Diseases affecting the lungs, such as sarcoidosis, impair a person’s ability to breathe well, lowering oxygen intake. Resulting low blood-oxygen levels often leads to a condition called hypoxemia. While not deadly, its symptoms are life-affecting, and include shortness of breath, headaches, and fatigue.

Oxygen therapy uses compressed oxygen, a canister of liquid oxygen, or an oxygen concentrator pump to push extra oxygen directly into a patient’s lungs. The extra oxygen can be delivered through prongs placed on a patient’s nostrils, a face mask, or a breathing tube inserted into the airways.

Oxygen therapy for sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disorder that affects the entire body. It results in clusters of inflammatory cells, called granulomas, forming in various organs and tissues. Although these clusters can go away on their own, they can also remain and pose a long-term risk of organ damage. The lungs are the organs most often affected by sarcoidosis, with damage marked by reduced lung function and breathing difficulties.

Oxygen therapy may be a part of a treatment plan for people with sarcoidosis-caused lung damage. Supplied oxygen can help patients maintain proper heart and lung function, allowing them to feel better and more energetic, and more able to keep an active and healthy lifestyle.

Oxygen therapy is not a cure for sarcoidosis, but when used appropriately, it is a safe and effective treatment that can help manage disease symptoms and prevent further organ damage.

Side effects of oxygen therapy

The side effects of oxygen therapy can be uncomfortable.

Long-term oxygen therapy can dry the airways, leading to irritation and low-level inflammation. This can be treated with medications such as saline solutions and gels that moisturize the airways.

Supplied oxygen can also slow a person’s breathing rate, which in turn can cause a higher dose of oxygen to be needed. Patients should always consult with a doctor before changing the level, or dose, of oxygen therapy given.

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