline to make certain you can travel with your portable oxygen concentrator. If you’re able to disconnect from your machine, you can check it in your luggage or to carry it in your carry-on bag. If you don’t want to disconnect, you may undergo a pat-down search by the Transportation Safety Administration.
In addition to flights, you can also easily carry your portable oxygen concentrator when traveling by car or train. Since the machines have A/C adapters, you’re able to recharge your machine by plugging it into your car charger. Amtrak also allows you to travel with your oxygen concentrator. Since these machines concentrate the oxygen from the air, they don’t have the same risks posed by tanks containing compressed oxygen. They’re also much easier to transport because of their small size and lighter weight.
Improvements in All Areas of Life
When you get a portable oxygen concentrator, you’ll likely enjoy improvements in all areas of your life. Having the ability to move about more can help to improve your mood instead of feeling isolated in your home. You can enjoy social and recreational activities that you used to enjoy and visit people and places beyond your front door with ease.
Portable oxygen concentrators can also improve your sleep. You can set them to deliver a continuous flow of oxygen so your sleep is more restful. When you’re able to get enough sleep at night, you’ll enjoy improved cognition during the day. People who are sleep-deprived may feel more confusion during their waking hours.
Portable oxygen concentrators may also enhance your ability to exercise because you won’t be as short of breath and will have the oxygen you need to support activity. Finally, since these machines are small and lightweight, you’ll enjoy greater independence and be able to perform the activities you want on your own.
What Do Portable Oxygen Concentrators Cost?
The average cost of a portable oxygen concentrator will depend on the weight of the machine and the amount of oxygen it holds. You can expect to pay from $2,000 to $6,000 for your concentrator, CostHelper³ reports. It’s also possible to rent a portable oxygen concentrator for a monthly payment.
If you have a health condition that requires continuous oxygen or oxygen therapy in some capacity, you may be able to get a portable oxygen concentrator at a reduced cost – or even for free. Your insurance company, like Medicare, may pay for the equipment, especially if you have a doctor’s prescription or recommendation.
Just make sure to check with your insurance company before purchasing a machine of your own. Some insurance policies, like Medicare, may require you to meet certain conditions or rent your oxygen equipment in order to cover the cost.
To find the most inexpensive option, you should conduct your own research online and by comparison shopping. You can search for different sizes and types of portable oxygen concentrators online and compare prices as well as insurance coverage options.