Understanding SpO2 & Normal Oxygen Levels


SpO2 (oxygen saturation) estimates how much oxygen is in one’s blood. It is a percentage that divides the amount of hemoglobin present with the total number of hemoglobin present (non-oxygenated blood cells and oxygen-carrying blood cells).

Oxygenated hemoglobin, also known as SaO2, refers to how much percentage of total hemoglobin has been turned from a gaseous form into erythrocytes for carrying oxygen around the body. It is the hemoglobin protein that transports oxygen throughout the body.

Pulse oximetry measures the concentration of oxygenated hemoglobin in the blood sample. It is considered non-invasive and indirect and emits light waves through blood vessels or capillaries in one’s finger to measure SP02 levels. Variations in hemoglobin saturation color blood cause the change in redness or blueness when it comes into contact with erythrocytes; this allows for accurate measurement of patient Oxygen Saturation Levels (SpO2).

How Spo2 Works? 

There are four heme groups in each hemoglobin molecule, each of which can bind four oxygen molecules. During blood vessel contractions, hemoglobin can transport up to four oxygen molecules. Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen in the blood.

For adults, oxygen saturation levels fall within 95-100%. Low saturation of Spo2 means that a patient may require external oxygen supplementation. If it is less than 90%, it can lead to complications in body tissue and organs.In such cases, people sometimes prefer taking blood pressure supplements

When we consume glucose and break it down aerobically, it produces pyruvate. The body can produce up to four ATP molecules by combining oxygen with hemoglobin. The oxygen level in the blood depends on an individual’s hematocrit level or erythrocyte count. However, it is typically around 95%. When this number reaches 100%, or when it has reached a point where every gram of hemoglobin will bind up one molecule of O2, then there is no more room for saturation. People with a chronic lung condition or sleep apnea can have normal levels of around 90%.

When hemoglobin binds with oxygen, it changes shape so that it can trap more of the air around it. This change in shape also makes it difficult for any other molecules to bind to these proteins. Due to this, very few unbound hemoglobins are left, which means less competition for the remaining oxygen. As a result, a person’s oxyhemoglobin level accurately represents their blood-oxygen saturation levels because no other substances are interfering with them anymore.

What Is The Best Way To Measure Spo2?

Measuring Spo2 levels in patients with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and pneumonia is imperative. These individuals are susceptible to low oxygen levels in the blood. Conditions like heart failure, anemia, and heart attacks are also predominant in this group.

Pulse oximetry is an easy, non-invasive and painless way to measure oxygen levels. The procedure uses a probe placed on the finger or ear lobe to obtain indirect readings of oxygen saturation levels from arterial blood.

A pulse oximeter has two different light sources, infrared and red. The number of absorbed infrared lights will tell you how much oxygen is present. On the other hand, a higher number of reflected red lights tells you how little oxygen there is. A pulse oximetry reading may be expressed as a percentage.

An arterial blood gas test is another way to measure carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in your blood. To do this, you must take samples of your veins or artery for an arterial blood test. You can also take capillary samples for an arterial blood gas test. This medical procedure aims to determine whether there is an imbalance between these two chemicals, which would signify lung problems.

Patients undergo a blood test to determine whether they have a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by collecting a tiny vial of blood and putting it through an analyzer. The machine will give you information about how well your lungs work. Some information it gives includes your oxygen levels and what level of carbon dioxide there are. All this information will tell you whether or not you need to see a doctor.

Low Spo2: How To Improve It

When an individual’s oxygen saturation level or Spo2 levels drop below what is considered safe, they will often need to receive supplemental oxygen therapy. This treatment is one of the fastest ways for blood oxygen levels to go back up. A doctor usually prescribes this and takes care of the administration.

It is possible to naturally increase blood oxygen saturation levels for mild-to-moderate conditions through other means. One way would be by participating in regular physical exercises, improving lung capacity for exchanging gases and preventing hypoxemia when done correctly. However, it is essential to consult a physician before starting any exercise routine or altering an already established one.In such cases, individuals must try a high fiber and low carbs diet to enhance their overall health.

You can improve your blood oxygen saturation by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. It is possible to bring fresh oxygen into the body through breathing exercises. You can also increase your oxygen levels by walking outside, letting fresh air in, or adding houseplants. One of the major causes of low blood oxygen levels is an iron deficiency in the body. Foods rich in iron, such as fish, meat, lentils, kidney beans, and cashews, can help correct this condition.

What Happens When Spo2 Levels Drop?

Hypoxemia is when there is a lower than the typical amount of oxygen in a person’s blood. These deficient levels of SpO2 can result in severe symptoms. Hypoxemic people usually have an oxygen saturation level under 90%, which can come from sleep apnea, cardiac problems, high-altitude exposure, and some medications.

When oxygen levels are low, heart rate increases; headaches, shortness of breath, and coughing and wheezing occur. Blueness or an unnatural shade of skin color called cyanosis may also happen. To determine, a pulse oximeter uses infrared light to measure the amount of light absorbed by carbon dioxide molecules during breathing.

Furthermore, cyanosis occurs when the oxygen saturation level in one’s bloodstream drops below an acceptable level. There are two different types: central and peripheral cyanosis. Central cyanosis causes an entire body erythrosis, while the peripheral produces only a reddish flush on the fingers or cheeks.

