When to Use a Pulse Oximeter

When to Use a Pulse Oximeter

Pulse oximeters are arguably the trendiest at-home gadget of COVID-19. Thanks to their ability to detect oxygen levels in the blood, many people are buying and using their own pulse oximeters as a way to check they don’t have silent hypoxia – a symptom of advanced Coronavirus that causes blood oxygen levels to rapidly fall without a person being aware of it. 

But this tiny medical device does far more than detect a common symptom of Coronavirus. If you’re curious to learn about the most common uses of a pulse oximeter, read on. 

1. Detecting pneumonia 

Pneumonia is one of the common side effects of COVID-19. It causes inflammation and infection of the lungs, which often leads to blockages at the alveoli, the tiny air sacs that absorb oxygen into the blood. As a result, it is common to experience low levels of blood oxygen, or hypoxemia, due to pneumonia. 

The pulse oximeters sold by and other medical device manufacturers can be used by doctors who are treating pneumonia patients and need to ensure that patients remain in a stable condition. 

2. Managing anemia 

Anemia is a condition characterised by low iron levels in the blood. You can become anemic if you don’t get enough iron from your foods, which can reduce the number of healthy red blood cells in your body. As red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen around your body, it makes sense that a lack of iron can lead to hypoxemia. 

A pulse oximeter can help someone with severe anemia to manage their oxygen levels and determine when oxygen supplementation is required. Their advantage of portability means that they can be used at home as a precautionary tool on a daily basis. 

3. Measuring the severity of asthma attacks

Asthma is a condition that causes narrow and swollen airways. While many people with asthma are able to live almost entirely normal lives thanks to available medication, complications of the condition can prove fatal. 

People with asthma can use a pulse oximeter to measure the severity of their asthma attacks and decide whether medical intervention is necessary. If the pulse oximeter detects that a person’s blood oxygen levels are low for an extended period of time, they will need to seek help as soon as possible. 

4. Managing COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, known as COPD for short, is the name given for a collection of respiratory conditions that damage the lungs and make it difficult to breathe. Currently, COPD is incurable, though it can be treated to improve a person’s quality of life and reduce their need for major medical intervention, such as surgery. 

Preventing COPD flare-ups is most easily done when symptoms are properly managed. As one of the symptoms of COPD is hypoxemia, using a pulse oximeter on a regular basis can help COPD patients to make sure they’re responding well to treatment. Many people with advanced COPD have their own source of oxygen, which they can administer whenever they need relief.  

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