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Blood oxygen level: What is it and everything else you need to know – Times of India

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The blood oxygen level in our body determines the amount of oxygen present in the red blood cells (RBC). It is the level of oxygen-saturated hemoglobin in correspondence to total hemoglobin in the blood. Maintaining a balanced and normal blood oxygen level is crucial to both adults and childrens. People with severe medical conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and cardiovascular diseases must monitor their blood oxygen level at all times.


How can it be measured?


Your blood oxygen levels can be measured in two ways.

One is with the help of pulse oximeter, a small device that can be clipped onto your fingertip. It shines light into the tiny blood vessels in your fingers and measures the level of oxygen saturation in your blood.

Another way of measuring the blood oxygen level is through an arterial blood gas (ABG). It is a blood test that not only measures the oxygen levels in your blood but also detects the level of other gases in your blood.

What is a normal blood oxygen?


A normal reading for an arterial blood gas test is approximately 75 to 100 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), however, normal pulse oximeter readings usually range from 95 to 100 percent.

What happens when your blood oxygen level falls?


When blood oxygen falls below 75 mmHg, the condition is generally termed as hypoxemia. If it further falls down to 60 mmHg, it may call for emergency support and a supplemental oxygen may be provided through an oxygen cylinder.

Severe decrease in blood oxygen levels may lead to following consequences.


Chest pain
– Confusion
– Headache
– Shortness of breath
– Increased heart palpitations

Continued fall in blood oxygen levels can lead to blue discoloration of your nails, skin, and mucus membranes.

Cause of low blood oxygen levels?


Various pre-existing medical conditions can cause your blood oxygen levels to fall. Some of them are as follows.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and emphysema
– Asthma
– Lung collapse
– Cardiovascular diseases
– Anemia

Habits such as smoking can cause a high pulse oximeter reading too. Smoking causes carbon monoxide to build up in your blood.

How to prevent hypoxemia or low blood oxygen levels?

While consulting a doctor is the best way to tackle the problem of low blood oxygen levels, few changes and home remedies can also prevent the same.

Deep breathing exercises and yoga are wonderful ways to calm your nerves and bring your oxygen-saturated blood levels to normal.

Staying hydrated also normalizes your blood oxygen levels and keeps it steady.

If you’re a smoker, you must quit it before it takes a toll on your blood oxygen levels.

Finally eat a healthy and a balanced diet as it will improve your overall health conditions.

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