What is a normal blood oxygen level (and how can I test mine?)

Published on March 13, 2020

We all need oxygen to survive!  When your body is producing the correct amount of oxygen, your blood will travel around your body more efficiently helping your vital organs to function correctly, which results in better all-round health. 

Why should I measure blood oxygen levels?

We measure blood oxygen levels in our bodies to ensure that everything is working as it should be. Your blood oxygen levels indicate the amount of oxygen that your red blood cells are carrying around your body, if the levels dip too low you can become unwell.

What can affect my oxygen levels?

There are various factors that can affect the levels of oxygen in your body, some are ongoing conditions, and some are more circumstantial. 

Reasons that oxygen saturation can drop include:

  • Suffocation
  • Choking
  • Infections and viruses, such as pneumonia or Coronavirus (COVID19)
  • Drowning
  • Diseases, including emphysema, lung cancer, and COPD
  • Heart failure or an ongoing heart condition
  • Stroke
  • Allergic reactions
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Being put under a general anaesthetic

How can you measure blood oxygen levels?

There are several ways to test blood oxygen saturation (the amount of oxygen being carried around our body by your red blood cells).  These include: A finger pulse oximeter, A blood gas test, Long term oxygen therapy, and A hypoxic challenge (a fitness to fly test). 

You can use a Finger Pulse Oximeter to measure your blood oxygen at home – see below.

Can I check my blood oxygen levels at home?

Kinetik finger pulse oximeter with lanyard

Yes!  Using a Finger Pulse Oximeter, which is a small device that is attached to your finger to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood travelling round your body.  The Oximeter takes an SpO2 reading – an estimation of the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Oxygen is carried around your body in your red blood cells by a molecule called haemoglobin. A finger pulse oximeter measures how much oxygen the haemoglobin in your blood is carrying. This is called the oxygen saturation and is a percentage (scored out of 100).

What is a normal blood oxygen level (SpO2 reading)?

An SpO2 reading of 95% or more is generally considered to be a normal oxygen level. An SpO2 reading of 92% or less could indicate that your blood is poorly saturated.  Insufficient saturation can cause issues such as chest pain, shortness of breath and increased heart rate.

Oxygen levels below 90% are considered abnormally low and would be classed as a medical emergency.

Who should be most concerned about their blood oxygen levels?

People who suffer from a lung condition, such as COPD may need to monitor their SpO2 levels more often as they may have a lower blood oxygen level than a healthier person.  Monitoring levels can detect any problems.

People suffering from respiratory conditions such as Asthma, or Cardiovascular conditions may also benefit from more regular monitoring of their blood oxygen levels for the same reasons.

If you are thought to be suffering from an infection or virus such as pneumonia or the most recent Coronavirus outbreak, you will have your blood oxygen levels tested and monitored.  This is to determine the severity of the infection, and to monitor your oxygen levels if you may need or are receiving treatment.  See more about what happens when you are tested for Coronavirus in this video.

The Kinetik Finger Pulse Oximeter – monitor your SpO2 levels at home

The Kinetik Wellbeing Finger Pulse Oximeter was developed in partnership with St John Ambulance, and is used by NHS Scotland.  It is a compact device that makes taking an SP02 reading at home very quick and easy.  Our Oximeter is a certified class lla medical device that uses ultra-low power and can be safely used in or out of your home to check your blood oxygen levels and pulse rate.  It comes with a handy lanyard and batteries for portable and convenient use and is ultra-simple to set up. 

You can order your Kinetik Finger Pulse Oximeter directly for only £19.99 from our online shop.

We are open, working hard and still dispatching orders during this COVID-19 outbreak, but please expect delays of up to 7 days versus our normal delivery standards. Thank you for your understanding.
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