Pulse Oximetry–Lung and Heart Health

One of the hallmarks of the Wuhan, China Covid-19 infection is the inability to breathe, difficulty in perfusing the lungs and body with oxygen. Unfortunately it has caused respiratory collapse in many individuals leading to their untimely deaths. This is especially sad when you consider many of the victims had underlying respiratory and cardiac conditions like COPD, Asthma, Congestive Heart Failure and Emphysema. So the question remains, when do you call your doctor?

A normal oxygen saturation percentage for a person who is resting or not doing strenuous activity is about 95% or greater. Lower values, especially if consistent, are troublesome and should be checked out with your healthcare provider. In some Covid-19 patients, values as low as 70% have been seen.  If you are feeling light-headed, out of breath or have a fast heart-rate, check out your pulse ox. immediately.

The unit I recommend is driven by batteries, is portable and can be shared between individuals since it is non-invasive. People always ask me what are some of the key emergency items I keep at home just in case someone is in trouble. One of the items at the top of my list is a portable pulse oximeter. Always have this available. It might save your life and alert you when you are in trouble!

Here’s a great link from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine that explains the principles of pulse oximetry. If you suspect Covid-19 symptoms and are having breathing issues, check your pulse ox right away!

Principles of Pulse Oximetry

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