What is Blood Oxygen Level: High & Low Chart, Pulse Oximeter, Causes

Ever since the spread of the coronavirus, it is impossible for people to stay at home without working on their blood oxygen levels. The Blood Oxygen Level became the cause for trouble for many of the coronavirus patients because the coronavirus preliminary affected the breathing and the oxygen level of the people. Given below are some important specifications regarding the topic of What is Blood Oxygen Level. We will also share with you all the High & Low Chart, Pulse Oximeter, Causes of low blood oxygen levels. Make sure to read about the precaution causes and the symptoms of low blood oxygen given below to care about your health. 

What is Blood Oxygen Level?

The blood oxygen level is a measure of the oxygen that is in your red blood cells. The red blood cells carry oxygen to the various parts of your body in order to help your body function properly. The body is responsible for regulating the blood oxygen level and maintaining the balance of oxygen saturated blood. It is important to have a healthy blood oxygen level in order to have a properly functioning body. However, with the current increase in the coronavirus pandemic, the individuals are complaining of having low blood oxygen levels because the virus attacks the oxygen in the body. The blood oxygen level is normally good for all individuals but if you are showing symptoms then only the doctors check the level. 

What is Blood Oxygen Level
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Ways To Check Blood Oxygen Level

There are two ways through which individuals can check their blood oxygen level and both of them are explained below:-

  • An arterial blood test also known as the ABG test is a blood test that can measure the oxygen level in your body. The test can detect the level of other gases in your blood and also the pH of your blood. It is very accurate. The blood is drawn from an artery rather than a vein in the ABG test. The blood which is drawn from the arteries is oxygenated and that serves the purpose of the test. However, the test is mildly painful and uncomfortable.
  • Another way through which you can check your oxygen level is through a pulse oximeter which is a non-invasive device. Through this device, light is sent into your capillaries through your finger, toe or earlobe and then through the light, the oxygen level is measured. The reading can be 2% higher or lower using this device. The test is slightly less accurate but it is easy to perform. Few things can alter this test such as dark nail polish or cold room temperature.

How To Use Pulse Oximeters At Home?

You can easily buy your own pulse oximeter which is a small clip available at every Medical Store or from any online store. The pulse oximeter is a small clip that is often put on a finger. You can also use it on your earlobes or toe. The oxygen is measured by the device through the technique of light absorption. This test is really easy and quick and it is not all painful as compared to the ABG test which is done by professionals at a hospital only. However, the test results can be influenced by many factors including dirty fingers, bright lights, nail polish, and poor circulation to the extremities. The test results will be highly accurate if you follow the precautions given at the back of the package of the device.

Normal Blood Oxygen Level

The following is normal, below normal, and above normal blood oxygen level:-

  • A normal ABG oxygen level for healthy lungs falls between 80 and 100 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). If a pulse ox measures your blood oxygen level (SpO2), a normal reading is typically between 95 and 100 per cent. However, in COPD or other lung diseases, these ranges may not apply. 
  • A below-normal blood oxygen level is called hypoxemia. Hypoxemia is often caused for concern. The lower the oxygen level, the more severe the hypoxemia. This can lead to complications in body tissue and organs. Normally, a PaO2 reading below 80 mm Hg or a pulse ox (SpO2) below 95 per cent is considered low. 
  • In most cases, high oxygen levels occur in people who use supplemental oxygen. This can be detected on an ABG.
Blood Oxygen Level

Symptoms Of Low SpO2

Given below are some symptoms of the low blood oxygen level that you can get:-

  • shortness of breath
  • headache
  • restlessness
  • dizziness
  • rapid breathing
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • high blood pressure
  • lack of coordination
  • visual disorders
  • sense of euphoria
  • rapid heartbeat

Causes Of Low Blood Oxygen Level

Given below are some important causes that can result in the low blood oxygen level in an individual:-

  • Presence of not enough oxygen in the air
  • The inability of the lungs to inhale and send oxygen to all cells and tissues
  • The inability of the bloodstream to circulate to the lungs, collect oxygen, and transport it around the body

Medical Conditions Causing Low Blood Oxygen Level

Some medical conditions can also cause low blood oxygen levels and most of them are as follows:

  • asthma
  • heart diseases, including congenital heart disease
  • high altitude
  • anaemia
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD
  • interstitial lung disease
  • emphysema
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS
  • pneumonia
  • obstruction of an artery in the lung, for instance, due to a blood clot
  • pulmonary fibrosis or scarring and damage to the lungs
  • presence of air or gas in the chest that makes the lungs collapse
  • excess fluid in the lungs
  • sleep apnea where breathing is interrupted during sleep
  • certain medications, including some narcotics and painkillers

Situations To See The Doctor Immediately 

There are some situations in which the individual must visit the doctor as soon as possible and some of them are as follows:

  • experience severe and sudden shortness of breath
  • experience shortness of breath when at rest
  • have severe shortness of breath that worsens during exercise or physical activity
  • wake suddenly with shortness of breath or a feeling of choking
  • are at high altitude (above 8,000 feet or 2,400 meters) and experience severe shortness of breath with a cough, rapid heartbeat, and fluid retention.

Precautions For Low Blood Oxygen Level

There are certain precautions that individuals can take if they suffer from low blood oxygen levels every now and then:-

  • Individuals must try quitting smoking.
  • Individuals must also avoid passive smoking in places where others smoke.
  • One must try eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • The individuals must take into consideration the habit of exercising regularly. 
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