Blood oxygen saturation level is used as one of the indices by physicians to determine the exact amount of oxygen present in blood. It is a valuable test in diagnosing, treating and prognosis of certain diseases. In every intensive care unit, you will find blood oxygen saturation machine, it is called pulse oximeter.
We all know that our life is dependent on oxygen; it is the invisible gas in air that we breathe in. Each and every tissue and cell of our body requires oxygen to remain alive. The circulating blood supplies oxygen to every cell in our body.Our blood contains hemoglobin, which absorbs the inhaled oxygen and supplies to the different organs and cells. This process of absorption is known as oxygenation. If the blood oxygen saturation is low, it means that the body is not able to get enough oxygen.
What Are Normal Blood Oxygen Saturation Levels?
Let us know what normal blood oxygen saturation levels are.
The medical device which measures the blood oxygen saturation level is called pulse oximeter.
Normal blood oxygen saturation level is counted in percentage value. For example if the blood oxygen saturation is 91 %, it indicates that 91% of hemoglobin in your blood is saturated with oxygen.The average normal range for oxygen saturation is 95% to 100%. However some physicians consider the range from 97% to 99%.
There are two ways of measuring blood oxygen saturation, the most easy and preferred method is use of pulse oximeter. In this method, a sensor is attached to the finger probe which measures the oxygen saturation and gives the reading in digital form. Another method of measuring is called arterial blood gas test, here blood is withdrawn from the radial or femoral artery and passed through a gas machine, which reveals blood oxygen level.
The term Hypoxaemia is used when the oxygen saturation in the arterial blood is reduced lower than 90%, and if it severe and dropped as low as 80% it may result into visible cyanosis (lips, tongue, nails turning blue). The most common causes of hypoxaemia are respiratory disease such as emphysema, pulmonary edema, high altitude, shock, congenital heart disease, anemia etc.
High level of blood oxygen saturation, which is termed as hyperoxaemia, is also harmful. It is a condition when high concentration of pure oxygen is inhaled for more than few hours. Pure oxygen is both irritant and toxic if it is inhaled for more than few hours. It can affect the lungs, eyes, and brain of a person. Scuba divers who undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy have to be more careful.
How To Increase Blood Oxygen Saturation?
Low blood oxygen saturation is such as common consequence of certain respiratory disease that oxygen may be the most prescribed ‘drug’ used to treat these diseases. Before administration it is important that flow rate and concentration are clearly specified by the treating physician. Portable and fixed oxygen units are freely available.
Natural ways for increasing blood oxygen saturation level include:
- Exercise: exercise increases blood circulation and oxygen saturation level. Walking, jogging, and cycling are few exercises that help in improving the oxygen level in the blood. However, if you are suffering from breathing problem, consult your doctor before starting this exercise.
- Stop smoking. Smoking for a long period has been associated with various lung diseases and lowering of blood oxygen level.
- Weight loss: if you are obese reduce your weight.
- Relaxation and breathing techniques help to increase the blood oxygen saturation naturally.
- Eat nutritious diet which consists of vitamins, minerals especially iron. Anemia is known to cause hypoxaemia.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before sleeping.