Tag Archives: oxygen therapy

Lung Disease and Oxygen

Lung disease attacks our most basic need for living survival…the ability to breathe. Diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Sarcoidosis affect the lungs and the lucky patients, my opinion, are those who desaturate enough to qualify for supplement oxygen.

Following is one of the best explanations I have read explaining what happens in our need for oxygen. Thanks to Mark Magnus answering a patients question on EFFORTS, www.emphysema.net.

“With any and all lung diseases, there are two things we worry about,
monitor and treat as they manifest. First, we are concerned about the
adequacy of ventilation. When lung disease becomes severe enough to
affect ventilation, we want to be prepared to support it if and when
demand exceeds the capacity of the afflicted person. Next, we are
concerned about adequate oxygenation. When that becomes negatively
affected, we must be prepared to support it with appropriate oxygen

Symptoms associated with disturbances in these two functions are for the
most part, the same, with shortness of breath, excess work to breathe
and resultant anxiety all being the most frequent symptoms/complaints.
What separates CRPD from COPD is the treatment approach to the ’causes’
of the symptom set.

In COPD, symptoms are most often the result of poor lung mechanics, that
is, poor movement of air because of obstruction to exhalation.

The lungs have too much air in them and even normal breathing doesn’t
‘dilute’ the air in those over-inflated lungs sufficiently to allow a
return to normal gas levels within them and consequently also in the
blood. So carbon dioxide is increasingly elevated which, until
compensated by the body, stimulates the person to try to breathe more.

Eventually, oxygenation suffers and adds to the degree/severity of
symptoms. Treatment is aimed to improve ventilation and oxygen, as
indicated. That is done by administering oxygen, implementing breathing
techniques to better control breathing and taking various medications by
mouth as well as inhaled to help to better control or reduce symptoms.

CRPD require more in the way of oxygen support, as moving air tends to
be easier, though certainly requires more energy and work. It usually
requires more directly, pharmacological intervention to better control
and resolve the underlying problem. Anti-inflammatory medications like
prednisone are most often a major part of treatment. And, in turn,
symptoms of CRPD most often respond to treatment with anti-inflammatory

Sarcoidosis is one of the CRPD’s that is most readily treated and often
resolves or goes into remission. I’m curious to know how your COPD was
diagnosed AND what your ‘other’ PFT numbers are. Simply removing part
of a lung can mimic several values of PFT’s suggesting COPD.


Mark W. Mangus, Sr., BSRC, RRT, RPFT, FAARC
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Coordinator
Christus Santa Rosa, Medical Center
San Antonio, TX
Responses reflect my positions and opinions alone and do not necessarily
represent the positions or opinions of Christus Santa Rosa Health Care.”

Thank you Mark and EFFORTS!

More later… Sharon O’Hara