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Blood Oxygen Level: What It Is & How to Increase It

The term “blood oxygen level” can be defined as a special procedure that is used to determine the amount of oxygen present in the bloodstream. It is also defined as an indicator that shows how oxygen is transported to the body tissues effectively with the aid of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin

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Do you know that one of the most important vital signs that you need to check regularly is the oxygen saturation level? This energy activator not only replaces your worn-out tissues but also helps you determine the amount of oxygen in the body. In fact, it lets us know that about 95% – if not all – of our blood transports oxygen to every part of our bodies.

Therefore, as we breathe in and out, oxygenated hemoglobin travels from the lungs to our body's cells, generating energy by burning oxygen as fuel. In a normal condition, this energy production mechanism occurs without any alteration or reduction. However, as a person grows older and their blood vessels shrink, they develop respiratory problems that necessitate an increase in blood oxygen levels.

So, if you are having respiratory problems or wondering how to increase your blood oxygen levels, remember that OMRON Healthcare has you covered. Our services and support are beyond measure, and with them, you stand the chance to overcome every challenge or obstacle that may arise.

Stay tuned! We journey together to unveil what blood oxygen levels mean and how to measure and regulate them when they are high or low.

What Is the Blood Oxygen Level?

The term “blood oxygen level” can be defined as a special procedure that is used to determine the amount of oxygen present in the bloodstream. It is also defined as an indicator that shows how oxygen is transported to the body tissues effectively with the aid of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin. Apart from that, it is often regarded as an oxygen saturation level by medical experts because it's a vital sign that determines oxygen pressure.

On most occasions, the blood oxygen level usually serves as a method for calculating the percentage of oxidized hemoglobin to total hemoglobin in the blood. While taking this measurement, most practitioners usually express it as peripheral capillary oxygen saturation (i.e., SpO2). However, how can we measure our blood oxygen level?

How to Measure Blood Oxygen Level?

Monitoring your blood oxygen level regularly is very important for your health, especially if you are having respiratory issues. To do this and save yourself from any respiratory complications, you can visit your doctor and have any of the two tests listed below performed:

  1. Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) Test

An ABG test is a comprehensive diagnosis that you can use to measure your blood oxygen level with the help of a medical professional. It can also be used to determine the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen present in your circulatory system. Another additional benefit of this test is that you can also check the acidity or alkalinity of your blood.

  1. Pulse Oximetry

To save the stress of always visiting a healthcare provider, an easy approach for measuring SpO2 levels has been developed. This technical method uses an advanced oxygen saturation test device known as a pulse oximeter. It often works like a small clip that you can just place at the distal end of your toe or finger. Besides measuring your blood O2 percentage, it can also help you keep tabs on your heart rate.

Hence, an oximeter is a good device that you can get for personal use! So if you want to get any, you can visit our website to purchase a reliable one today.

Why Is a Blood Oxygen Level Test Important?

Apart from checking your SpO2 level to measure your blood oxygenation rate, there are also many other reasons this test is special. These are:

  1. Optimal cellular function: Checking your O2 level regularly will help you know the functionality of your organs and tissues.

  2. Keeps your brain intact: O2 level fluctuations in the brain can cause severe neural damage. Therefore, monitoring your blood oxygen level can help you prevent any cranial complications, such as fainting or loss of consciousness.

  3. Prevent respiratory issues: Taking oxygen level tests can also help you identify and prevent potential respiratory disorders like asthma or COPD before they occur.  

  4. Monitor Heart Rate: Using blood oxygen tests, such as pulse oximeters, can also help you track the function of your heart and circulatory system.

What's the Normal Blood Oxygen Level (SpO2) Range?

Knowing your blood oxygen level is similar to learning how well your lungs take in oxygen and how well your body regulates them. However, how do you know if your oxygen saturation is normal, low, or even high when you carry out the test? To know whether your SpO2 level is normal, there is a standard range within which it needs to be.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a normal blood oxygen level for both adults and children must fall within the range of 95–100%. Therefore, if your at-home readings are falling above or below this range, you should consult a doctor. This is because you are susceptible to having either hypoxemia or hyperoxemia.

What Are the Abnormal Blood Oxygen Levels Measurements?

As stated above, we can see that a healthy human being must have a standard oxygen saturation reading. But in a case where we have a value lower or higher than that, it's said to be either hypoxemia or hyperoxemia, respectively. Let’s take a brief look at these two kinds of abnormal blood oxygen levels.

Low Blood Oxygen Level (Hypoxemia)

When we have a pulse oximeter reading that is lower than normal blood oxygen, the individual’s oxygen saturation level is said to be low-hypoxic. However, having this type of abnormal blood oxygen level is often considered the most critical condition because oxygen means a lot to life. So, the lower your oxygen saturation level, the higher your chances of developing tissue or organ complications.

Furthermore, research has shown that sometimes oximeters may not be completely accurate while measuring hypoxemia severity, even though they are reliable tests for SpO2. Therefore, consulting a medical expert for an ABG test is necessary once you notice any changes.

Many a time, low blood oxygen level severity can be determined with either the SpO2 or PaO2 measurements which are:

  1. Mild Hypoxemia: Having PaO2 and SpO2 that range from 8-10.5 kPa and 90-94%, respectively.

  2. Moderate Hypoxemia: This implies that your PaO2 level is between 5.3-7.9 kPa or your SpO2 is within 75-89%.

  3. Severe Hypoxemia: In this case, it means the PaO2 and SpO2 are below 5.3 and 75, respectively.

Symptoms of Low Blood Oxygen Level

If your blood oxygen levels drop below normal, there is a high tendency to experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness or loss of concentration

  • Anxiety

  • Breathing difficulty (dyspnea)

  • Cyanosis

  • Headaches

  • Increased heart rate

Causes of Low Blood Oxygen Levels 

A decrease in oxygen saturation rate can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of this may be either medical or environmental problems that affect the physiological nature of your heart or lungs, such as:

  1. Respiratory Tract Infections: Having some upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) such as pneumonia, rhinitis, or the common cold can affect your ability to breathe very well, leading to hypoxemia.

