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What Are Normal Blood Oxygen Levels?

Updated November 21, 2016

Blood oxygen levels tell your doctor how much oxygen is travelling through your blood to the cells in your body. Without enough oxygen, your cells will begin to die, which can cause life-threatening complications.

Measurement

Levels of blood oxygen are measured using an oximeter, which is attached to your finger, or through a blood test using one of the arteries.

Results

According to the Mayo Clinic, the blood oxygen level test should show at least a 95 per cent level. Levels between 80 per cent and 94 per cent are considered low but anything lower is a sign of hypoxaemia.

Causes

Changes in normal blood oxygen amounts can be caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), anaemia, shock, sleep apnoea, pneumonia, carbon monoxide and almost any health condition that affects oxygen or red blood cell levels.

Complications

When blood oxygen levels drop too low, you may experience shortness of breath, confusion and fatigue.

Prevention

Levels can be kept normal if you do not smoke and if you strengthen your lungs by doing cardiovascular exercises.

References

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About the Author

Amy Jorgensen has ghostwritten more than 100 articles and books on raising and training animals. She is also an amateur dog trainer. She has also written more than 200 blog posts, articles, and ebooks on wedding and party planning on behalf of professionals in the field.