How do you handle shortness of breath (dyspnea)?

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How do you handle shortness of breath (dyspnea)?


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@KathyA‍, please read what I wrote above on using oxygen. I am so, so, thrilled to have portable oxygen that gave me more of my life back. I was told in 2011 when I lived in San Miguel de Allende at 6,400 ft altitude that I needed to go on oxygen, but all I saw around town was one woman with the heavy metal canisters in a cart behind her, and that looked terrible. I moved back to near sea level and put off needing oxygen all day for another seven years, just a Bipap at night.

Finally I was huffing and having to stop every few feet even near sea level, but I still didn't want to be lugging a heavy canister behind me. I ran into an old friend who was always really active, ballroom dancing, hiking, fly fishing in rivers. And there she was with an Inogen in a backpack, doing everything she'd always done!

She showed me all about hers and the total package with machine, extra 8-hour battery, two battery chargers for house and car, carrying case, and extended warranty, was around $3,300!

Finally I saved enough for it and have loved it every minute since. I started on 2 for almost a year but had to go to 3 for every day. I switch to 4 liters a minute several times a day when I still get winded bad, and have gone up to 5 for stair climbing. I worry that I will need to go higher than 5 eventually, but I hope by then there will be sronger machines developed that go higher, though then the $500 batteries only last a few hours before needing recharging, instead of 6-8.

The portable ones now are breath-operated--you have to be breathing into the nose cannula for them to work. And my BiPap at night requires continuous flow, which the big oxygen machine Medicare covers provides, so I need both machines. Some day they may all be continuous flow and still portable.

There are cheaper, refurbished units available from the Inogen factory, too. After 1 1/2 years mine started sending strange messages and I called the factory and they sent a new one out the next day! I sent them the old one back no charge. So I am pleased with service, too.

Hope this helps you accept your machine. I am so, so happy I got mine and wish Medicare paid for everyone who needed one.(I understand in a few cases they will pay for one now, but not my particular Cigna Medicare Advantage plan.)

I bet when you go to your reunion you won't be the only one on oxygen! And everyone will be so old! The ones who are already dead and not there are the ones to think about--how many of them had COPD? Fourth leading cause of death in the US before Covid, so now we're fifth. Be glad for all the help you can get! I hope  you have a wonderful reunion!

How do you handle shortness of breath (dyspnea)?


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Thank you so very much Carol.

How do you handle shortness of breath (dyspnea)?


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@KathyA Haven't been in public toting around a tank or such (yet) but when someone sees me in an SOB situation I tell them my lungs got toasted fighting a forest fire.  True story but it's only part of what made my COPD.  Using a bit of imagination there is a great reason you carry around some extra O .   

How do you handle shortness of breath (dyspnea)?


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@wymzark you are so funny! Maybe you can come up with jaw-dropping, sympathy-inducing stories for all of us to tell those who question us.

How do you handle shortness of breath (dyspnea)?


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I hope it's not too late to comment, but I remember in one of the first training/information sessions I did for COPD management always talked about pursed-lip breathing. You breathe in with your mouth closed and then breathe out like you're blowing out a candle. I think it's pretty intuitive and we tend to do it on our own naturally, but when you do it by counting slowly it really helps me. :)

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