A pulse oximeter is a medical device that is designed to measure a patient’s oxygen saturation level in their blood. Using a pulse oximeter is non-invasive, convenient and very easy. This means that they can be used by anyone, and they are not just reserved for use in a medical setting. This is why pulse oximeters are now used widely in the home. Many people have a pulse oximeter in their own home that they use to either measure their own blood oxygen saturation level, or the blood oxygen saturation of a family member.
They are great to use and can make you feel more comfortable in the knowledge that your oxygen levels are where they should be. However, sometimes people are unsure of what their reading means, and what to do with the reading that the device gives them. Once you know what your reading means, and if this is a healthy reading for you, you will get the most out of your pulse oximeter.
Reading your Pulse Oximeter Results
After you have put your pulse oximeter on, make sure that you give it enough time to properly calculate your results. Some people take their oximeter off too soon, and don’t allow the device to properly measure the oxygen saturation level of the haemoglobin. Leave the device on for at least ten seconds, and even when numbers start to appear on the screen, make sure that you still leave it a few seconds to make sure the device has an accurate reading.
Once you have your reading, you then need to check if this is a healthy reading for you. Generally speaking, a healthy persons oxygen haemoglobin saturation level is between 94% and 99%. If your pulse oximeter tells you that your reading is within this range, then this means that you have a healthy blood oxygen level, and no action is required. This is great and your mind is at ease after using the device.
Sometimes, however, certain health issues can cause the oxygen saturation to be lower than this. If your oxygen level is lower than 94%, and it is between 90% and 93% it is not immediate cause for alarm.
Certain health issues, such as mild hypoxia, or any type of respiratory disease, can cause oxygen levels to be lower. However, unless you have a previously diagnosed condition, which your doctor has informed you about, and that your doctor has told you can affect your oxygen levels, you must visit your doctor if your oxygen level is in this category. You doctor can then run the appropriate tests to see if you have a health problem that is causing you to have a lower oxygen saturation level. If your reading is less than 88% you need to see a doctor as soon as you can. If your oxygen saturation level is this low, then you will need supplementary oxygen.
Keep in mind that certain factors can affect the reading of a pulse oximeter, so always ensure that you use it in the right conditions.
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