Is My Blood Oxygen Level Normal?

How your blood oxygen levels are

The amount of oxygen in your blood is measured by the blood oxygen level. Your body closely regulates your blood oxygen level. Your health depends on maintaining a healthy blood oxygen level.

Most adults and children don’t have to monitor their blood oxygen levels. Many doctors won’t test it unless there are signs such as chest pain or shortness of breath.

People with chronic conditions such as asthma, heart disease, and COPD need to be aware of their blood oxygen levels. This includes heart disease, asthma, COPD, and chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD).

Monitoring your blood oxygen levels can be helpful in these situations to determine whether treatments are effective or need to be adjusted.

Safe, Normal, Low Blood Oxygen Levels: Pulse Oximeter Chart

Continue reading to find out where your blood oxygen level should lie, the symptoms that may be experienced if it is not, and what you can do next.

How to measure your blood oxygen level

Two different methods can measure your blood oxygen level:

Arterial blood gas

A blood test called an arterial blood gas (ABG), is one that measures blood oxygen levels. It measures the oxygen level in your blood. It can also detect other gases and the pH (acid/base) in your blood. Although it is accurate and non-invasive, an ABG can be very useful.

Your doctor will draw blood from an arterial rather than from a vein to measure your ABG. A artery has a pulse, which can be felt unlike veins. Blood drawn from the arteries is oxygenated. Your blood in your veins isn’t.

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Because it is easily felt in comparison to other parts of your body, the artery in your wrist can be used.

Because the wrist is sensitive, a blood draw there will be more painful than one near your elbow. The discomfort is also heightened by the fact that arteries are deeper than veins.

Pulse oximeter

A pulse oximeter (pulse ox) is a noninvasive device that estimates the amount of oxygen in your blood. It works by shining infrared radiation into the capillaries of your finger, toe or earlobe. It then measures the amount of light reflected from the gases.

The SpO2 level is a reading that indicates how saturated your blood is. The error margin for this test is 2 percent. This means that the result may be up to 2 percent higher than or lower than your actual blood level.

Although the accuracy of this test is slightly lower, it’s easy to do for doctors. It is used by doctors to quickly read the results.

The pulse ox may read lower than usual due to things like dark nails or extreme cold. If your reading is unusually low, your doctor might remove any nail polish.

You can do this test yourself, as a pulse ox device is not invasive. Pulse ox devices can be purchased at any health-related store or online. Before you use a home device, talk to your doctor to learn how to interpret the results.

Safe, Normal, Low Blood Oxygen Levels: Pulse Oximeter Chart

Where should your blood oxygen level be

Your oxygen saturation level is a measurement of blood oxygen. It is sometimes called a PaO2 (using a blood gas) and an O2 Sat (SpO2) if you use a pulse ox. These guidelines will help explain what your result may mean to you:

Normal: Normal ABG oxygen levels for healthy lungs are between 80 and 100 millimeters (mm Hg). A normal reading for blood oxygen (SpO2) is between 80 and 100 millimeters.95 and 100 percent.

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These ranges might not be applicable to COPD patients or those with other lung diseases. Your doctor can tell you what is normal for your condition. For example, it isn’t uncommon for people with severe COPD to maintain their pulse ox levels (SpO2) between 88 to 92 percent

Below the normal: Hypoxemia is a condition in which blood oxygen levels are below normal. Hypoxemia can be a serious problem. Hypoxemia is more severe when oxygen levels are lower. This can cause problems in organs and tissue.

A normal reading of PaO 2 below 80 mmHg or a pulse index (SpO2) lower than 95 percent is considered to be low. It is important to understand what normal is for you, especially if your chronic lung condition is severe.

Your doctor will be able to recommend the appropriate oxygen levels for you.

Exceeding the normal: Your oxygen levels can’t go too high if your breathing is natural. High oxygen levels are most common in those who take supplemental oxygen. An ABG can detect this.

What happens to your oxygen level

You may experience symptoms if your blood oxygen levels go beyond the normal range.

This includes:

  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • headache
  • rapid heartbeat

If you continue to have low blood oxygen levels, you may show symptoms of cyanosis. This condition is distinguished by a blue discoloration in your nails, skin, and mucus membranes.

Lung Health Institute | Low Blood Oxygen and How it Affects the Body

Cyanosis should be considered an emergency. You should immediately seek medical attention if you experience symptoms. Cyanosis can lead to respiratory failure, which can be life-threatening. HEALTHLINE NEWSLETTER Take good care of your heart, and it will take good care of you

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How do you adjust your blood oxygen levels

You may need to increase your blood oxygen levels if your blood oxygen level drops too low. This can often be done by administering supplemental oxygen.

Your doctor must give you home supplemental oxygen. To avoid any complications, it is important that you follow the instructions of your doctor on how to use home oxygen. The cost may be covered by your health insurance.

What causes low blood oxygen levels

These conditions can adversely affect your blood oxygen levels:

  • COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • asthma
  • collapsed lung
  • anemia
  • congenital heart defects
  • heart disease
  • pulmonary embolism

These conditions can prevent your lungs from properly inhaling oxygen-containing and exhaling carbon dioxide. Your blood may also be affected by blood disorders or problems with your circulation system, which could prevent your blood from absorbing oxygen and transporting it throughout the body.

All of these conditions or problems can cause a decline in oxygen saturation. Hypoxemia can develop when your oxygen levels drop.

Pulse Oximeters and Oxygen Saturation | Pulmonary Education and Research  Foundation

Smokers may have a high pulse ox reading. Carbon monoxide can build up in the blood from smoking. The difference between oxygen and carbon monoxide is not easily discernible by a pulse oximeter.

An ABG is a great way to determine your blood oxygen levels if you smoke.

The bottom line

The majority of people don’t need regular monitoring of their blood oxygen levels. Low oxygen levels are only checked by people who have health issues. The less invasive pulse-oximetry method can be just as effective as an ABG, even in these cases.

A pulse ox reading, while it has a margin for error, is generally accurate enough. An ABG test can be used if your doctor needs a more exact measurement.

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