There comes a time in many of our lives where doctors tell us that we need to make changes to our lifestyle.
The reasons may be different, but many reactions are the same.
What does this mean? What do I do? How do I do this?
At the time of being told that you will need to make changes, you may feel confused or frustrated.
But there is no need to feel that way, as we age, our bodies age with us and often will require us to make changes to our lifestyle to adjust.
Our bodies age with us, our bones become more fragile, and our lungs may not work how they once did.
But it is more that just or bones and lungs, our bodies slowly become weaker as we age, we no longer are able to do things we once did.
Sometimes we develop diseases, conditions or illnesses that change our health permanently.
When your doctor says some changes need to be made, don’t look at it that you weren’t taking care of yourself, look at it as your body is growing older with you.
Now there are some instances where you had control of your body, for example: by smoking you put yourself at risk for many respiratory diseases and by tanning multiple days a week you put yourself at risk for cancer.
It is important not to feel disappointed or upset, the key is to look at it is the next phase of life.
If your health is in decline (from a disease, condition or illness) it is important to treat the illness or do what you can to ease any symptoms you may have if it is not treatable.
Your doctor is a great resource for this change in life, so turn to them with questions and concerns you may have.
What to Ask the Doctor
You may not know what to say when you are told you will need to make some changes for your health.
Some questions you should ask are:
What do I need to do?
Is this something I can reverse?
How long do I need to use it? (if you are being prescribed medication or a medical device)
What will this change for me?
Will my insurance cover it?
Where do I purchase from?
Asking these questions to your doctor should give you insight on what the future may look like and give you an idea of how much change you will need to make.
You may need a wheelchair for the rest of your life, and you will need to ask questions about how to use it, how you will get around, etc.
If you are told you need supplemental oxygen, you will have questions about oxygen tanks, or a portable oxygen concentrator, where to buy from, how it will change your daily life, etc.
You and your doctor should discuss the options for your health and see what will work best with your current lifestyle.
If you need a portable oxygen concentrator, your doctor will explain why you need one, what your liter per minute should be, how to use the machine and when you need to use it.
You may only need supplemental oxygen at night, so your doctor may only suggest a home unit versus a portable unit.
Changes with a POC
So, your doctor felt you would benefit from supplemental oxygen and suggested that you purchase a portable oxygen concentrator.
But what next? You have never had a portable oxygen concentrator before, so what do you do? What is the cost? Who do you buy from?
Here is an article to help you with the process of purchasing a portable oxygen concentrator.
Many who are put on oxygen and get a POC have a positive experience, as they are able to breathe better and be active when they felt they couldn’t previously.
POC’s are smaller than oxygen tanks and are easy to carry around (many having carrying cases and carts to help move around) making it more enjoyable to be out and about.
If a POC is new to you, there will be some time where you are still adjusting and learning how to use your machine and get around, but eventually it will be easy.
Portable oxygen concentrators run on battery, so you will need to learn how long you machine will go before it needs to be charged again.
Often the doctor or the company you purchased the unit from will tell you the common battery life for the specific POC.
You are able to purchase additional batteries, so you can switch them out instead of recharging the same battery.
For flights, you will need the flight time and a half worth of battery life in order to be cleared to fly (if you need oxygen 24/7).
This means if your flight is 3 hours, you will need 4.5 hours worth of battery life.
3 x .5 = 1.5 3 (full flight) + 1.5 (half flight)= 4.5 hours total
Another lifestyle change with a POC is your exercise, you may exercise a lot now, or none at all, but it will most likely be different with a POC.
If you exercise a lot now, you may have to reconfigure your exercise routine to include a POC.
Or if you do not exercise now, you may need to in order to prevent your lung health from declining any further.
Other Health Changes
So you may not need oxygen, but your doctor still wants you to make some changes in your life.
You may be told you need to eat better to prevent high cholesterol or you may need to use a walker to help your legs.
This can seem like a dramatic change, but it will be beneficial to your health and ease any symptoms you may have.
Discuss with your doctor the importance of a change, what else you can do to help out, or other ways you can make the change.
You and your doctor should be able to figure out a plan that can help you stick to the changes you need to make.
Life changes, we change, and sometimes that can be a very difficult thing to deal with.
By understanding that our bodies age, it is easier to deal with a medical change in your life.
Your doctor will help you make a plan to improve your lifestyle and health and they can help you feel confident in the decisions made.
By requiring oxygen, a wheelchair or a cane, you will be able to continue with your lifestyle versus letting a disease, condition, illness or age get you down.
If you feel your lifestyle changes are dramatic and you may not be able to deal with it, speak with your doctor about it.