Oxygen is vital for our body's proper functioning, and maintaining adequate oxygen saturation levels is crucial for overall health and well-being. The amount of oxygen carried by red blood cells is measured as a percentage and referred to as oxygen saturation. While a healthy person usually keeps their saturation level at 95% or higher, deviations from this ideal range can cause a number of health problems. This article explores the significance of oxygen saturation and its potential implications when levels are compromised.
Oxygen saturation is essential for figuring out and keeping track of breathing problems. Conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and pneumonia can lead to decreased oxygen saturation levels. It means that there is less oxygen in their blood. When oxygen saturation is low, it can cause symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest discomfort. By continuously monitoring oxygen saturation, doctors and nurses can better understand how severe the respiratory disease is, decide on the best treatment, and ensure adequate oxygen delivery to the body's organs.
It's important to keep oxygen levels in our body at the right level for a healthy heart. If the oxygen level drops too low, it can make the heart work harder and cause problems. Inadequate oxygen supply may result in myocardial ischemia, where the heart muscle doesn't receive sufficient oxygen, causing chest pain (angina) or even a heart attack. It can also cause heart failure, which means the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's demands. By regularly checking oxygen levels, we can catch heart problems early and take action to prevent more severe issues.
Monitoring oxygen saturation is especially important in sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea interferes with breathing patterns during sleep, resulting in lower oxygen levels.
As a result, oxygen saturation drops, causing brief awakenings and fragmented sleep. Prolonged untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, and daytime drowsiness.
Regular monitoring of oxygen saturation during sleep helps diagnose sleep disorders and guides appropriate treatment, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which helps maintain optimal oxygen levels during sleep.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, monitoring oxygen saturation levels has become even more critical. When someone gets very sick with COVID-19, their oxygen levels can drop quickly, called hypoxemia. To keep track of oxygen levels, doctors use a device called a pulse oximeter. It helps them identify patients who need medical help and may need to go to the hospital. Prompt detection of decreasing oxygen saturation levels enables timely medical attention, which can be lifesaving for COVID-19 patients. Additionally, individuals recovering from COVID-19 can experience long-term effects on their lung function, emphasizing the importance of regular oxygen saturation monitoring during the recovery phase.
Various easy-to-use, portable devices are also available now for people to detect their oxygen saturation levels. One such device is Doori Healthables, which has advanced features to track all body vitals just by your fingertip. By monitoring your oxygen saturation levels and other vital signs with this device, you can protect yourself from serious health problems.
Maintaining optimal oxygen saturation levels is essential for overall health. Deviations from the normal range can indicate underlying health issues and prompt further investigation. Regular monitoring of oxygen saturation levels is critical in diagnosing and managing respiratory disorders, cardiovascular health, and sleep disorders, and even during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring timely interventions and improved health outcomes.