Oxygen saturation or the percentage of oxygen dissolved in the bloodstream relative to total blood hemoglobin is a measure of the quantity of pure oxygen carried by blood, a measure of a person’s overall health.
Oxygen is the major force of metabolism and when blood carries insufficient amounts of this energy-giving gas the body cannot burn it as fuel. In most species a steady blood level of oxygen is required for optimum health.
The body’s ability to burn food when necessary is called anaerobic respiration. During aerobic respiration the body uses energy from glucose in the bloodstream to break down proteins and carbohydrates. During aerobic respiration there is a constant exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen between the lungs and the bloodstream. In order for the body to store energy in this way it needs to have a high percentage of pure oxygen in its blood stream.
The human body needs and maintains a certain and precise equilibrium of oxygen in its blood and tissues. However, healthy humans need only about 10% of pure oxygen in their blood for optimal functioning. As adults, however, the ratio of pure oxygen in blood decreases because the lungs no longer need as much energy to extract oxygen. This leaves the body with less than half of the amount needed to maintain normal health. As the oxygen content of the bloodstream continues to decrease with age, this can cause the body to develop age-related diseases like memory loss and impaired vision.
The blood’s oxygen content decreases even further as people get older. As the cells of the heart and brain, which use oxygen as fuel, become more efficient at converting oxygen into energy, their oxygen demand also decreases. The body also needs less oxygen for respiration and this reduces the oxygen level in blood.
In order to maintain healthy health a person must have a good quality of life, good nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate rest. An individual’s ability to fight off disease and live long lives depends largely on the quantity and quality of pure oxygen that is carried by the blood stream.
Healthy individuals may not always experience symptoms when they are below the required level of pure oxygen saturation.
For some it may be difficult to recognize any effect on the body unless they experience symptoms. a bout of hypoxia or breathing difficulties. For others, however, the effects of the condition can be quite devastating.
It is important for those who experience hypoxia to seek medical attention immediately to avoid permanent damage to the body or brain cells caused by oxygen deprivation. Signs of hypoxia include nausea, headache, fatigue, blurred vision, irregular breathing, and fainting. The symptoms of hypoxia can sometimes be confused with other conditions, but usually can be attributed to a lack of oxygen supplied by the lungs.
Many people are able to maintain a healthy and normal life without the support of oxygen therapy as long as they keep their oxygen level constant, consume healthy diets and get sufficient rest. If a person is experiencing breathing difficulties, it may be necessary to seek emergency care.
In some cases when low oxygen levels affect people, their doctor may recommend an immediate medical intervention. Oxygen therapy is often recommended for individuals who have anemia, have had recent surgeries, have heart surgery, or those who are suffering from conditions like COPD or emphysema. which causes increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood stream. The oxygen level in the blood is monitored by a medical monitoring device that is worn on the wrist.
Therapy is usually given through a ventilator or a pump. The pump is attached to the chest and can provide the patient with supplemental oxygen while allowing the other person to receive a sufficient amount of oxygen for breathing and proper breathing.
The therapy is designed to improve the body’s ability to absorb and utilize oxygen as well as to help reduce the risk of oxygen starvation. It can help people prevent the development of chronic lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or even stroke.
There are several medical professionals available who specialize in oxygen therapy. To find a qualified professional in your area, look in your telephone directory or seek information online.