What Is Blood Oxygen Level?

Feb 8, 2023

What Is Blood Oxygen Level?

You’ve heard the term blood oxygen level, but what does it mean? Read on to learn more about oxygen saturation levels, how to measure them, and why maintaining a proper blood oxygen level is so important.

What is your blood oxygen level?

Simply put, your blood oxygen level is the amount of oxygen that makes its way into your bloodstream after you breathe it in. Your body requires a certain blood oxygen level to function; low blood oxygen levels can be dangerous and require intervention to ensure your continuing good health.

The importance of oxygen in your blood

Everyone needs oxygen to live — using oxygen, our cells create the energy that allows them to fulfil their roles throughout our bodies. Most people obtain oxygen naturally, simply by breathing in. Once in the body, inhaled oxygen travels through the lungs and continues into the bloodstream, which carries the oxygen throughout the body.

Hypoxemia, or too little oxygen in your blood, can result in serious health conditions and can cause irreversible damage to important organs like your heart and brain. Therefore, it’s important to maintain healthy blood oxygen levels. For some, however, this is easier said than done.

Individuals with pulmonary edema, sleep apnea, heart and lung diseases, or even just those living at a high altitude are more likely to experience low blood oxygen levels. If you have or are at risk for having hypoxemia or if you are already undergoing oxygen therapy to treat a health condition, it’s important to learn how and when to measure your oxygen saturation levels.

How to measure blood oxygen levels

Blood oxygen levels should be between 95% and 100% for most people, though individuals with certain health conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lung disease may have lower levels. If your oxygen levels ever fall below 92%, call your doctor immediately.

There are two ways to measure oxygen saturation levels:


1. Blood draw test

An experienced healthcare professional may use an arterial blood gas (ABG) test to measure the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and pH balance in your blood. This is the most accurate way of measuring your blood oxygen saturation level.

2. Pulse oximetry

Pulse oximeters are small medical devices that clip onto the end of your finger to read your heart rate and blood oxygen saturation levels (Sp02 level). They use infrared light to see through your skin and into your blood. The infrared lights reflect off your blood, and the oximeter uses these readings to measure your Sp02 level.
You can find these devices online and can easily use a pulse oximeter at home to measure your blood oxygen level if you ever experience concerning symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sharp chest pains
  • Chronic headaches
  • Confusion and dizziness
  • Blue-tinged skin
  • A rapid heart rate
  • Loss of vision
  • Increased blood pressure

You should also make sure to use a pulse oximeter if you are using supplemental oxygen at home to ensure that you’re maintaining the correct oxygen levels for your treatment.

Naturally boosting your blood oxygen level

While some people may require supplemental oxygen to ensure they have the correct amount of oxygen in their blood, there are also many things you can do to naturally increase your oxygen saturation levels:

  1. Stand or sit upright to decrease pressure on your lungs.
  2. If the weather isn’t too extreme, go outdoors and breathe in the rich, oxygen-saturated air.
  3. Start doing breathing exercises to improve your lung function.
  4. Breathe slowly and deeply to allow more oxygen to enter your lungs.
  5. Be more physically active. Exercising your lungs will help them improve.
  6. Quit smoking. Smoking damages the lungs, so reducing or eliminating it will greatly benefit lung health.

While these natural methods can help increase blood oxygen levels, they are not a cure or a stand-alone solution to certain medical conditions. Always consult your healthcare provider if your oxygen saturation level falls below safe levels to ensure that you’re receiving the treatment you need.

Mega Medical — here to meet all your healthcare equipment needs

From oxygen concentrators to pulse oximeters, you’ll find only the most high-quality products when you shop online with us. Mega Medical is proud to be one of the leading providers of medical equipment and supplies in Australia, with a comprehensive range that will ensure your facility, practice, or home is well-stocked with the life-saving medical supplies you require.

Explore our products online today or reach out to our team on 1300 881 824 if you need assistance locating certain items or if you have any questions or concerns.