Too much oxygen enters the bloodstream during cyanosis, resulting in a bluish tint. It often happens because there isn’t enough blood flow or there aren’t enough cells getting enough oxygen. Exposure to extreme cold temperatures is another possible cause of cyanosis.

How To Treat Low Spo2? 

In general, an oxygen saturation below 95% is considered dangerous. Also, a reading of less than 90% signals an emergency you must address immediately. If a person has dangerously low levels of oxygen in their body, they need treatment regardless of whether or not it is an emergency.

When the oxygen supply to the brain is cut off, brain cells begin to die within five minutes. If the interruption lasts longer, it can lead to a coma or death. A below-normal blood oxygen level is called hypoxemia. Gas exchange levels in the blood are determined by arterial blood gas analysis.

It is essential to identify the cause of low oxygen saturation levels to correct it. For example, if someone has chronic conditions such as COPD and asthma, one of the causes of hypoxia is usually poor airflow in the alveoli and lungs. One solution would be taking steroids or bronchodilators, opening up the individual’s respiratory passages.

Insufficient blood flow to the heart is typical among people with heart problems. Fortunately, many medicines can improve heart function. Examples of such medications are beta-blockers for congestive heart failure or prescription drugs used to treat arrhythmias. The latter may help increase oxygen levels in the body.

Low red blood cell counts are a sign of anemia. When red blood cells are low, it becomes difficult for people suffering from anemia to live a comfortable life. Patients often receive red blood cell transfusions to heal properly and feel better.

The Process Of Oxygenating Blood Oxygen Levels

It is crucial to know how alveoli, the tiny air sacs inside the human lungs, supply oxygen to the blood. Each lung contains millions of these sacs. They act to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules with every breath we take. You may have low blood oxygen levels if your lungs or circulatory system aren’t functioning correctly.

When oxygen molecules pass through the alveoli, they bind to a substance called hemoglobin. The hemoglobin then picks up carbon dioxide from the tissue and transports it back to the alveoli. The hemoglobin then picks up another round of oxygen molecules and carries them to the body’s tissues.

Oxygen levels in your blood depend on several factors, including oxygen saturation and hemoglobin concentrations. Other factors include the efficiency of exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen and how well hemoglobin attracts oxygen molecules.

Most of the time, your body can produce enough hemoglobin to carry oxygen. The red blood cells cannot carry oxygen when hemoglobin levels drop due to certain diseases. However, even if a pulse oximeter may give someone a sense of control, it does not tell the whole story about their health.

Device That Measures Oxygen Saturation Or Spo2

If you are suffering from breathing difficulties or have heart issues, your doctor might suggest using a pulse oximeter. This electronic handheld pulse oximeter determines the amount of oxygen in your red blood cells. Also, the device measures light levels and converts them into electrical signals.

You can measure your pulse rate by placing a pulse oximeter on your fingertips, earlobes, feet, or toes. These devices are affordable and reusable if you don’t want to throw them away after every use. You should do your research if you plan to use the device without involving a healthcare provider.

If you have dark skin pigmentation, poor circulation, smoke cigarettes, have thick skin, or your fingers aren’t clean, the pulse oximeter might give inaccurate readings. Your pulse oximeter may also not accurately measure your health status, so you should not rely on it entirely. You can see your blood oxygen levels as a percentage using the device. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you notice an irregularity or inconsistency between your readings.

Measuring blood oxygen saturation is quick, simple, and painless. When you place a pulse oximeter on your ear, finger, or toe, it will measure your oxygen saturation and heart rate within a few seconds. During this procedure, you will not feel any discomfort or needles. In some hospitals, you can also get disposable tape probes that wrap around your fingers, toes, and nose.

By shining a cold light through your finger, the pulse oximeter creates a red appearance on the tip of your finger. The device uses a red-colored light source to analyze the light and compare it to known oxygen saturation values for different blood types. It is always a good idea to regularly monitor your blood oxygen levels.

Conclusion: What Is Oxygen Saturation? 

Spo2, or oxygen saturation, refers to the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream. For healthy people, it ranges from 95% to 100%. Your body may be unable to deliver normal oxygen levels to your blood due to various conditions and circumstances. Tracking this reading is essential if you have a chronic medical condition, such as pneumonia or heart disease. 

It is essential to seek emergency services as soon as the readings fall below 90%. Your healthcare provider will likely recommend further testing if you have a low blood oxygen level. In case of cyanosis, immediate medical attention is required. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible if you are experiencing symptoms. Respiratory failure can occur due to cyanosis, which is potentially life-threatening.

An insufficient oxygen supply to the muscles indicates hypoxia or poor blood circulation. When checking your oxygen levels, use the device at rest, especially after strenuous workouts, because it will provide accurate results. It is essential to wear the device correctly. 

Also, remain silent while taking measurements to prevent errors. An oxygen oximeter cannot provide as much information about your oxygen levels as a blood draw test.Lastly, the patient must follow a healthy diet and can even opt for various supplements including magnesium supplements or vitamins supplements to lead a healthy happy life.


Share this Article