Some bronchiectasis patients may suffer from hypoxemia which is when the oxygen level in the blood falls below 90 percent and causes shortness of breath, fatigue and potentially life-threatening damage to the heart and brain.
In these cases, bronchiectasis patients may be prescribed oxygen therapy, where they have additional oxygen delivered to the bloodstream by either inserting a tube into the nostrils or wearing a face mask attached to an oxygen tank. In extreme cases, the oxygen can be delivered via a tube in the windpipe.
Patients can either use an oxygen concentrator at home or have a smaller portable oxygen machine they can take out and about with them to give them more independence. There are very few side effects associated with oxygen therapy but some report headaches in the morning, a dry or bloody nose from inserting the tube, and fatigue. Find out more about oxygen therapy here.
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