Surprisingly enough, oxygen concentrators have been around for less than 50 years. Those who have a breathing problem like sleep apnea couldn't imagine life without one. After all, it's the only way they receive all the oxygen they need. If you're shopping for one, it's essential to select the best oxygen concentrator for those who have sleep apnea.
Definition of an Oxygen Concentrator
An oxygen concentrator is a device prescribed to those who have breathing issues such as chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD) or sleep apnea. It consists of a compressor, circuit boards, and a sieve bed filter. Those who need this particular device have a low pulse oximetry reading. This means that they have a low level of oxygen in their blood. People who have sleep apnea don't receive enough oxygen while they sleep.Initially, a concentrator had to be plugged into an electrical source, but portable versions are now available that allow you to receive oxygen using a battery-operated device. A concentrator differs from an oxygen tank since it uses the air around it, filters it, and then compresses it. Because it doesn't have a set amount of oxygen in it, the oxygen doesn't run out as long as it has access to a power source.
Choosing the Best Oxygen Concentrator
When you're selecting a product that your life – and the quality of it – depends on, you want to select the best oxygen concentrator for you. If you're using it for sleep apnea, a home oxygen concentrator is a preferable option. Certain factors play a role in which one you should choose, though.
Why Choose a Continuous Flow Oxygen Concentrators
Continuous flow oxygen is preferred over a pulse or intermittent flow, despite the lighter and smaller size of an intermittent unit. A continuous flow oxygen concentrator is heavier and has a higher oxygen output. It's more efficient and stable than an intermittent flow device. A home air concentrator offers higher levels of oxygen, so it's the best oxygen concentrator for those with various degrees of sleep apnea. A unit that provides continuous flow has an output of oxygen anywhere between two to 10 liters per minute. Unlike the portable versions, a home oxygen unit plugs into the wall and doesn't require a battery.
Consider the Ease of Use
The ease of use is an important factor, especially if you're not a tech-savvy person. As medical technology advances, medical products such as concentrators have more and more features. With so many settings and features, a device intended to better your life could easily be confusing. If you opt for a unit that has high-tech features and don't use them, you pay for “bells and whistles” that don't serve a purpose. Make sure you compare the features of the device, so you find the best oxygen concentrator for you.
Consider Your Budget
The best oxygen concentrator for you is one that fits your budget. Keep in mind, the oxygen output of the device determines the price, so you don't need to purchase one that has the highest output if you don't need it. You'll want to discuss with your doctor your current and projected oxygen need. The one you choose should accommodate for the fact you might need a higher oxygen output in the future. You also want to take into consideration the output affects how much energy it uses, which will increase your electric bill. All of those unique features that wow you, increase the cost. Therefore, you should only choose features you'll use.
Consider the Size
The size of the unit isn't dependent upon the amount of oxygen you need. Manufacturers aren't held to any standards regarding the size of the concentrator. This means you can find a unit with the same features in various sizes. Make a decision about your concentrator based on a size that fits in your home. If you live in an apartment or anywhere with limited space, opt for a smaller unit. If you need to move the concentrator in different rooms of the house, get a smaller one that you can move easily. They come in different weights, so read the specifications to ensure you find one you're able to move. You'll also want to consider the size of the spaces where you'll have it. If you have it in different rooms, choose the concentrator that fits into the smallest area.
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Most Popular Brands
Numerous brands offer oxygen concentrators nowadays, even ones with all of the unique features. Some of the best-known brands include Respironics, AirSep, Invacare, Inogen, SeQual, and Lifechoice.