Normal SpO2 levels, or blood oxygen levels, are necessary for optimal functioning of the body. Most of the time, the body is able to regulate SpO2 levels by itself, binding the oxygen that is received through the lungs to haemoglobin. This haemoglobin then transports oxygen around the body. During moments of intense physical activity or at high altitudes, a lower SpO2 level may be observed. The body is, for the most part, able to adapt to these changes, as long as they are not too extreme. However, when your SpO2 levels are too low, this can result in hypoxia or hypoxemia, which come with serious health complications.
In this article, we share with you what normal SpO2 levels should be and the complications that can arise with a low SpO2 level.
Understanding SpO2 Levels
A normal SpO2 level should be between 94 and 100 percent. If you have a reading below 90 percent, see your doctor immediately. SpO2 levels can be measured conveniently from home with the help of a fingertip pulse oximeter. These handy devices work by using light sensors to detect the number of oxygen-saturated haemoglobin cells and the number of haemoglobin cells that are not carrying oxygen. This figure is then converted into an easy-to-understand figure.
What is Hypoxemia?
When your SpO2 levels are too low, you are at risk of developing hypoxemia. The severity of your symptoms will depend on how low your SpO2 levels are. Patients are likely to experience shortness of breath, difficulties breathing, light-headedness and many more. Individuals with conditions such as asthma are at higher risk of hypoxemia. If your body is unused to high altitudes, where the oxygen level is lower, you may experience hypoxemia as well.
What is Hypoxia?
When there is too little oxygen at the tissue level, an individual can develop hypoxia. Hypoxia is often directly caused by hypoxemia. Common symptoms of hypoxia include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, a high pulse rate and the skin taking on a blue tinge. However, keep in mind that cyanosis, where the skin takes on a blue tinge, may not be obvious in individuals with darker skin tones. As hypoxia becomes more severe, individuals may suffer from confusion, hallucinations, irregular heartbeats and more. Severe hypoxia can lead to death.
Monitor Your SpO2 Levels Anytime, Anywhere
Today, it is easy and convenient to monitor SpO2 levels at home and know immediately if something is abnormal. If you have an existing health condition, you may choose to do so. Athletes who wish to keep on top of their SpO2 levels and heart rates during workouts also choose to monitor their SpO2 levels with a fingertip pulse oximeter. All our products are FDA registered and approved by Health Canada, so you can enjoy peace of mind that they are licensed and reliable. If you require more information or would like a recommendation, please feel free to contact us.