This Ol’ Heart of Mine

February is the month of Valentines, cupid and big, red hearts.  What would February be without them all?  Especially hearts!  For those of us using supplemental oxygen, we know that our hearts pump our blood, which carries oxygen to all of our vital organs.  We can easily keep track of our blood oxygen levels by using a portable finger pulse oximeter.

The technology behind a pulse oximeter is fairly simple: light waves read the amount of oxygen in our blood and that number is given a numerical value, based on a percentage.  It’s really that easy.

A finger pulse oximeter is also easy to use!  It’s a small device that clips onto one of our fingers.  Several things can affect the accuracy of the reading, so it is important to keep the hand still, make sure that the finger is warm and not have nail polish on or acrylic nails. 

What’s a normal pulse oximeter reading?  Usually 90% to 100% is acceptable, however, everyone is different and some people will function just fine with a lower number.  Ask your doctor for a recommendation as to what your target “blood saturation” level should be.

Are there symptoms associated with a low blood oxygen level?  Symptoms can include shortness of breath at rest or with exertion, shortness of breath that wakes you up from sleep, fatigue and confusion.  If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor or call 9-1-1, if symptoms persist.

At American Medical Sales & Repair, we have several finger pulse oximeters available, ranging from the Evo (sports model) to the SeQual and Nonin medical models, which require a prescription from your doctor.  Our friendly and experienced staff always has our customers’ best interests “at heart,” because when you breathe easier, we breathe easier!

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

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