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Understanding COPD and the Benefits of Portable Oxygen Concentrators 16 May 2024

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a growing problem around the world, affecting a large portion of age groups from young adults to the elderly. Just like the number of cases, the common misconceptions about the condition are also on the rise.

In this detailed blog post, we will try to break these false impressions by delving into the subjects of COPD management, the benefits of oxygen therapy, and the advantages of portable oxygen concentrators.

First, it's important to understand the nature of COPD.

Understanding COPD: Definition, Symptoms, and Causes

Definition: COPD is a common term given to a variety of inflammatory lung conditions, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. These diseases share the similarity of obstructing the airflow and making breathing a challenge for the patients.

Symptoms: While the nature of the condition can differ with individuals, the common symptoms of COPD may include persistent coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and a sense of fatigue.

Causes: Smoking and prolonged exposure to air pollution or irritants are the leading causes of COPD. Over 70% of COPD cases are caused by tobacco smoking in high-income countries. In the case of continued exposure, these factors can also exacerbate symptoms and further worsen the patient's condition. Understanding these causes is crucial for both prevention and managing the condition effectively.

Benefits of Oxygen Therapy

For individuals living with COPD, oxygen therapy can be more than just a treatment, it can change their lives for the better. As COPD progresses, it leads to hypoxia – a condition of reduced oxygen levels in the bloodstream, making everyday tasks increasingly difficult for the patient. Oxygen therapy can alleviate these challenges by raising blood oxygen levels, easing symptoms and improving sleep quality and cognitive functions.

Healthcare providers may prescribe oxygen therapy for either short-term relief or long-term treatment, depending on the patient's condition and needs.

Traditionally, oxygen therapy meant being tied down to bulky oxygen cylinders, which limited movement and impacted the quality of life. However, the inception of portable O2 concentrators has changed things forever. These devices provide freedom and flexibility, allowing the patients to embrace their days fully and with joy.

The Evolution of Portable Oxygen Concentrators

The practice of oxygen therapy has roots stretching back to the 1800s. Yet, it was not until the 1970s that O2 concentrators were first developed, introducing the concept of oxygen therapy without the need for bulky cylinders. As the 21st century dawned, portable versions of oxygen concentrators emerged in the market, revolutionizing the way oxygen therapy was conducted. This innovation granted patients the freedom to move without the burden of heavy oxygen cylinders, both literally and metaphorically.

Benefits of Portable Oxygen Concentrator

Now, we delve into the heart of the matter. Let's explore the key factors that significantly enhance the quality of life for COPD patients.

1. Freedom of Movement

Unlike the restrictive nature of oxygen tanks and stationary units, portable oxygen concentrators allow individuals to move around as they please and reclaim their independence. Whether it's a leisurely stroll through the park, a routine trip to the grocery store, or a drive in the countryside, a portable concentrator will be a reliable companion.

2. Travel-Friendly

Why limit the trips to just local malls and parks? There's the option of a portable oxygen concentrator to embrace the chance of visiting distant relatives or indulging in a much-deserved vacation. With Portable Oxygen Concentrators that adhere to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, such as the GCE Zen-O or Zen-O lite, travelers are cleared for takeoff and can maintain their oxygen therapy, even during flight.

3. A Non-Stop Supply of Oxygen

Unlike oxygen cylinders, which demand regular refills, POCs utilize ambient air, concentrating it to deliver a constant stream of oxygen. Similarly, stationary home O2 concentrators offer the same functionality but can produce oxygen in greater volumes, attributed to their larger size.

4. Battery Operated

POCs are designed for independence and do not need to be constantly tethered to a power outlet to function. Yet, they can still be plugged into an outlet to charge and switch to battery operation when traveling. Moreover, most models are compatible with both AC and DC power sources, like GCE's Zen-O and Zen-O lite, providing the flexibility to charge while driving.

5. Quiet Operation

The essence of a POC is to provide peace of mind, but a noisy unit can defeat this purpose. Models like the Zen-O lite operate at a mere 37 dBA, comparable to the sound level in a quiet library, and are nearly noiseless that you might forget they're there. This allows for undisturbed sleep and peaceful oxygen therapy at home.

6. Low Maintenance

POCs are also a breeze to maintain, with only occasional cleaning or filter replacement necessary. When maintained correctly, the likelihood of needing technical support is minimal.

How Does an Oxygen Concentrator Work?

Typically, oxygen concentrators contain a sieve bed made from a material known as Zeolite, which possesses the capability to adsorb nitrogen from the air. As the concentrator draws in ambient air, this sieve bed filters the air by adsorbing nitrogen to the surface of the Zeolite, leaving behind more concentrated oxygen that is safe for inhalation by patients with breathing difficulties. Once the desired purity level is achieved, the oxygen is then delivered directly to the patients via an oxygen mask or nasal cannula.

Choosing the Right Portable Oxygen Concentrator

POCs come in various shapes and sizes to meet diverse needs. If you are dealing with COPD or other respiratory issues, your doctor will prescribe a portable oxygen concentrator tailored to your requirements. However, this doesn't imply a lack of options.

We encourage you to openly communicate with your healthcare provider if you prefer a specific brand, such as GCE, or a particular model, like Zen-O. This allows your doctor to consider your preferences along with several other factors such as the type of oxygen delivery, battery capacity, size, weight, and FAA approval, before making a prescription.

Beyond Oxygen Therapy

Managing COPD extends beyond oxygen therapy. Lifestyle changes, such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and quitting smoking, can profoundly affect your health. Equally, proper care and maintenance of your POC ensures that your device takes care of you for years to come.

GCE: Helping You Breathe Easier

At GCE, we understand the challenges faced by those living with COPD. With years of expertise in medical gas control, our mission is to support you in living a fuller life, free from the constraints of traditional oxygen therapy. Our products, including the Zen-O and Zen-O lite POCs along with OC-E Series and M50 SOCs, are engineered to make every aspect of your life easier and freer than ever.

If you are in search of oxygen machines, discuss your options with your healthcare provider. Upon decision, GCE is available to assist. Check out our website to learn more and make an informed decision.

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