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How Effective is Oxygen for Emphysema?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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The overall effectiveness of oxygen for emphysema will depend heavily on the severity of the condition and the health of the patient. Those with other lung conditions, such as asthma, may require more treatment and have less favorable results than those without additional problems. The age of the patient also plays a major role, as the younger the patient is the more likely oxygen therapy will be beneficial. In most cases, oxygen therapy is an effective treatment method for those with beginning and end stages of the disease, and is often able to extend the patient’s life by several years.

Many factors come into play in the effectiveness of using oxygen for emphysema. For instance, since emphysema is caused primarily by smoking cigarettes or cigars or by being continuously exposed to secondhand smoke over many years, the continuation of these habits can have a dramatic impact on the effectiveness of therapies used. Those who stop smoking altogether usually allow their lungs to at least partially heal themselves, so oxygen may be more beneficial. Patients who continue smoking often experience fewer benefits, and oxygen may not extend life expectancy.

The type of oxygen used for emphysema may also have an impact on how effective treatment will be. Those with severe or progressed forms of the condition often require continuous oxygen, up to 15 hours per day. Using less than this wouldn’t give the same beneficial results. Less severe forms may only require occasional oxygen use.

Whether or not the patient is using other medications, is bedridden, is elderly, or has other health conditions not related to the lungs will also affect the results in using oxygen for emphysema. Heart conditions are common among those with lung problems, primarily because the habits which cause lung diseases also result in heart disease. This can complicate treatment further, although a shortened life expectancy may be as a result of the other condition rather than being directly related to the emphysema.

Overall, oxygen for emphysema is often more effective than other methods of treatment, although the success rate varies widely depending on the individual patient. It often works best when combined with other known therapies, although this will vary. Only a doctor can give a real prognosis for each person and determine the best course of treatment.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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