How much oxygen your red blood cells carry indicates what your oxygen levels are. Your body regulates it. And if your blood oxygen level is under 60 millimeters of mercury, you may need for supplemental oxygen.
Many factors go into whether your blood has enough supply. For example, there must be enough oxygen in the air that you’re breathing, to begin with. That’s why people who travel to extremely high altitudes, like by hiking Mount Everest, have no choice but to use an oxygen mask.
Your body must be able to inhale that oxygen air, and your bloodstream must be able to circulate it. If any of these areas are lacking, you may need oxygen therapy.
But how can you be sure that’s the case? Keep reading to uncover signs that you may not be getting enough oxygen.
What Does Oxygen Do for Us?
Before we get into signs to look for, let’s first touch on the importance of oxygen and how much it does for our bodies.
Simply put, oxygen is vital to human life. It’s a gas that is found naturally in the air that we breathe. Even though oxygen is one of the most abundant elements in our atmosphere, some people still can’t get enough of it.
For your organs and your body to function correctly, they need to get enough oxygen. Your body needs it to effectively nourish every part of your body from your cells to your organs.
Hypoxemia May Occur with Low Levels
Hypoxemia may occur when your blood oxygen levels drop to lower than average. It can happen suddenly, like if you’re hiking Mount Everest. Or it can occur over more extended periods.
Either way, it requires immediate medical attention for an individual to live a healthy life.
What Conditions May Hinder Your Ability to Get Enough?
Some people don’t have the ability to get enough oxygen and circulate it properly.
Below are some of the conditions that may stop you from getting enough.
- A severe asthma attack
- Cystic fibrosis
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Sleep apnea
- Heart diseases, including congenital heart disease
- High altitude
- Interstitial lung disease
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS
- Obstruction of an artery in the lung
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Presence of air or gas in the chest that makes the lungs collapse
- Excess fluid in the lungs
- Certain medications, including some narcotics and painkillers
People who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have some sort of lung disease. It’s characterized by increased breathlessness and often results in hypoxemia.
A combination of the two can cause impaired skeletal muscle function, decreased ability to exercise, lower quality of life, and even an increased risk of death.
If you or anyone you know exhibits any signs or symptoms of hypoxemia, it’s essential that you seek medical attention immediately.
Signs and Symptoms of Low Oxygen Levels
In looking for signs of low oxygen levels, there is a lot to look for. If ANY ONE of these symptoms are apparent and you suspect that you may have a lower than average oxygen level, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Some of the many signs you should know to look for are:
- A sense of euphoria
- Rapid heart rate
- Chest pain
- Elevated blood pressure
- Visual disturbances
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid breathing
- Dizziness, lightheadedness and/or fainting spells
- Lack of coordination
- A bluish tint to the lips, earlobes, and/or nail beds
- Elevated red blood cell count (if it becomes a long term problem)
Oxygen Therapy Can Help
Oxygen therapy is a treatment that provides you with extra oxygen. Even though more often than not, it’s a therapy that’s used in the hospital, it’s also a treatment that can be done at home.
There are several ways in which you can get more oxygen. Which one is best for you should be determined with the help of your doctor.
Long-term therapy has shown to deliver many positives. It has been shown to improve quality of life, enhance an individual’s ability to exercise, and improve cognitive function.
Oxygen can be delivered in 3 ways – by liquid oxygen, through compressed gas, and by a concentrator.
Liquid oxygen systems deliver oxygen by cooling it and forcibly compressing it so that it becomes a liquid. A container is required, and it has to be refilled on a regular basis.
Concentrators Are Very Effective
Oxygen concentrators have the ability to purify the surrounding air and then concentrate the oxygen that is found.
Like most other appliances, they can be plugged into the wall. Some operate using batteries. It’s not the same as an oxygen tank because an oxygen tank has a limited supply of oxygen-rich air and once it’s depleted, it’s gone.
Concentrators use the air that’s around them, so there’s no worry of running out.
It has a cooling mechanism that prevents the machine from overheating. It also has sieve beds that remove nitrogen and other impurities as it pulls air.
Concentrators are an effective way to get extra oxygen, in the comfort of your own home. If you want to check some out, browse here.
Normal Oxygen Levels Are Essential for Health
If you have any of the symptoms that we mentioned above, see your doctor as soon as you can. Normal oxygen levels are essential for a healthy body and mind.
And depending on what your ailment is, oxygen therapy doesn’t have to last forever. And either way, it can be done in the comfort of your own home.
After reading this article, do you feel as though you may just need a detox? Check out how to detox your system by following these 10 tips.