Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Managing COPD - Are You in Control of Your Oxygen Therapy?

(ARA) – For people with heart and breathing conditions--and their caregivers--it can be difficult to determine if the body is getting enough oxygen. For the more than 1.2 million Americans receiving long-term oxygen therapy for conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), there is a way to check critical oxygen saturation levels in a convenient way.

People commonly check their own weight and temperature whenever they need to, and many patients can check their blood pressure and blood sugar at home as well. With a fingertip pulse oximeter you can tell if you’re getting enough oxygen in all situations.

Doctors say the number of Americans with COPD and those receiving long-term oxygen therapy will rise as baby boomers age. The vast majority of these individuals should be active to improve their quality of life. A personal oximeter can become part of a daily routine to help people stay active and take back control of their health.

Oxygen saturation measures how much oxygen the blood is carrying. The ideal oxygen saturation level is between 90 and 98 percent in all activities. To determine this level, an oximeter shines two separate beams of light into the blood circulating through the small vessels (capillaries). The light beams reflect the amount of oxygen in the blood. If the reading indicates that oxygen levels are too low, oxygen flow settings should be adjusted to achieve the correct saturation level.

Doctors often prescribe pulse oximetry for patients with respiratory diseases such as COPD and conditions such as heart failure. In the past, such patients would often be required to visit a clinic, sometimes daily, to have their oxygen levels monitored. However, with a personal fingertip pulse oximeter such as an Onyx II, blood oxygen saturation can be measured independently, any time, anywhere. Managing a condition like COPD is a lifelong commitment, so choosing a high-quality, durable and accurate pulse oximeter with a warranty is important.

A fingertip pulse oximeter can be particularly helpful for family members acting as caregivers for older adults. The patient simply places their finger into the fingertip device for a reliable and easy to read spot-check. By providing non-invasive monitoring, a device like a fingertip pulse oximeter can help individuals live independently in their homes for a longer period of time. With a model like the new Onyx II 9560 with Bluetooth wireless connectivity, doctors can even remotely monitor patients with conditions such as COPD, Congestive Heart Failure or asthma.

Whether you’re a patient with COPD or the caregiver to someone on long-term oxygen therapy, talk to your doctor about prescribing an Onyx II and take back control of your life and medical care.

For more information on pulse oximeters, visit www.Nonin.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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