Frequently Asked Questions About Home Medical Products

What is oxygen?

Oxygen is a colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that is necessary to sustain life. Oxygen is present in the atmosphere and supports normal lung function.  When a chronic health condition affects the ability of the body to receive and utilize oxygen supplemental oxygen therapy may be required.  Oxygen therapy puts more oxygen in your blood to support vital organ function and metabolism.  Oxygen therapy is only available by prescription.

How do I use home oxygen?

Home oxygen is delivered from your oxygen concentrator or a tank through a plastic tube called a cannula that is placed in your nose.  As you inhale the oxygen delivered through the cannula is delivered to the lungs.  If a cannula does not work for you, your physician may order a mask for oxygen use.

How can I get home oxygen?

Home oxygen is a prescribed drug and must be ordered by a physician.

How will I know I need oxygen?

Your need for oxygen can only be determined by a blood test or oximetry test.  You should discuss any symptoms such as difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, fatigue or memory loss with your physician.  Symptoms alone do not necessarily indicate a need for oxygen, but with appropriate test results the symptoms and test values will help your doctor make that decision.

Can I become addicted to oxygen?

Oxygen is not addictive.  In fact, your body needs oxygen to sustain life.  If your lungs improve you may not need to continue supplemental oxygen.  The decision to continue or discontinue the use of oxygen will be determined by your physician.

What causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

OSA is a condition in which the soft tissue in the upper airway at the base of the tongue relaxes during sleep causing an obstruction to breathing.  The tissue in this area does not have any rigid structure such as cartilage or bone to support the airway during sleep.  The frequency and degree of obstruction is determined in a sleep study.  Some signs of OSA include: daytime sleepiness, fatigue, morning headaches, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, snoring, night sweats,  restlessness during sleep or sexual dysfunction.  You should discuss any sign and symptoms you may be having with your physician.

What is the treatment for OSA?

OSA is treated with Positive Airway Pressure therapy known as CPAP.  A machine (blower) pushes air through a mask and into your airway.  This acts as a pressure splint that keeps the soft tissue in the airway supported.  This form of therapy keeps the airway open and allows for uninterrupted breathing.

What happens during an OSA episode?

During an OSA episode, the sleeping brain senses there is a problem with breathing and awakens slightly making the individual momentarily more alert and therefore better able to breathe before falling back to sleep.  Sleep is continuously interrupted like this through the night.  You may not remember these momentary lapses but they prevent a restful and relaxing night of sleep.  This causes excessive daytime fatigue.

How do they determine if I truly have OSA?

The symptoms and effects of OSA are easily recognized, but because of the nature of OSA, you may not be aware of the problem.  A bed partner or family member is usually best able to detect snoring or interrupted sleep as well as personality changes and daytime sleepiness.  If OSA is suspected , you should speak with your physician.  After an examination, your physician can prescribe a test called a sleep study.  This is performed in a sleep laboratory while sleeping.  Through simultaneous measuring and recording of a number of body functions, the physician can put together a complete picture of how the problem occurs in each case.

Is OSA life threatening?

Over time OSA can cause other medical conditions to become worse and has been linked to high blood pressure, stroke, congestive heart failure, COPD, diabetes and increased traffic accidents.

What diseases and conditions are associated with sleep apnea?

The list of associated diseases continues to grow.  The following list contains examples of some of the most common conditions associated with sleep apnea:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Daytime Sleepiness (Falling asleep at work, on the phone, watching TV, while driving)
  • Depression
  • Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
  • Gastric Esophageal Reflux Disease
  • Heart Attack
  • Hypertension
  • Impotence

Who gets OSA?

According to the most recent statistics from the  National Institute of Health (NIH), sleep apnea is a disorder that affects more than 38 million people in the Unites States.  This represents about 1 in every 5 individuals that have some degree of sleep disordered breathing problem.  The degree of sleep apnea in individuals is represented by 60% having mild sleep apnea, 25% having moderate sleep apnea and 15% having severe sleep apnea.    It is just as prevalent as asthma or diabetes, although not as widely discussed.  The National Health Institute estimates that 2 percent of women and 4 percent of men over the age of 35 have sleep apnea with associated daytime sleepiness.

What is a Nebulizer treatment?

A nebulizer is a small compressors that when used in combination with a delivery circuit will create a fine mist that is inhaled into the lungs.  Nebulized medication is a common treatment for respiratory disorders including Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis or COPD.  This form of medication delivery will deliver the prescribed medication directly to the lungs where it can be effectively absorbed.    Nebulizer therapy is often referred to as a breathing treatment.  Nebulizer therapy is somewhat different from using an inhaler even though both have the same purposes.  medicine to your lungs, but the delivery method can be tailored to the individual’s need.

What is different about an inhaler and a Nebulizer?

Inhalers are small canister type devices that contain medication in a specific dose as well as a substance to propel the medication out of the device.  Inhalers generally deliver medication in one or two inhalations.  There are also dry powder inhalers available,  these are generally disk shaped devices that contain a powder form of  medication in a sealed foil pack or capsule.  The dry powder inhaler has an activation device that will open the sealed medication and as you inhale the dry powder medication is delivered to your lungs.  The powder is then absorbed through the airway  Proper technique is the most important consideration in using an inhaler.  While inhalers require some degree of coordination, a nebulizer can provide medication at a steady rate as you inhale at your own pace.  Both are effective means of delivering prescribed medication.

How much will my medical equipment cost me?

There is a variety of equipment that an individual may need.  The type of equipment needed and the type of insurance you have will determine your monthly payment.  Premier will work to supply you with the most economical system to meet your needs.  We will gladly estimate any co-pay and inform you of  your estimated cost prior to delivering the equipment needed.

How do I contact you?

You can call our toll free number (888) 238-8794 or click here for a Premier Home Care location near you!