I have had COPD for 5 years and now have frequent shortness of breath- is it time for oxygen?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

I have had COPD for five years and have began to have shorter breath upon doing the simplist chores.I take Advair 500/50, Spriva, Singular and hand held Albuterol inhaler. When would I need oxygen?

Expert Answers

James Frank is Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the V.A. Medical Center in San Francisco.

It depends on what your oxygen level is, both at rest and when exercising, and it also depends on whether or not you have pulmonary hypertension. You should have your doctor check your oxygen levels while resting and while exercising, and you should also have a physical exam and other testing (like an echocardiogram) to find out if you have pulmonary hypertension.

If you have pulmonary hypertension, you'd benefit from oxygen no matter what your oxygen levels are. Pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure only in the pulmonary circulation system) over time puts a strain on the right side of the heart, which can be very debilitating. So if you do have pulmonary hypertension, you should be on oxygen now.

If you don't have pulmonary hypertension, whether or not you will need oxygen depends on what your oxygen levels are. But if your doctor determines that you need oxygen, you should definitely use it.

Community Answers

Hentdia answered...

that is very good info for i have c.o.p.d and my doctor thinks i am to young at 50 to go through the change of life but i did 3yrs ago,also found out i have osteoporosis and also said i was to young,things that make you say hah!at least my dr.is so i asked her for this test to ck my oxygen levels and now shes listening to me,this test is comeing up soon.I thank you for the info of the pulmonary hypertension test and run that by her to because i dont want anything messing with my heart.ty