Confused about oxygen therapy referral

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I have just completed a rehabilitation program, I am 63 and was diagnosed with COPD 6 years ago. I stopped smoking straight away. I'm concerned due to a physio at the rehab said she was referring me for oxygen therapy due to my oxygen levels dropping to 80% following a few minutes exercise. I have had a blood test which as far as I know hasn't shown any problems. I've got a appointment this Thursday to have my blood pressure checked as this was high when taken a fortnight ago. I'm worried about what happens next. Does the fact that my blood test was ok mean I don't need oxygen therapy? I'm not very good at asking questions when at my doctor's appointment. Any advice would be much appreciated xsue 63

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Susan, its the arterial blood gas measurement that determines if you need oxygen.  I assume the respiratory nurse has communicated to your respiratory specialist what is happening when you exercise.  Its not good that your blood oxygen level is dropping to 80% each time you exercise or move around as this has a damaging effect on your other organs.

    If you haven't already got one perhaps invest in a pulse oximeter to have at home so you can keep an eye on things yourself.  Check its accuracy against the respiratory nurse's oximeter.

    here is patient uk page on pulse oximetry https://patient.info/doctor/pulse-oximetry

    Perhaps sit down with pen and paper and make a list of what you want to ask about your situation with oxygen therapy and how this affects organs if the body doesn't have good blood oxygen when you are active.

    It may be that you only need to use oxygen when you exercise but do ask all the questions that you would like answers too.

    Oxygen therapy is a prescribed medicine and dose which varies according to patients needs.

    Best wishes for your forthcoming appointment.

    V

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your reply. I have bought an oximeter but not sure it works very well due to the fact the numbers for sats and pulse keep changing constantly. Maybe I need to pay a bit more for one. I will do as you advised and write a list of questions. Thanks again Sue
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  • Posted

    Hi Susan, I felt that Vees advice was excellent. I am on oxygen for exertion, when walking doing any physical activity because my oxygen levels drop rapidly to 75, I had a lot of problems adjusting to dragging a oxygen bottle around with me, sat and looked at them for a week, before biting the bullet. I also did the rehab in Australia, was really good and advised not to go without oxygen because of the adverse effects on the rest of the body.  When sitting it is 90 to 92. yes, the oximetry does keep moving as it keeps recording where your body is  at and where oxygen level is, but you get a general idea, as oxygen levels increase the heart has to pump less, so will reduce,  as the  oxygen levels go up. My oxygen setup is called fleur, because it has heaps of flowers on the trolley, learn to really like your oxygen bottle. I hated it for over six months" did not help me to terms with it. I now use it more often, and, have learned to slow down, to accomodate the extra time fleur takes me to get from point a to point b.. it can be done, take care, you will get there. Kindest regards to you

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much for your reply degb. I've just got an appointment to see a thoracic nurse team at the hospital on 13 th/ December. Like you I hate the thought of using extra oxygen but if it helps I will hopefully learn to get used to it. If I hadn't gone to the rehab I don't think I would of been aware of the problem so I'm pleased that I did the course. Many thanks Sue.

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  • Posted

    I am 50 yrs old. I had lung surgery 6 weeks ago due to a collapsed lung due to COPD. I have to use oxygen at night. I don't know what blood tests show, but I do know that the number count on a pulsox test means alot. My numbers are mid to high 90's during awake hours but fall to low when I am lying down.

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  • Posted

    Hi Susan!!  I was diagnosed almost 7 years ago and I am now 75.  You should be ecstatic that your doctor is referring you for oxygen!  My doctor IMMEDIATELY prescribed oxygen for me when I was diagnosed.  I truly believe that it has not only saved my life but kept my COPD at a steady level.  I only have to go to my Pulmonary Specialist once a year and my stats have NOT changed at all in 4 years!  I only use my oxygen during the night and IF I take a nap in the afternoon.  I feel GREAT all of the time and I have only used my rescue inhaler one time in the past 6 years......that was when I was walking in an area above 11,000 feet.  So many people become angered or depressed when their doctors prescribe oxygen; however, I feel blessed that my doctor was way ahead of the game and prescribed it the same day that I was diagnosed.  My doctor served 12 years at the National Jewish Hospital, which is dedicated to lung diseases, so I'm sure he knows what he is doing!  My blessings to you and I hope you have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving and a very blessed Christmas.  I plan to live another 20 years.....until I am 95....just like my angelic Mother did!  

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