Your pulse ox level is a measure of how much oxygen your red blood cells are carrying. Your body closely regulates your blood oxygen level. Maintaining the precise balance of oxygen-saturated blood is vital to your health.
However, people with chronic health problems many need to monitor their blood oxygen level on regular basis. This includes asthma, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
What is Pulse Oximeter? How it works?
A pulse oximeter (pulse ox) is a noninvasive device that estimates the level of oxygen in your blood. It does so by sending infrared light into capillaries in your finger, toe, or earlobe. Then it measures how much light is reflected off the gases.
Pulse ox levels reading indicates what percentage of your blood is saturated, also known as the SpO2 level. This test has a 2 percent error window. That means the reading may be as much as 2 percent higher or lower than your actual blood oxygen level.
Because a pulse ox is noninvasive, you can perform this test yourself. You can purchase pulse ox devices and keep a record of your SpO2.
NORMAL PULSE OX LEVEL
If a pulse ox is used to measure your blood oxygen level (SpO2), a normal reading is typically between 95% and 100%.
However, these ranges may not apply in COPD or other lung diseases.
Symptoms of Low Oxygen Level
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- rapid heartbeat
People who smoke may usually have an inaccurately high pulse ox reading. Smoking causes carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in your blood. A pulse ox device can’t tell the difference between this other type of gas and oxygen.
If you smoke and need to know your blood oxygen level, an ABG may be the only way to receive an accurate reading.