Whether or not you know it, your blood contains a specific amount of oxygen. The specific level of oxygen in your blood can tell you a great deal about your current health. If you’re suffering from a breathing or circulation problem, there is a good chance that your blood oxygen level will be low. This is generally referred to as Hypoxemia. Below, you will learn all about this condition, its basics and the common causes.

Understanding Arterial Oxygen

First and foremost, you should take the time to familiarize yourself with the normal amount of oxygen in the blood. In general, the normal arterial oxygen levels should range between 75 and 100 millimeters of mercury. Those that have less than 60mm HG in their blood will need supplemental oxygen. You can test your blood oxygen levels at home by utilizing a pulse oximeter. When using one of these devices, 95 to 100% is generally considered to be normal. Anything below 90% should be considered low.

blood oxygen monitor

What Is Needed To Maintain Normalcy

In order to maintain the appropriate blood oxygen levels, a handful of factors will need to be present. Below, you will find a handful of factors, which can lead to Hypoxemia.

  • The air you’re currently breathing must have enough oxygen

  • Your lungs must be functioning properly. They should inhale oxygen, while exhaling carbon dioxide

  • The bloodstream is able to circulate the blood to the lungs, while carrying the oxygen throughout the body

If there is a flaw at any stage, the blood oxygen levels in your body will drop. Hypoxemia is also commonly associated with a handful of different health problems. While Hypoxemia is commonly associated with health complications, it may also be linked to exercise and residing in high altitudes.

Possible Symptoms

Those suffering from Hypoxemia will be likely to experience a handful of symptoms. The severity of the symptoms tends to deviate from one patient to the next. Nonetheless, the most common will be provided below.

  • Headaches

  • Shortness of breath

  • Confusion

  • Restlessness

If you suffer from a combination of these symptoms, it is highly likely that Hypoxemia is the problem. In order to treat the problem, it is essential to locate the source cause. Depending on the condition at play, it may be essential to continue monitoring your blood levels with an oximeter regularly.

Hypoxemia Causes

Millions of people are suffering from respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), with an occasional flare-up. During these flare-ups, the individual will exhibit shortness of breath, hypoxemia and confusion. Other conditions that are linked to hypoxemia include:

  • Anemia

  • Congenital heart defects (children and adults)

  • Emphysema

  • Interstitial lung disease

  • Pulmonary edema

  • Sleep apnea

  • Pulmonary embolism

Opioids and anesthetics are also linked to hypoxemia, causing respiratory depression. In this case, the condition is often linked to an exacerbation of one of the diseases listed above. This is why patients being administered opioids and anesthetics must be monitored very carefully. Most physicians will advise their patients to avoid taking opioids or other types of pain medications.

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