Oxygen Levels In The Blood
It is no secret that current times are challenging with the world amidst a full-fledged pandemic. Coronavirus is fatal and has claimed numerous lives and continues to do so to date. However, certain steps in the right direction have proved helpful in preventing the virus. A few such measures are frequent sanitisation of hands and tracking blood oxygen levels.
Oxygen is an indispensable element. One requires the proper functioning of all of the organs in your body. Blood oxygen levels are the amount of oxygen present in your blood that circulates throughout your body. Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to different parts of your body.
Why is Oxygen in Blood Important?
Research suggests that oxygen in the atmosphere is inhaled by individuals and utilised for important bodily functions.
Blood oxygen is vital for the following reasons -
- Oxygen helps nourish and provide adequate energy to cells
- Oxygen acts as power for muscles and tissues in the body
- Oxygen is essential for making all body organs work - the brain, heart, and lungs
How is Blood Oxygen Level Measured - SPO2?
Blood oxygen levels are measured using a pulse oximeter. It is a small device that measures your blood oxygen saturation or SPO2. You clip the device to your finger and wait for a few seconds. Studies suggest that the device then measures the ratio of red blood cells in your body that carry oxygen to all other parts of your body. The pulse oximeter is non-invasive and does not involve any pricking.
Also read: Ayurvedic immunity booster
Symptoms of Low Blood Oxygen Levels
The primary symptom of low blood oxygen levels is shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing. Low blood oxygen levels lead to abnormal circulation that leads to the following symptoms -
- Increased or rapid breathing
- Pain in your chest
- Raised blood pressure
- Coordination problems
- Visual disturbances
- Increased heart rate
How to Increase Oxygen Levels in Blood
There are natural ways to increase your blood oxygen levels. Here is a list of 5 easy ways to improve your blood oxygen levels instantly.
Breathe fresh air
Take a break every once in a while and go outside to breathe some fresh air. Open the windows in your house or go for an evening walk. This helps increase your blood oxygen levels.
Grow house plants
Plants are known to be the most significant source of oxygen. They increase oxygen levels in the air around you and remove carbon dioxide from the air. Ferns do not need a lot of sunshine to stay alive, making them an excellent plant to keep indoors. Growing green plants around you helps purify the air and increase your blood oxygen levels naturally.
Exercising or moving is a good way to increase your blood oxygen levels. Exercise helps improve your breathing rate, which means your lungs can now absorb more oxygen to supply in your body. This means more oxygen levels in your blood.
If you wish to increase your blood oxygen levels, you need to improve your lung capacity. The quality of your breathing depends on how much your lungs can function. Slow and deep breathing exercises help increase your blood oxygen levels. Breathing techniques can strengthen your endurance, reduce stress and help you focus.
Your red blood cells contain iron which is required to carry and transport oxygen around your body. Eating iron-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, apples, legumes, eggs, fish, and poultry helps increase iron levels in your blood. This subsequently increases the oxygen levels in your blood.
Foods That Can Increase Oxygen in Blood
- Foods rich in antioxidants such as bananas and avocados, and garlic
- Foods rich in fibre such as sprouts, apples and apricots
What Are Typical Levels of Blood Oxygen?
Standard oxygen levels are usually 95% or higher. Individuals facing chronic lung diseases may have normal oxygen levels at about 90%. If your blood oxygen levels drop below 95%, please do consult a doctor.
How To Improve Oxygen Levels In The Blood?
Taking simple steps such as performing lung exercises, maintaining a balanced diet filled with oxygen-improving foods and making sure you get enough fresh air will go a long way!
Also read: Ways to boost immunity
How can I increase my oxygen level naturally?
Practice mindfulness and exercise daily. This helps increase your breathing capacity whilst also improving it. Your oxygen intake increases, and overall stress decreases. Grow some green indoor plants and eat iron-rich foods to boost your oxygen levels naturally.
Can stress cause low oxygen levels?
Stress makes your breath shallow, and you tend to take in less oxygen. This can cause a drop in your blood oxygen levels.
How accurate are finger oximeters?
The finger oximeters measure your blood oxygen levels. The accuracy is affected by many factors like poor blood circulation, skin thickness, temperature, skin pigmentation, tobacco use, or nail polish.
How can I get more oxygen in my lungs?
You can increase the oxygen in your lungs by breathing correctly. Focus on breathing techniques and exercises like diaphragmatic breathing and pursed-lips breathing. Doing them regularly will ensure that you gain the above benefits (increased oxygen levels)
Carl E. Rhodes, Matthew Varacallo (2020) Physiology, Oxygen Transport (NCBI) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538336/
Brant B. Hafen, Sandeep Sharma (2021) Oxygen Saturation (NCBI) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525974/
Edward D.Chan, Michael M.Chan (2013) Pulse oximetry: Understanding its basic principles facilitates appreciation of its limitations (Science Direct) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S095461111300053X