British Lung Foundation
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Please can anyone tell me if everyone with COPD has Oxygen as a supplement

My husband is on the line of being at the end of severe and the begining of end stage

but is oxygen levels are always 97 to 98

We have been led to believe that unless you have to go on oxygen then you are fine and i cant understand this as any exercise he does leaves him totally breathless but taking his oxygen level immed after or at rest its fine


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Hi Mojo, no not everyone needs oxygen. Oxygen doesnt help breathlesness, it is only prescribed if the bood oxygen is low and therefore not giving other organs the amount they need. I am on oxygen because I desaturate badly on excercise, but the oxygen brings the level up a lot faster. I doesnt stop me being breathless. (I wish).

Hope this helps.

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Hi Mojo under normal circumstances oxygen is only prescriped if a patients blood oxygen saturation is low, although I believe in some circumstances it can be prescribed if a patient has entered hospice palliative care stage. Speak with your husbands GP about his difficulties to see if something can be done to help improve things for him also check with BLF helpline to see if they can guide you before you see the doctor.

We all do get breathless but if your husband has deconditioned the breathlessness and everything else can get worse, if this is the case he may benefit from attending a pulmonary rehabilitation course. Your husbands GP can refer him for this course.

Either way it will help you I feel to talk things through with your husbands GP. If you can both attend together that will be great in case your husband becomes too breathless or tired to communicate to the doc.

All good wishes Zoee

End stage. Now there is a word. If only that from that point of view I am at end stage, being I am at the very severe stage. However, my fev1 at the moment is around 25%. Sometimes a bit better, sometimes a bit lower. But and this is the rub, if I carry on doing the right things, and providing an exacerabation does not get me, I could go along for many years yet. End stage in my mind is starting to be reached once you get to below 16% lung function, but then again you could go on for a few years even then. On the oxygen your husbands sats are very good, so his problem could be carbon dioxide retention. And giving him oxygen would make this worse. Breathlessness is not all to do with oxygen, or lack of. Some with very low sats do not even get breathless, amazing because i do get very out of breathe at times. I use oxygen for walking and exercise, anything that does not involve me sitting, and even use it to get dressed. But I still get breathless. Because I still produce co2, and my body makes me pant to get rid of it. Ok it is a bit more complicated than this, but you get the idea. The good news for both your husband and you is, he could live for very many years yet, although like me he will get worse year on, and need more help along the way. I would speak to your GP, or best of all, your husbands respiratory nurse, or telephone the BLF helpline about any concerns:-)

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Hope not. I have a FEV1 of just 15%.


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Thank you everyone thats left a comment all of them are positive and i will speak to the GP I wish you all well x

Hi All, My Fev1 is 13% and my condition is very severe and I do get very breathless, my oxi is 'on-demand' and the Brompton has recommended that I use 4L to exercise as I would get more benefit from from the exercise. But, no one has mentioned 'end stage' I look well and generally feel okay, obviously I get tired as we all do, but I am far from finished. If you exercise, eat well and stay positive anything is possible. Good luck

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