What is a Pulse Oximeter and Why You Need to Own One?

The use of pulse oximeters has soared over the last few years, with doctors and nurses checking patients’ oxygen saturation levels to determine if they have a severe condition that may need hospitalization. 

They are so popular because they are a quick and convenient way to measure blood oxygen levels. The question is why you might want to keep one in your house.

What is a Pulse Oximeter?

Essentially, it is an instrument used to measure the concentration of oxygen in the blood and the blood’s parameters such as temperature, pulse rate, and blood pressure. 

The advantage of these items is that it is a quick and non-invasive method to check your vital signs and see how efficiently your blood is transporting oxygen around your body. 

The best pulse oximeter devices are used in patient care and in research to monitor the health of the body. It is a machine used by nurses, doctors, and paramedics who need to monitor the patient’s vital signs and find the right solution to the patient’s illness. 

Using a clip-like device, it attaches to bodily parts, such as the earlobe or the toe. The device is most commonly placed on the finger and is frequently used in critical care settings like hospitals or emergency rooms. 

Your blood saturation level is measured as the SpO2 level and has an error window of 2 percent. 

What Is a Typical Level?

ABG levels are generally within the range of 80 to 100 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for healthy lungs. 

An average blood oxygen level (SpO2) is between 95 percent and 100 percent. Therefore, any reading below the minimum 95 percent window could cause concern and might be hypoxemia. You should consult a doctor immediately if this is the case.

pulse oximeter

How Pulse Oximeters Work

It is a portable sensor that connects to a blood pressure cuff and is placed on the patient’s finger. The pulse oximeter has a small sensor and a blood pressure cuff that is attached to a belt. It essentially works by shining a light beam through a finger and measuring the amount of light that penetrates the skin.

When Would You Use One? 

Several things can be made more convenient by having one of these at home, and the list includes:

  • Assess the effectiveness of new lung medications.
  • An assessment of any breathing difficulties you might be suffering.
  • Evaluate a ventilator’s efficiency.
  • Monitoring blood oxygen levels during or after surgeries.
  • To observe an athlete’s performance.
  • During sleep, check to see if a person with sleep apnea stops breathing briefly.

Conditions That Require Constant Blood Oxygen Monitoring 

Several illnesses can benefit from this instrument as it provides data on how to treat the condition, informing you of what to do. For example, if you have any of the following illnesses, you might consider keeping one at home.

pulse oximeter

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. The term describes a group of conditions affecting the lungs and airways. COPD is most often caused when the airways in the lungs get clogged and stop working. 

COPD is not the same as asthma, which is an acute inflammation of the airways. This illness comes on slowly and is often triggered by smoking and inhaling other harmful substances. Symptoms of lung damage can occur due to shortness of breath if left untreated.

 It can make it difficult to breathe, causing symptoms such as wheezing and cough, and after a while, it can lead to a loss of lung capacity. A pulse oximeter can keep you aware of how your body is functioning, which in turn will give you a warning of oncoming symptoms.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a lung infection that is caused by bacteria. It is caused by inhaling bacteria or other microorganisms. The disease may affect the lungs and airways of the body. This condition is often treated first in a hospital and monitored by physicians.

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 However, once they decide that you can go home, you will still need to monitor your blood oxygen levels to check your healing progress. Older people are more susceptible to this condition, and having one of these devices in their homes could help to warn them of any onset.

Anemia

Anemia is a condition where the body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells. Anemia is widespread, and it occurs when the red blood cells are lost from the body. 

There are several different types of anemia. Anemia is usually hereditary, which is why it is also called congenital anemia. People with chronic anemia may consider keeping one in their home if they have the iron deficiency variety.

Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital heart defects (CHD) result from an abnormal formation of the heart in the womb. Congenital heart defects can be mild, moderate, or severe. 

are often diagnosed very early in life, and the most harmful variety can cause severe problems and even death. Therefore, patients with this abnormality will usually be prescribed a pulse oximeter so that they can monitor their condition constantly.

COVID-19

More recently, these medical instruments are being used to monitor the effects of COVID-19 on infected patients.

 A low SpO2 level is thought to be a symptom of this virus, and many people bought a device to monitor themselves and their families just in case.

Non-medical reasons

Additionally, a pulse oximeter will also help you improve your fitness level, which is another reason you might want to invest in one. 

Even though they are commonly used in medical settings, they have recently become an essential tool for athletes. 

They provide a snapshot of your body’s oxygen consumption capabilities, which are key performance indicators and can warn you of potential problems if you train hard or have a tendency to overtrain.

A pulse oximeter measures the blood’s oxygen saturation level by attaching it to the finger using a portable device. 

It is typically used in hospitals but can be used at home for those with certain medical conditions or to improve their fitness training. In addition, it is beneficial for those who train at a professional level.