Blood oxygen levels are an important measure of health, reflecting how efficiently the body is able to take in and transport oxygen throughout the body. Learn about what affects these levels, and find out what a healthy range looks like for adults.
What Is Blood Oxygen Level?
Blood oxygen levels refer to the amount of oxygen contained in your red blood cells. This measurement is reported as a percentage, and is measured using an oximeter, which you can attach to your finger. A reading of 94-100% typically indicates normal levels, although this may vary depending on a person’s age and medical history.
What’s a Normal Blood Oxygen Level?
Normal blood oxygen level is typically considered to be between 94-100%, although this range may vary depending on a person’s age and medical history. If your reading is below 90%, it may indicate that you have low blood oxygen levels, or hypoxemia. In this case, it’s important to consult your doctor for further evaluation.
What Are the Causes of Low Blood Oxygen Levels?
Low blood oxygen levels, or hypoxemia, can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure, asthma, pneumonia, and interstitial lung disease. It can also be due to certain medications or lifestyle factors like smoking, air pollution, high altitudes, and too much physical activity. If you have any of these risk factors or are experiencing unusual symptoms such as breathlessness or fatigue, it’s important to consult your doctor for further evaluation.
How Can I Measure These Levels?
Measuring your blood oxygen level is easy and painless. To get an accurate reading, your doctor will most likely use a device called pulse oximetry, which measures the oxygen saturation of your hemoglobin in the artery. A normal range for arterial oxygen saturation is between 95-99% saturation. However, if your levels are below this range, your doctor may recommend supplemental oxygen or prescribe other treatments depending on the severity of hypoxemia.
What Should I Do If My Results Show Low Blood Oxygen Levels?
It’s important to see your doctor if you think you may have low blood oxygen levels. Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam, take a medical history, and order additional tests to diagnose the cause. Depending on the results, they could suggest a variety of treatments such as lifestyle changes, supplemental oxygen therapy or medications.
Symptoms of low blood oxygen, or hypoxia, include shortness of breath, headaches, rapid breathing, chest pain, confusion, dizziness, restlessness, high blood pressure, lack of coordination, visual disturbances and a sense of euphoria. In some cases it can cause a rapid heartbeat as well. It is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing any of these symptoms as they could be indicative of an underlying health condition.