Need Oxygen? Learn The Differences Between Oxygen Tanks And Oxygen Concentrators

Posted on: 13 August 2015


If you are diagnosed with a breathing type of illness, your doctor may recommend using oxygen. Oxygen is a gas found in your blood, and certain types of illnesses cause the level of oxygen in the blood to be lower than they should be. This leads to trouble breathing, but using oxygen can relieve this problem. There are two main ways you can use oxygen, and you may want to compare the differences in these methods before choosing the right option for your situation.

What Is Oxygen?

Regular air is made up of around 78% nitrogen and 22% oxygen. When you breathe in air, you are breathing in the oxygen, but the amount you breathe in is not enough to make up the difference in your bloodstream. This is why doctors recommend using oxygen machines when people have trouble breathing.

An oxygen machine contains or makes air that has around 95% oxygen, which is a lot higher than the amount found in regular air. Breathing in this high level makes the oxygen level in the blood increase to the correct level, and this is why oxygen machines help people breathe easier.

What Types Of Machines Are There?

There are two main types of machines you can use to get the extra oxygen you need, and these are an oxygen tank and an oxygen concentrator. They both supply around the same level of oxygen, but they do it in very different ways.

The most common type used is an oxygen tank. Oxygen tanks come full of compressed oxygen and will run out, which is why you must always have extra tanks on hand. When they run out, you can exchange them for full tanks, but you must always have a sufficient number of tanks on hand so you do not run out of oxygen. The amount of oxygen in a tank varies, and most tanks have controls that allow you to regulate the amount of oxygen the tank disperses.

An oxygen concentrator is very different, because there is no tank. A concentrator is actually an electrical device that creates oxygen from the air. Once you plug in the device and turn it on, it will pull air from the room it is in, and it will convert this air to oxygen.

A nasal cannula is a device that is commonly used with both types of oxygen devices, and it is made from plastic tubes. The tubes stretch from the device to your nose, and they force the oxygen into your nose as you breathe in.

What Are The Main Differences In These Devices?

If you get the option to choose which device to use, you may want to understand the differences in these options before you decide.

  • Contents – The first and main difference in these options is the amount of oxygen each supplies. With an oxygen tank, you will have a limited amount of oxygen. When the tank runs out, you must get a new tank. With an oxygen concentrator, you will never run out of oxygen, because it can continue converting regular air into medical oxygen.
  • Power supply – An oxygen tank does not use electricity to operate, but an oxygen concentrator does. Because of this, you may need to purchase a battery backup for times when your power goes out, or you must keep an oxygen tank handy for times when there are power outages.

If you are not sure which to choose, talk to your doctor about it. By talking to your doctor, you can find out which option would be better financially for you, and you can learn more about your insurance coverage. Breathing is vital in life, which is why you should get an oxygen device if your doctor recommends one.

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