COPD & Short Breath

Hello, I have COPD (emphysema) and prescribed 02 for exertion. I am experiencing more shortness of breath lately even though I have 02. Is this normal and does it mean disease is progressing. It is so frustrating and makes me so tired too. I only use my 02 for walking and exercise but wondering if it would help to use more often? Please share your experience or suggestions, thank you.

8 Replies

Hello, as far as I know 02 has no effect on levels of breathlessness, 02 protects our organs when we deplete them of 02 when we move around etc. I could be wrong of course.

if you are concerns do call the BLF helpline who are wonderful at helping answer questions when needed.

Good luck!

PollyP is correct about protecting the organs but because there is more oxygen in the blood the lungs don't have to work as hard. I'm on half a litre but turn it up to 1 or 2 depending on how much I'm doing and it does help with my breathing.


Like you I too am on 1/2 litre oxygen but because I am borderline co2 retainer was told not to increase on exertion. I have tried increasing to 1 litre but it doesn't seem to help with the breathlessness.

I think the use of O2 varies with the type of chest complaint we have?................I have IPF and it certainly helps with my breathlessness on exertion ..........the way I understand it is that if our O2 levels in our blood are low, the heart beats faster to push more blood around and this exertion makes us breathless..............but as I said, the use of it is dependent on the type of problem we have. As Polly said, call the helpline or go back to your GP.

When I'm at PR on the treadmill I put it up to 1 and can do a lot more than I can on half a litre. I have had very severe emphysema for over 4 years and mine has not really changed in that time. I had a lung function test 3 years ago and my second one about 2 months ago. My Xray is still the same as 3 years ago.

This is why this impairment is hard to define as we are all so different but the same.

If you understand what I'm trying to say !

Thanks for your help. I do much better when walking or exercising with 02. I am on 2L. The dr pretty much explained it like you, without it I am working twice hard to feed other organs. My emphysema is getting a little worse from CT I just had & wondered if this might be why I am feeling more short breath. I guess besides doing purse breathing there is really nothing I can do, but I will keep moving forward 😃

If its a sudden worsening, maybe see Dr to check for infection? I had a chest infection but thought Id got worse. x

You may also like...