How to raise your blood oxygen level

Written by amanda goldfarb
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How to raise your blood oxygen level
Pulse oximeter on a patient's finger. (Jochen Sand/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Oxygen is a gas necessary to support human life. The human body uses oxygen as a source of energy. "Blood oxygen level" and "oxygen saturation" are terms used interchangeably to describe the concentration of oxygen in the blood. "Hypoxaemia," or low levels of oxygen within the blood, can cause confusion, difficulty moving and even brain and organ damage. Raising your blood oxygen level can alleviate the symptoms of hypoxaemia and boost energy levels.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pulse oximeter
  • Supplemental oxygen

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  1. 1

    Attach a pulse oximeter to your fingertip. A pulse oximeter is a noninvasive medical device that measures, by sending lights through a transparent surface of the body, the percentage of your blood saturated with oxygen. The machine then displays a numbered percentage. A normal reading for a healthy individual is 95 to 100; a normal reading for someone with a respiratory disorder may be lower. Pulse oximeters are found in most hospitals and clinics; clinicians are usually willing to do a quick reading. Smaller, portable units can also be purchased online or in health supply stores for at-home use. They range in price from £13 to £65, depending on manufacturer and additional features, such as heart-rate monitoring, size and memory capabilities.

  2. 2

    Sit in a relaxed position. During activities the body consumes more of the available oxygen in the blood. Many times, simply taking a moment to relax can significantly raise the blood oxygen level.

  3. 3

    Take five slow, deep breaths. The air in the atmosphere is composed of a mixture of several gases, including nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Each breath contains approximately 20-percent oxygen. Taking a few slow deep breaths will enable the lungs to expand fully, taking in the optimum amount of available oxygen and expelling the carbon dioxide.

  4. 4

    Use a supplemental oxygen source to increase the percentage of oxygen within the blood. An oxygen tank with a face mask set at 15 litres per minute can deliver 100-percent oxygen to the lungs.

Tips and warnings

  • Nail polish can impede a pulse oximeter reading.

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