British Lung Foundation
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I Need a Suggestion as to Whether I should Use Oxygen Again?

I am almost 68 and have COPD. Quit smoking 6 months ago. Had an exacerbation in October then last one February 1st.

I have been eating lots of salads, fruits, vegetables, vitamins, minerals, supplements since beginning of February when I was admitted to hospital because of an "exacerbation." Did pulmonary rehab since December to April, then still continue with 1-hr day strength and fitness and stretching exercises at home.

Was on oxygen for 10 weeks after hospital. Off oxygen last 6 weeks but short of breath again. I weaned myself off most meds. I still take Singulair and Advair 500/50 twice daily and Budesonide mixed with Brovana twice a day. (I weaned myself because I got a Medical Card, here in the States, to purchase Cannabis and make into an oil and suppositories for my COPD but have not had the money purchase the ingredients do this as yet).

Last few days have had troubles breathing. I use a pulse oximeter to check constantly. These last few days occasionally it will drop to 88 for a second. What is happening now? Could it be because I was at a casino around smoke Tuesday?

I have emergency antibiotics at home but do not think that is what is needed. My sputum is clear. Some cough.

Should I start back on oxygen and did my breathing get bad again from 2 hours at casino? (Or is this common occurrence?)

My pulmonologist and Primary care doctors are not much help and I am limited as to the doctors I have in this area, so am looking for suggestions.

10 Replies

What medication are you supposed to take, do you mean you've reduced it. If you have that could be your problem. As for the oxygen it has to be prescribed here in the UK its another prescription, but 88 is low so I would speak to your doctor. I'm afraid I don't know about Cannabis oil so I can't comment.

Kim x


First of all the sensible thing to do is keep away from a smoky atmosphere, which is obviously causing the problem! My advice is go to your surgery . Can't comment on the cannabis for I believe it is not allowed here.


Are you only SOB while up and moving around? It's up to you to decide to use the oxygen or not. I will say that it's best to not become dependant on oxygen or any other medication. It probably was being around the smoke and yes it can cause that much trouble.


Thank you! I am mostly SOB after minor moving around. And, yes, I know it is up to me to decide to use the oxygen (and I do not have to worry about getting any prescription for it because I OWN all my oxygen tanks and the concentrator plus an Inogen I bought because the company went out of business and it all became mine!)

And, I would agree it is not good to become dependent on any medication or oxygen (one reason I am wanting to get off all and try the Cannabis Oil only) but research I've done, shows you cannot get dependent on oxygen? All I can say is, if oxygen made you dependent on using it all the time, I would NOT have been able to get off it 6 weeks ago then, right?

And, I remember a few people smoking at the casino near me where it bothered me so much, I tried to cover my nose and mouth or got up and went to a different area and machine.....(I actually felt my lungs burning!)....So the other times at the casino when this didn't happen, I just "lucked" out, I guess?


i did read that you can NOT become dependent on oxygen and because our body needs oxygen to heal if it was me, i would give my body all the oxygen it needs until it doesn't need it as much. this is my opinion, hope it helps...


I am thinking the same thing! Thanks for the reply!


I believe that you can become dependant on anything whether it be psychological or physical or a combination. It's good you own your equipment. Compromised lungs react differently than heathy lungs. Damage to the lungs does not repair. Two leading causes of death to people who have lung disease is respiratory failure or heart failure. Compromised lungs make the heart vulnerable to both right side heart failure and left sided heart failure. Typically doctor become complacent and blame current problems on primary illness when it may be due to something new like heart issues. You are 68, have COPD, do you have high cholesterol, triglycerides? You might have coronary artery disease. Perhaps the heart muscle itself is not getting enough oxygen and causing the shortness of breath. From my nursing career to my own health I can honestly say the biggest problem is generally once a major diagnosis is made doctors don't want to look further. Truthfully a problem with your heart or lungs will cause SOB. My mom had COPD and her primary cause of death was left side heart failure, secondary was respiratory failure. I have strong family history on both sides of heart disease and respiratory disease and everyone's battle is different. I've been prescribed oxygen for 3 years now for use when ever I get up and do anything walk to bathroom, do dishes, garden, shop, and so on until recently I wasn't using it at all I learned what pace to walk at to keep my O2 sat at 90 or above. I have chronic thoracic pain and have had increased chest pain I think it's my heart my pulmonologist thinks it's my heart but my pcp wasn't going to do anything but the pulmonologist has referred me to a cardiologist. In the last two year I lost an older brother and my younger sister to massive heart attack so for me having a change and needing the oxygen after being told my lung disease is stable with very little change I am going to have my heart evaluated. I wish you the best of luck I really do. I'm 49 years young and I'm gonna continue to fight as long as I can. May you find the answers you need.


Thank you for your reply.

You are so young to have these problems but I can see where it would concern you with the heart disease in your family. I hope all goes good for you when you go for heart evaluation....but then you will have to figure out why the need for oxygen if the lungs are stable? Maybe they mean the lungs are just not further damaged even though you need oxygen?

And, I agree that doctors do not look further once a primary diagnosis has been made. (You have to be your own advocate).

I always have had a good heart but know that could change, so I have been taking my blood pressure at home any time I feel SOB.

My tests have always shown that I do not have high cholesterol or bad triglycerides, so I don't worry about that.

I am now believing it was the smoke in the casino that gave me SOB and just would like to know how long until I am not SOB any longer from being exposed?


No telling how long. I have been my best advocate. I started getting sick when I was 42 I had SOB and tachycardia. So I went to a cardiologist cause I also had high cholesterol and triglycerides had all the test and it turned out to be my lungs. I had and open lung biopsy in August of 2010 and found out I have Usual Interstitial pneumonia a form of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis diagnosed by the Mayo clinic. I turned 43 9/3/2010 and 9/18/2010 was given my diagnosis. I have battled to not be treated like I have COPD. Since diagnosis I've had pneumonia once, bronchitis twice, and from basically October to April I wear a mask to keep out as much illness as I can. I avoid shopping when it's busy at the stores, and I quit smoking. I was prior to my diagnosis a registered nurse in a rehab facility. I took care of people with many issues but I never expected to have these issues. My diagnosis actually disabled me. I am fighting to stay on this earth for my family because they need me. I have to help raise my nephew my sisters son he will be 9 in July. Losing my sister they way I did totally changed me. I was living entirely in the moment and never planned for tomorrow. Now I plan for summers with my nephew and grandchildren. The newest development of the increased SOB and chest pain has been when ever I exert myself at first I thought oh my lungs must be getting worse but the pulmonologist said no they aren't. I walk 50 feet and my oxygen saturation drops to 84% and if I'm not using the oxygen I've gone as low as 73% talk about SOB. With the oxygen on 2 liters I still drop to 86%(doing laundry ) until I sit. I turned up to 3 liters I stay at 90% while actively walking. I will fight as long as I can. I pray I live to the rightful old age of 80 plus...


I am so sorry for your issues. My goodness. You have a lot on your plate right now and fighting helps to beat things. I am not familiar with that form of pulmonary fibrosis....I only know of COPD. But I see where people can be young and get that?


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