There are many age-related changes in the pulmonary, immune, and respiratory systems. These changes include reduced lung volume, weakened cough strength, and more susceptibility to infections.
A Clinical Interventions in Aging study showed that chronic lower respiratory tract disease is the third primary cause of death in individuals aged 65 years and older.
The decline in respiratory health can increase the risks of rare lung-related conditions like mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is rare cancer that usually affects the lungs and is typically caused by asbestos exposure. The incidence rate of this condition is higher in older adults.
Mesothelioma symptoms vary depending on the condition’s progress. For example, this mesothelioma stages guide lists difficulty in breathing as an early symptom.
Suppose your senior loved one has a respiratory-related condition like mesothelioma. In that case, a portable oxygen monitor may help them manage their symptoms.
Other age-related changes in the lungs include:
- Peak airflow (how fast one can exhale) and oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange rates decline
- Weakening respiratory muscles
- Decreases in lung function measures like vital capacity or the maximum amount of air that people can breathe out after a full inhalation
- The lungs’ natural immunity is less effective
A portable oxygen monitor is a small device you can attach to your finger. This tool can monitor your heart rate and the amount of oxygen in your blood.
How can a portable oxygen monitor help older adults with respiratory illnesses? What is a portable oxygen monitor?
This article discusses the use and value of portable oxygen monitors for older adults with respiratory conditions.
The Benefits of a Portable Oxygen Monitor for Older Individuals With Respiratory Conditions
If you know an older adult or an individual at high risk for respiratory illnesses like coronavirus, a portable oxygen monitor or oximeter can help them monitor their oxygen levels.
Depending on a person’s health, oxygen saturation levels can vary greatly, but older individuals often have lower oxygen saturation levels.
The blood should have an oxygen level between 95% and 100%. However, hospitalized individuals due to coronavirus have oxygen saturation levels of 70% to 80%.
With an oxygen monitor, patients more susceptible to respiratory conditions like the coronavirus can be admitted to the hospital sooner and before their oxygen levels fall dangerously low.
A portable oxygen monitor is often helpful for individuals with illnesses that reduce oxygen saturation. For example, a sleep specialist can advise people with severe snoring or sleep apnea to use a pulse oximeter for monitoring oxygen saturation throughout the night.
At the same time, some medical professionals can suggest wearing an oximeter while exercising or using one to determine whether physical activity is safe for patients with respiratory conditions.
Moreover, some hospitals use pulse oximeters for vulnerable patients. For example, they might attach a pulse oximeter to an infant in a neonatal critical care unit to notify the medical staff of low oxygen saturation.
Furthermore, your doctor can use an oxygen monitor as a stress test.
Typically, you use a portable oxygen monitor by inserting your finger into the gadget. After a few seconds, the device will give you a complete measurement of your oxygen levels.
These smart gadgets assess blood oxygen levels using light.
A sensor analyzes the amounts of light wavelengths absorbed by hemoglobin with and without oxygen.
Then, a LED (light-emitting diode) sends the light waves from one side of the finger to the photodetector sensor on the other side of the finger.
The amount of oxygen in the blood affects how much light is absorbed.
Blood Oxygen Levels
“Blood oxygen level” means the amount of oxygen in your blood.
Low blood oxygen levels could indicate a lung or circulatory problem.
Portable oxygen monitors cannot diagnose conditions like coronavirus disease. Still, this device can help older individuals track their overall well-being and identify potential symptoms.
Here’s a list of things you can consider that may help you identify if your senior loved one is showing symptoms of a respiratory condition:
- Your loved one is shaking or shivering.
- If you use an oxygen monitor, your loved one’s blood oxygen level is 94% or 93% or continues to decline than their typical reading where their normal oxygen saturation is below 95%.
- Your loved one is feeling breathless or having difficulty breathing, especially when moving or standing up.
- Your loved one experiences severe muscle aches or tiredness.
You might have read or heard about oxygen monitors and how medical professionals use them to keep an eye on the well-being of people with coronavirus disease.
But hospitals typically use oxygen monitors to spot early signs of respiratory conditions.
Suppose you don’t have a portable oxygen monitor. In that case, you should order from providers that can deliver the device in a few weeks or months.
You may also ask a friend to lend you the device or request your doctor to check your senior loved one’s oxygen levels.
1. The aging lung
Stanley Clark is a community development volunteer and writer. He had worked on several commercials, events, and campaigns before writing full-time in the area of natural health and wellness. He has a particular interest in reviewing CBD brands for their safety and legitimacy.