oxygen saturation level

What Is Oxygen Saturation level and Its Importance?

Oxygen saturation refers to the amount of oxygen transferred to the body’s different cells through the blood. Oxygen saturation is a standard measurement in the care of a patient. It tells us how much oxygen is present in the blood. Hemoglobin is responsible for transferring oxygen in the blood to different parts of the body.

A single molecule of hemoglobin can attach itself to  four heme group oxygen molecules during blood transportation. So the oxygen saturation is the amount of oxyhemoglobin(Oxygen bound hemoglobin) present in the blood. It represents the percentages of saturated arterial oxygen SaO2 and venous oxygen saturation SvO2.

What Are The Elements that Affect Oxygen Saturation?

The level of oxygen present in the blood depends on the following factors:

1-How much oxygen is present in the air around you.

2-The different levels of hemoglobin in the blood also affect the oxygen saturation levels.

3-How strongly the hemoglobin molecules are bonded is crucial in maintaining the human body’s oxygen levels.

4-Healthy lungs are the prime factor on which oxygen saturation depends. The lungs perform the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen. And from the lungs, the oxygen is carried to the red blood cells.

What Are The Methods To Measure Oxygen Saturation?

1-Pulse Oximetry.

It is an easy, painless, and most common method to check the oxygen saturation. The technician attaches a probe to a fingertip or the ear lobe. The pulse oximeter uses red light and infrared light to measure the saturation level. If the amount of absorbed red light is more, then the oxygen saturation level is low. If the amount of infrared light is more, which means the levels are within the normal range. The screen of the instrument shows the reading in percentage.

2-Blood Gas Test.

A lab technician draws blood from the patient, and the technician puts in the blood gas analyzer. It reveals the ratio of carbon dioxide and oxygen present in the blood and the ph levels.

What Is The Normal Level?

The readings between 95% to 100% on an oximeter are considered normal. Doctors deem a percentage lower than 90% as dangerous. It should be treated medically with oxygen supply.

The average levels of oxygen saturation through the blood gas tests are >80 mmHg.

Why Is Oxygen Saturation Important?

To maintain the oxygen saturation levels is very important as it may lead to severe organ damage in the body. Oxygen is the most critical element for the normal functioning of the organ cells. When the oxygen saturation levels drop, the heart, kidney, and brain are the most affected organs.

Some symptoms If the levels of oxygen saturation drop in the body are:




4-Shortness of breath


6-Rapid heart rate

7-Chest pain

8-Blueness of skin(cyanosis)

9-Visual disorders.


What Causes Low Levels Of Oxygen Saturation?

When the blood oxygen levels drop, it is known as desaturation or hypoxia. Some of the reasons that cause it are below.

1-Higher altitudes have less Oxygen. Inhaled air may cause desaturation because it is low in oxygen concentration.

2-Iron is essential for maintaining hemoglobin levels.  Oxygen is dependent on the hemoglobin levels for transport in the body. Iron deficiency in a human body will cause desaturation in the blood.

3-When poisonous molecules of carbon monoxide are present in the body. It hinders the binding of oxygen with hemoglobin. It leads to severe oxygen desaturation.

4-Weak lungs cause lower oxygen levels in the blood. The gas exchange takes place in the lungs, and oxygen diffuses in the body.

What Are The Ways To Improve Oxygen Saturation?

The low levels of oxygen saturation are mainly because of the deficiency of iron. So eating a healthy diet helps a lot. Eating the right amount of iron-rich foods helps maintain oxygen levels, such as fish, meat, cashew nuts, lentils, etc.

However, one can maintain a severe drop in oxygen saturation levels by giving oxygen supply.

11 thoughts on “What Is Oxygen Saturation level and Its Importance?”

  1. In Diabetes Management and Diagnosis HbA with glucose attached becomes HbA1c
    The Adoption of this test A1c –<6.5% no diabetes" has been adopted by " the West"
    As a type 2 diabetic since 1986, and a QA Engineer , I started researching the condition in 2008,after, being told that due to a "hemoglobinopathy" confounding the A1c test, Result –under medication. I was able to access my A1c results back to 1990's which showed results 3.8% to 4.4% which was considered by GPs as "Great control "or ironically "A1."
    The "carrier traits", 'one of the most common Hematology disorders in the WORLD!! and most cases ,clinically silent "but have a mild hemolytic anemia in my research I found 2 papers that gave comprehensive lists of the "Carriers in Australian Population under "RACGP Haemoglobinopathies" a genomics paper about intermarriage problems .I, as a Scot ,challenged my initial hemoglobinopathy, eventually being correctly diagnosed with a low grade hemolytic anemia (unknown to me )explained to me by an American biochemist ,that my condition "Was similar to the inherited traits but different causes .Later found "common conditions in Women ,Iron;VitB12;folate;deficiencies. In my conclusion ,those with any forms of Anemia ,inherited or otherwise, affects oxygen levels and so the Adoption of HbA1c<6.5% –no diabetes puts those with any forms of anemia ,of not being medicated, overmedicated, if iron etc. deficiencies or Heavy Periods not only confound the A1c test but can Anemia of any kind ,trigger type 2 diabetes
    The 2nd Paper a USA website " NIDDK ethnicities and A1c " explains the Variant Silent carriers who may not know of these Ancient Mutations and also points out the 2 "Errors" still being made by GPs and another Table of Ethnicities. Am I drawing "A "LONG BOW" in seeing oxygen saturation at lower levels contributing to Type 2 Diabetes

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