A pulse oximeter is a device that is used to check the level of oxygen in your blood as well as your pulse. Oxygen is carried around in the blood through a protein molecule called hemoglobin in your red blood cells. This device is placed on your earlobe or at the end of your fingers in the form of a small clip, and it uses sensors to estimate the blood oxygen levels (or oxygen saturation, SpO2), measured in percentage.
You might have come across something like this in your doctor’s office or at the hospital. However, this device is very portable, and you can even use it to check your oxygen level at home at home. Many doctors even recommend it. It doesn’t require a lead and trunk cable, although this might work for other tests.
However, the device is especially for people who have conditions that affect their oxygen levels. Examples include people with a lung condition or infection like COVID-19. Healthy people can also measure their oxygen level over a period of time, for instance, during vigorous exercise.
How Does A Pulse Oximeter Work?
To check your oxygen level at home, simply place the oximeter on your finger or earlobe. Once in place, the oximeter shines two light beams through your skin, one is a red light, and the other is infrared light. Blood with more oxygen absorbs infrared light. In contrast, the red light doesn’t get absorbed; instead, it passes through it. This signals the oximeter to give a reading.
How Is The Procedure Carried Out?
In order to get an accurate reading when using it to check your oxygen level at home, keep the following tips in mind.
- Nail paints, henna, and artificial nails can affect the oximeter reading, so make sure your fingers are void of them.
- Ensure that your hands are warm if your hands are cold.
- A pulse oximeter can either use batteries or an electrical charge to work. In either case, start by turning on the device.
- Place the part of the oximeter that resembles a clip on the end of your index or middle finger with your nail facing up.
- Make sure to reduce hand movement and place the hand on your chest, near your heart.
- Keep the pulse oximeter on your hand until the reading stabilizes. It is a painless procedure, so voice out if you feel any pain from the clip.
Record your reading as displayed on the oximeter’s screen.
How Do You Read The Pulse Oximeter?
When using the oximeter to check your oxygen level at home, know that the pulse oximeter will give two results at the end of its reading: the blood oxygen level(SpO2) and your pulse rate(PR).
The normal levels of oxygen should be 95% and higher. But in some people with conditions like sleep apnea or lung disease, the normal oxygen level can be around 90% and above. Your healthcare professional will inform you what levels of oxygen saturation are normal for your body. The normal level of a pulse in a healthy human is 60-100 beats per minute.
Ensure to signal a health professional or your doctor in the event of an oxygen level reading of less than 90%. A reading like that would likely be followed by a diagnosis of a lung problem.
Wrapping It Up
As accurate as this device might be for checking check your oxygen level at home, do not rely on your pulse oximeter as the only way to assess your health condition. Visit a health professional for professional medical advice concerning your health.