One of the most important things for anyone suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and needing to take supplemental oxygen, is mobility. Although you can have mental activity, an active life implies the physical ability to move and participate in any number of different activities. This is part of the lifestyle that anyone has the right to expect. It is such an ordinary part of life that most people don't think twice about their mobility. This can go from the simplest type of action – from walking upstairs, climbing into a car or just walking about, to others that demand more exertion.
COPD is characterized by damage to the lungs, which in turn limits the oxygen intake of normal breathing and therefore restricts the ability to move about.
The good news is that the new models of portable oxygen equipment are being designed with the patients mobile needs in mind. The old heavy and awkward oxygen tanks are now a thing of the past. Stationary oxygen units for homes use three different types of oxygen delivery and all these now have their portable equivalents.
The Three Options Of Portable Oxygen Delivery Systems.
1. Compressed Oxygen
2. Liquid Oxygen
3. Oxygen Concentrators
- Compressed Oxygen Cylinders. They have been used for quite some time now but used to be heavy and large, with a limited oxygen supply. The new range of aluminum cylinders means that you now have various options for portable cylinders where the weight and design make them much easier to carry. Carrier options are also part of the benefits, where you can either pull in simple but effective trolleys, or carry on their own light weight travel bags. All oxygen delivery systems have a regulator that releases the oxygen at a particular rate (liters per minute). You can also get "conserving devices" that release oxygen, at specific settings, at the beginning of the inhalation and therefore wasted oxygen is reduced extending the duration of the oxygen cylinder. The cylinders, both stationary and portable have to be refilled.
- Liquid Oxygen Tanks. In general terms manufacturers of oxygen delivery systems have been focusing their new design efforts in two areas: weight and oxygen duration. So it is not surprising to find developments for both compressed oxygen cylinders and liquid oxygen tanks to be very similar. Oxygen is kept liquid in its tank at a temperature of -170 Celsius. The amount of oxygen held in a tank is much higher in its liquid form than as a gas, due to its properties. However, liquid oxygen does evaporate. What this means is that a liquid oxygen tank that is left over night will lose in the range of 0.5 to 1.5 liters – compressed oxygen on the other hand will not evaporate leak. Keeping that in mind the duration of a portable liquid oxygen tank will be, all things being equal, much longer.
- Oxygen Concentrators. An oxygen concentrator is an oxygen delivery system that is powered by electricity to extract pure oxygen from the surrounding air- it therefore doesn't need to be refilled as no oxygen is stored in the unit. As long as the portable concentrator is powered (either from a battery or by being plugged in) it will supply oxygen. Oxygen concentrators arrived on the scene around 2002 and have been receiving a lot of attention – both by users and designers. There are different manufacturers around and the portable options will have different characteristics – but the main effort has also been on weight and portability, as well battery duration.