Do you know if your supplemental oxygen levels are healthy for you? Many people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, have lower than normal oxygen levels and may not even know it. If you are experiencing difficulty with your supplemental oxygen delivery system, then this article will help you to understand the following:
- Why it’s important to continue your oxygen therapy with an oxygen concentrator
- What is considered to be a normal blood saturation level
- What to do if your oxygen delivery system is giving you problems.
Measuring Blood Oxygen Level
Your doctor can measure how much oxygen is in your blood via an artery or an arterial blood gas. You may also get an estimation of your blood oxygen levels using a pulse oximeter. This is a unit that can be attached to your finger to measure the saturation of oxygen in your blood. The normal range of oxygen saturation in the blood as measured by the arterial blood gas is between 75 to 100 millimeters of mercury. Anything below 60 generally requires the use of supplemental oxygen.
If using the pulse oximeter, normal oxygen saturation measures at about 95% to 100%. Anything below 90% is considered to be dangerously low and requires supplemental oxygen.
The problem with having a low blood oxygen saturation level is that your tissues and organs do not function at the optimal level. This could lead to other medical complications including hypertension and polycythemia (increased red blood cells in the body).
How to Maintain Safe Blood Oxygen Levels
It is up to you communicate with your doctor about your blood oxygen level once you have been given a prescription for supplemental oxygen. If you find that your oxygen level is falling below the healthy rate, then you must let your doctor know so that he can adjust your oxygen flow rate.
It is of the utmost importance that patients with COPD and others who are on supplemental oxygen learn how to use their oxygen device properly. Doing so will help to increase your survival as well as your quality of life with COPD. Most doctors recommend that patients use their supplemental oxygen for at least 15 hours per day to get the most benefits. If you find that you are having difficulty understanding how to use your device or adjusting the nasal cannula, please ask your doctor or a trusted health professional to support you in making adjustments.
It is recommended that patients never adjust their oxygen levels without first getting a consultation from a doctor. Some patients do have difficulty using supplemental oxygen in the first few weeks of use and should expect an adjustment period. However, if you find that you are not able to stick to the prescription, get in contact with your doctor for other solutions. It is possible to find an alternative solution to deliver the oxygen you need to maintain your wellbeing.