To determine one’s normal oxygen level, one must simply check one’s oxygen saturation least four times a day for five days. Each record must be maintained in the record log. One must ensure that it is recorded as what was being done prior to the checking. Oxygen saturation measures how much oxygen the blood is carrying compared to its full capacity. It is considered to be normal if the SpO2 is greater than ninety five per cent. Anything less than ninety two per cent means hypoxemia. If the patient has severe difficulty in breathing, she or he may need oxygen supplementation. In a patient with a chronic disease prompt referral is required for long term oxygen therapy.
What does SpO2 mean? It stands for peripheral capillary oxygen saturation. In layman terms, it means the amount of oxygen in the blood or one can say the amount of oxygenated hemoglobin compared to the total amount of hemoglobin in the blood.
Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen in the blood. It is of red color as it contains red cells. It can be measured by pulse oximetry. It works by letting out a light and then absorbing a light wave passing through the blood cells. If there is a variation in the light wave passing through the finger then it will give the value of the SpO2 measurement. To supply energy to the muscles good blood oxygenation is needed.
The body maintains a stable level of oxygen saturation during breathing. Using the respiratory system, the red blood cells gather oxygen in the lungs and send it through the rest of the body. The need for oxygen increases when there is any physical or sports activity. A blood cell is called saturated when it has the full amount of oxygen in it. However too a high level, that means both high and low can affect the body.
During decreased oxygen saturation, if it is eighty five percent and above, then there is no impairment. However, if the oxygen saturation is less than sixty five per cent, and below then it can affect the mental functioning of the individual. In cases where the oxygen saturation is less than fifty five per cent and below then the individual could be unconscious. Normal oxygen saturation is between ninety six and ninety nine per cent.
Hypoxia or low blood is a situation where the oxygen in the blood drops to below ninety per cent. The symptoms could be many such as difficulty in breathing, headaches and confusion. It is seen in increased pulse rate during activity that is of physical nature.
The warning signs in a patient suffering from hypoxia is could be seen in a patient suffering from cold or flu. During a severe breathing attack like asthma the patient will need medical help even if hid blood saturation is normal.
The best way of treating such cases is by trying the pursed lip breathing exercise. In this the patient exhales slowly through closed lips. This method teaches the patient to take deep breaths and in a slower fashion. It also helps to the lungs more completely. Once the patient has mastered the art of pursed breathing he can walk around the house slowly for over hundred yards. To practice pursed breathing one must breathe in heavily and then shape the mouth as if one is about to whistle. Then breathe out slowly so as to restrict the speed of air leaving the lungs.
What is the purpose of measuring oxygen saturation? The main purpose of measuring oxygen saturation is to find out how much oxygen is there in the blood. Normal blood oxygen levels are always between ninety five per cent and hundred per cent.
Oxygen treatment increases the oxygen amount of flow in the lungs and blood stream. There are numerous ways to transport oxygen such as oxygen concentrators, oxygen gas cylinders and oxygen liquid devices. In cases as such the patients do not need to stay in the hospital as all oxygen systems are portable. It also can be used when one is also working. The life of the patient can be increased with long term oxygen treatment. Soon the patient will notice having greater energy and less shortness in breathing.
What are the risks involved? Normally there is no risk in oxygen intake as long as one follows the doctor’s instructions. However as oxygen is a fire hazard one must be very careful where there is the use of cigarettes, open flames or anything that can easily catch fire.
Patients taking oxygen treatment should not smoke. During exercise oxygen intake will help in performance and reduce the shortness of breath. During sleep the body does not need much oxygen. In case of air travel by the patient it is better if he consults his doctor before boarding a plane, because the level of oxygen in an aero plane is about the same as oxygen level at an elevation of eight thousand feet. This drop in the oxygen level can affect the breathing of the patient.
Filed in: Health and Lifestyle