How to Increase Blood Oxygen (Spo2) Levels
The blood in our bodies delivers oxygen to all our cells when we breathe. Red blood cells bind with oxygen as you take a deep breath and carry it into your bloodstream and throughout the body.
Oxygen plays a critical role in the human body; it helps with circulation, supports a healthy immune system, and, most importantly, provides the body with energy.
Some people may need to measure the oxygen in their blood, known as oxygen saturation or blood oxygen levels, and can do so using pulse oximetry. They use a pulse oximeter, a noninvasive device that painlessly determines the ratio of blood cells carrying oxygen to empty cells.
Along with monitoring their oxygen saturation, some people may need to raise their blood oxygen levels for their bodies to function properly. This post will discuss the safe methods of raising blood oxygen levels and how to maintain normal blood oxygen saturation levels for your health.
Can You Raise SpO2 Levels?
There are many ways you can raise your body’s blood oxygen level for medical reasons.
Blood oxygen should be as close to 100% as possible. Generally speaking, a normal range is considered at or above 93%. People with respiratory or breathing problems or medical conditions may present a lower oxygen saturation level, anywhere from 88% to 90%.
We will go into greater detail about ways to naturally increase blood oxygen level, but the main ways it can be improved are through breathing techniques, fresh air, and mindful posture, to name a few.
Can SpO2 Be Increased with Medication?
If someone has dangerously low blood oxygen levels, their doctor will most likely recommend they go to the hospital to avoid any risks to their health.
Low blood oxygen levels are usually treated with supplemental oxygen therapy, which provides patients with higher amounts of oxygen than in a normal room.
Supplemental oxygen can help raise a patient’s overall blood oxygen level, whether they are in good health or have other medical conditions.
Supplemental oxygen is typically delivered through a face mask or a nasal cannula, a pronged plastic hose that goes inside the nostrils. Oxygen therapy is a short-term treatment option that can help avoid other medical problems in the long run.
Still, your doctor will likely recommend steps to increase blood oxygen level and maintain a healthy oxygen level.
Someone with a low blood oxygen level (hypoxemia) or breathing problems usually has a pre-existing medical condition. For these patients, supplemental oxygen therapy may be a long-term solution. These conditions include the following:
- COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Cystic fibrosis
- Sleep apnea
- Congenital heart disease
These patients may be on medications specific to their conditions. The medication can help improve their oxygen saturation levels, among other side effects of the chronic illness.
How to Naturally Increase SpO2
If your doctor recommends a pulse oximeter to monitor your blood oxygen level, staying on top of it is essential. Low blood oxygen levels, or hypoxemia, can be a severe condition and may damage individual organs, including the brain and the heart.
The good news is that naturally increasing your blood oxygen level can be done in a few ways.
1. Perform breathing exercises
Simple but intentional breathing exercises will effectively open the airways and increase the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream, resulting in a higher blood oxygen level. These breathing exercises include diaphragmatic or belly breathing, 4-7-8 breathing, and nose breathing.
2. Practice tall posture
Slouching or poor posture can put more pressure on your lungs, making breathing more difficult. Try to practice sitting and standing tall with your shoulders back and your core engaged.
3. Quit smoking
Quitting smoking can drastically improve the functionality of your lungs in a short time. The stronger your lungs are, the more oxygen will pass through your bloodstream, raising your oxygen saturation levels.
4. Drink plenty of water
When the lungs are properly hydrated, they will move oxygen through your bloodstream more efficiently. Make a conscious effort to increase your water intake and see how it improves your breathing and blood oxygen level.
5. Exercise regularly
If you have low oxygen levels, increasing the amount of exercise you get will help improve your breathing, strength, and endurance to help you achieve a normal blood oxygen level faster.
How to Keep SpO2 High
Maintaining oxygen levels in a normal range is critical to keep your blood properly saturated so your tissues and cells can function properly.
Follow your doctor’s instructions and recommendations explicitly. The Internet has a lot of helpful resources, but you should only follow the medical advice of your doctor, healthcare team, or verified health experts.
If you have questions or concerns, call their office for advice rather than seeking a diagnosis online.
However, most medical organizations agree that if your oxygen level goes below 92%, you should call your doctor, especially if it stays low for a long time. An oxygen level below 88% is extremely dangerous, and you should immediately go to the nearest hospital.
Make sure you’re getting enough oxygen by testing often with a pulse oximeter. Keep a log or journal of your oxygen saturation levels and your activities that day that kept the reading in a normal range.
Determine what activities, breathing techniques, and actions help keep your oxygen levels high, and make those a part of your daily routine. Staying active through physical exercise makes your lungs, heart, and muscles stronger.
As your fitness level improves, your lungs and the rest of your body will become more efficient at dispersing oxygen into the bloodstream, resulting in improved blood oxygen saturation.
Establishing healthy fitness routines can serve your body in many beneficial ways, so you must find activities you enjoy consistently.
How to Increase SpO2 At Home
If you need to increase your blood oxygen level at home, a pulse oximeter sensor is the best device to guide you. Pulse oximeters attach to a part of the body, like a finger or toe, to measure blood oxygen saturation levels.
The oximeter typically provides results within a 2% difference from the actual reading. A few factors that impact its accuracy include nail polish, direct sun exposure, too much movement, or clammy hands.
Once you have a pulse oximeter at home to monitor your levels, increasing oxygen levels can be done in a few ways.
1. Test your green thumb
Buy a few houseplants for your home. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, improving the air quality you breathe indoors.
Plants help to mimic an outdoor setting indoors, so the air in your home will be fresher.
2. Increase your fresh air intake
Opening up the windows in your home and letting fresh air in is an effective way to increase your fresh air intake.
If you’re able, going for a walk will also increase the oxygen your lungs bring in to raise your body’s overall blood oxygen saturation.
3. Eat foods rich in iron
Foods like meat, legumes, leafy green vegetables, fish, poultry, raisins, peas, eggs, and pomegranates can help boost your energy levels, increasing your blood oxygen level.
Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and an alkaline pH will help keep the blood flowing and maintain healthy oxygen levels. Vitamins A and B complex are particularly helpful, along with copper and nitric oxide.
The Dangers of a Low Oxygen Level (Hypoxemia)
The most common causes of hypoxemia are pre-existing or underlying medical conditions that may or may not have been diagnosed in a patient yet.
These typically include heart and lung conditions, like COPD, sleep apnea, and congenital heart failure in adults.
Hypoxemia is usually treated via oxygen therapy or a ventilator if it is severe enough. Medications and inhalers often help patients with conditions like COPD. Those who need oxygen support long-term can receive it at the hospital or by using a portable machine.
If gone untreated, hypoxemia can be fatal. The longer your blood has low oxygen levels, the more dangerous the outcome. A lack of consistent oxygen can directly impact the brain and heart.
Managing underlying conditions that may result in a low blood oxygen level is critical to your health to avoid a dangerous situation. Be clear with your doctor about precautions you should take when traveling or taking medication, and be aware of the side effects of doing so.