28 Oct What vital signs do an oximeter measure?
People suffering from sleep apnea or other respiratory problems should be concerned about their vital signs. A lack of oxygen in the blood due to poor breathing can cause sudden death or organ damage. For this reason, it is necessary to use an oximeter to go to the doctor in case of irregular vital signs.
What is an oximeter?
The oximeter is a device that makes it possible to measure the oxygen levels in your blood without needing a needle stick. The blood oxygen level calculated with an oximeter is called the “oxygen saturation level.” Compared to the maximum oxygen your blood can carry, this percentage indicates how much oxygen your blood carries. Under normal circumstances, more than 89% of your red blood cells should contain oxygen.
To use it properly, consider the following steps:
- Clean the device with a cloth and alcohol.
- Ensure your hands and fingernails are clean and nail polish-free.
- Rest for 5 minutes before taking the measurement.
- Take the oximeter and place your index finger on it without moving it.
- Wait a few seconds until the reading shows a fixed number.
It is recommended to record the results and verify that they are in normal values: the minimum oxygen level is 95 to 100 on the coast and jungle; and 90 to 96 in the highlands.
What vital signs do an oximeter measure?
Blood oxygen level: what percentage of oxygen your blood carries with respect to the maximum it should carry. The oximeter has a sensor that measures the amount of light. That measurement is used to calculate your blood oxygen level. The results are usually given as oxygen saturation levels. An average oxygen saturation level ranges from 95% to 100%. Saturation levels may be slightly lower and considered acceptable if you have a lung disease such as COPD or pneumonia. Levels may also be lower if you live in an area with a higher elevation. If you use a home oximeter and your oxygen saturation level is 92% or less, you should contact your health care professional. If it drops to 88% or less, seek immediate medical attention.
Heart Rate: The number of times the heart beats during one minute. Adults’ regular resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. Generally, a lower resting heart rate implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. For example, a well-trained athlete may have a standard resting heart rate near 40 beats per minute. A higher resting heart rate is known as tachycardia. If you have tachycardia, you should see your doctor. Similarly, if you have a heart rate below 60 and you experience dizziness, fainting or fainting, you should see your doctor.
Why should I use an oximeter?
People with respiratory diseases or conditions should use the oximeter systematically and follow their physician’s instructions. Healthy people should have oximetry at least once a year to ensure their health.
If you suspect you have a respiratory disease and suffer from fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath or fainting, you should see a doctor for tests. In this case, the oximeter can help to measure your vital signs and detect if you suffer from any irregularity.
In addition, individuals with COVID-19 infection may initially have mild symptoms and be at home during the illness or may have had a brief hospitalization and continue to progress at home. Infrequently, a patient may manifest respiratory distress. Occasionally, with the oximeter, these individuals may be able to identify decreased saturation early before symptoms develop. This situation tends to be more common in the elderly—evidence of low saturation warrants medical consultation.