To know if you are in a good state of health your doctor needs to know if your lungs are functioning well in the transfer of oxygen to the blood, since the cells, tissues and organs need it to function, and its lack can cause complications in all your body.
Blood tests can give an accurate reading of 100% oxygenation in your blood, but some of them are painful. However, pulse oximetry is less invasive and painless by providing adequate levels of oxygen in the blood.
Learn to use your pulse oximeter and take advantage of it as much as you can.
How does the pulse oximeter work?
The pulse oximeters are responsible for measuring the amount of oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin in the blood, that is, the blood that is transported from the lungs to the rest of your body. Each molecule of hemoglobin contains four molecules of oxygen with a saturation level of 100%, allowing to absorb more infrared light.
The photodetector is a light emitter that is inside the pulse oximeter, which receives light calculating the red light rate compared to infrared light, which gives us the level of oxygen saturation.
What are the normal blood oxygen levels?
Healthy people generate a level of oxygen saturation in the blood between 95 and 100 percent, according to the World Health Organization. But if a healthy person performs a test with the pulse oximeter and this throws low levels of oxygen in the blood, it would require a medical investigation, since it could present a condition called hypoxemia.
The first signs of poor oxygenation in the body include rapid breathing, lack of oxygen, unexplained restlessness, chest pressure and even confusion. Other symptoms are not visible until the saturation is below 90 percent as bluish coloration on the skin and mucous membranes. The WHO considers these low levels of oxygen saturation as a medical emergency.
Why may oxygen saturation be below normal?
Many disorders can be read by the pulse oximeter, including lung diseases or heart failure. Asthmatic attacks, pneumonia or a blood clot in the lung generate low readings in the pulse oximeter.
However, low levels of oxygen in the blood are not related to lung disorders, which may happen is that the person has circulation problems and cause levels to soar. Take into account that low levels of hemoglobin and anemia also cause low readings in the pulse.
How should the pulse oximeter be used?
Pulse oximeters are fairly easy to use, both at home and in the hospital. The container containing infrared light emitters can be placed anywhere in your body, but they have to be sufficiently translucent for the signal to pass through the blood flow, as is the case with the fingers. You can also use it on the toes, the earlobe on even the bridge of the nose.
Similarly, you must adjust your pulse oximeter to generate an alarm if the level of oxygen saturation falls below a set value. These values can be configured by you or by the values contained in the pulse oximeter by default.
A pulse oximeter is a tool that you can have at home and use it when you feel fatigued, or feel pressure in your chest. However, if you feel that the problem for which you constantly resort to the pulse oximeter becomes constant, call your trusted doctor and tell him about the problem.