  2. Chronic Lung Diseases: If you have a severe pulmonary disorder like asthma or COPD, there is a high probability that you can develop low oxygen saturation.

  3. Cardiac Disorder: Sometimes, an individual may develop hypoxemia as a result of a congenital abnormality of the heart or its failure. This often occurs due to a reduction in the heart's ability to effectively pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

  4. Anemia: This is another medical circulatory problem that causes low hemoglobin levels, leading to a reduction in the oxidized hemoglobin proportion.

  5. Smoking tobacco or cigarettes is a substance that can damage the respiratory tract, leading to low SpO2 levels.

  6. Altitude: Apart from smoking or any other medical problem, you can also develop a low oxygen level in a high-altitude place. This is because most of these places often have less oxygen in the air.

  7. Stress: Partaking in stressful exercises, especially if you have underlying lungs or cardiac problems, can lead to a brief reduction in the amount of blood O2. 

High Blood Oxygen Level (Hyperoxemia)

Hyperoxemia is a very rare blood oxygen problem with no specific level of diagnosis. It is commonly referred to as a type of oxygen saturation that exceeds normal blood oxygen levels, and it typically occurs in patients exposed to high O2 pressures. Sometimes, people with low blood oxygen can also develop this condition by receiving additional oxygen through oxygen therapy.

Although there is no clear consensus regarding the exact range that signifies high oxygen saturation, several studies have proposed between 96-98% for SpO2 as its threshold.

Symptoms of a High Blood Oxygen Level 

Several signs can be seen when an individual is experiencing hyperoxemia. When this problem is prolonged, some of the following symptoms that are associated with oxygen toxicity may manifest:

  • Cough

  • Severe chest pain

  • Twitching hand muscles

  • Sternal pressure

  • Auditory hallucinations

  • Confusion

  • Nausea

  • Seizure

  • Visual problems, etc.

10 Practical Tips on How to Manage Blood Oxygen Levels

In most scenarios where we have high blood oxygen levels, a reduced or complete removal of the supplemental oxygen supply is often carried out. However, when it comes to the aspect of a low oxygen saturation level, you can be placed on oxygen therapy or lifestyle modification treatment.

Therefore, if you’re experiencing a reduction in your blood oxygen level or you want to prevent its complications, you don't need to be frightened! Here are some quick and actionable practices you can take:

  • Regular Physical Exercise: Practicing some physical exercises such as swimming or stretching can help increase your SpO2 level as it allows more oxygenated blood flow to your muscles. Apart from that, these exercises can also help you increase your heart rate.

  • Eat a Balanced Diet: Eating a balanced diet – most especially foods rich in iron – such as meats, nuts, and fish can help you with hemoglobin and other element production. Having this element in the body can promote healthy lung function and increase oxygen levels.

  • Drink Enough Water: Keeping your blood volume stable and oxygen transportation entails drinking a lot of water. So, if you want to keep up with these requirements, try to drink about 8 to 10 glasses of water every day.

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Sometimes, being overweight can put stress on the lungs and reduce respiratory function. But if you are keeping a healthy weight, you stand a chance to alleviate such respiratory problems and increase your blood oxygen level.

  • Improve Your Sleeping Quality: Always ensure to sleep very well at night. Experts let us know that a minimum of 7 hours of sleep is needed for any adult system to regulate itself. Therefore, you can cultivate a good, well-conducted sleep-wake cycle and environment to increase your SpO2 level.

  • Stay Away From Smoking: Smoking is considered to be one of the main factors that can damage the respiratory system. Hence, if you want to improve your respiratory function, you need to quit smoking.

  • Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing: Performing this type of breathing technique (also called belly breathing) can provide positive oxygenation for you. It entails slow respiration through the nostrils and mouth in a sit-up procedure while your hands are placed on your chest and stomach.

  • Breathe in Fresh Air: Being outside, especially in a compound of trees and plants, can help you increase your blood oxygen saturation level.

  • Reduce Strenuous Activities: When we engage in stressful activities, our respiration becomes shallow, which prevents our bloodstream from being properly oxygenated in the long run. Thus, reducing this practice or seeking stress reduction therapy can be extremely beneficial.

  • Limit Your Air Pollutant Exposure: You can get a houseplant or an air purifier in your room to reduce your CO2 intake and help you trap organic chemicals or dust.

In Summary

Oxygen is an important factor that serves as a fuel for life. Checking its level in the blood is one of the steps that can help us know our overall state of health. We can also practice some lifestyle modification activities to prevent and even manage possible problems, such as low blood oxygen levels, that may occur. However, if you are still concerned about your blood oxygen levels after making lifestyle changes, you can visit a reputable medical center like OMRON Healthcare.

OMRON Healthcare is one of the best and most reliable healthcare providers, with exceptional services and products. Reach out to us today and get your blood oxygen level in standard form.

References

Professional, C. C. M. (n.d.). Blood Oxygen Level. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/22447-blood-oxygen-level
Napchi, D. (2024, April 22). How to Increase Your Blood Oxygen Levels: 21 Actionable Tips. Aviv Clinics USA. https://aviv-clinics.com/blog/wellness/how-to-increase-your-blood-oxygen-levels-21-actionable-tips/
Curtis, L. (2024, January 31). What Are Blood Oxygen Levels? Health. https://www.health.com/blood-oxygen-level-8425396
Oxygen. (n.d.). https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/oxygen

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