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.

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