Oxygen Concentrators 101

If you need oxygen therapy, your life doesn’t need to slow down. With oxygen concentrators, you can get the pure oxygen you need to live at home while exercising, traveling, or doing other everyday activities.

Oxygen concenters come in several options with different abilities and limitations. Make sure that you aren’t limited by the machine your choice. Learn about concentrators and what options are available to you to make an educated decision and live your life with a machine that meets your oxygen therapy needs.

How Concentrators Work

Concentrators take the air from the around them. This air is approximately 80 percent nitrogen and 20 percent oxygen. The machine then compresses the oxygen and takes most of the nitrogen from the air, usually reaching up to 90 to 95 percent oxygen with just 5 to 10 percent nitrogen. A concentrator is able to produce a higher concentration of oxygen than regular air flow. This oxygen is then delivered to the user through tubing and a nasal canal. There is also a cooling system embedded into the concentrator to keep air from overheating.

At Home Versus Portable

Both at-home concentrator and portable concentrator are very helpful and functional machines. An at-home concentrator can often provide larger amounts of oxygen because they are larger. Whereas portable machines are smaller and more compact, so they are not as capable of at-home machines. However, portable concentrators do provide mobility, allowing you to live your life like normal. The at-home machine does provide some mobility within the home, but cannot leave the house, so it can be confining. Many users have both machines to meet their needs and lifestyle. An at-home concentrator is usually used for oxygen therapy through the night, whereas a portable concentrator offers the option to receive oxygen while you are out and about.

Different Flows

There are two different types of flows available in oxygen concentrators—the pulse dose and continuous flow. The pulse dose provides oxygen to the user as they inhale in a sort of pulse. This flow is usually only used during the day. Continuous flow, as the name implies, provides a continues flow of oxygen to the user, no matter their breathing patterns. This is usually the better option for oxygen therapy while sleeping.

A Machine That Meets Your Needs

When you’re looking to buy your own machine, there is a lot to consider. Each concentrator is different and will serve you and your oxygen therapy needs differently. Before purchasing, you should consult with your doctor about your personal needs for oxygen therapy and what the best choice for you is.

As you are considering your options, ask yourself how and when you will use your oxygen concentrator. Will this concentrator meet your lifestyle needs? What kind of battery life will you need? Or in other words, how long do you plan on being away from home with your machine? Do you need oxygen therapy through the night? That should also factor into your decision. How many liters of oxygen do you need per minute? It’s very important that you get a machine that can meet your oxygen needs.