Oxygen therapy can prevent low oxygen levels in the blood, according to National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Individuals afflicted with conditions that may present low oxygen levels, such as pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), often require oxygen therapy, which can be done at a patient's home or in a medical facility.
A patient can receive extra oxygen by connecting the tube of an oxygen tank to a nasal cannula or a face mask. An oxygen tank may also be attached to a tube that goes through a small incision in the neck directly to the windpipe; this is called transtracheal oxygen therapy.
Before a patient can undergo oxygen therapy, the doctor needs to determine his blood oxygen level through a pulse oximetry test and an arterial blood gas test, notes National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. A low level means that oxygen therapy is needed. For some people with COPD, long-term oxygen therapy is needed to prolong life and improve the quality of living.
Oxygen therapy is shown to help patients prevent shortness of breath, relieve sleep-related breathing disorders and improve sleep.