Ways to Measure Your Blood Oxygen Levels


One should be able to check blood pressure, sugar level, and oxygen level of their own and family at home. These basic personal health solutions and medical tests can save many lives in case of emergency.

In other cases, even if you want to get these tests done by health care professionals, you should have basic knowledge about them. That includes their use in diagnosis and link with the particular disease, how to perform them, and the equipment used for the particular test.

Tests to measure blood oxygen levels are used for diagnosis and monitoring of lung infections. We can also check blood pH levels and diagnose breathing difficulties as well.

Following are some tests used to track oxygen level in the blood:

  • Blood Gas Test

It is used to accurately measure blood oxygen and carbon dioxide level. Thus you can check whether your lungs are working normally or if you need oxygen therapy.

Depending upon the source from where we take the sample, there are two types of blood gas tests.

  • Arterial blood gas test: if we take the sample from the wrist
  • Capillary blood gas test: if we take the sample from the earlobe

A negative result means your blood has low oxygen or high carbon dioxide levels. In that case, your breathing will be shallow at night. For this, you should use a ventilator device.

  • Pulse Oximetry

This test is used to check the oxygen saturation level of the blood. By oxygen saturation, we mean the oxygen-carrying capacity of the hemoglobin. The best pulse oximeter is a simple sensor device that can measure your blood oxygen level painlessly. Simply place it over your finger or earlobe and it will shine to show the oxygen level present in the blood.

Pulse oximeters can be used at home but their results are not always accurate. Before trying it at home consult with the doctor or health care professional.

  • Hypoxic Challenge (Fitness-to-fly) Test

As the name indicates, it is used to examine blood oxygen levels during a flight. If you are planning a flight, you should consult the health care professional whether you need this test in advance.

In a sitting position, you are asked to wear a face mask that contains low oxygen levels to breathe. After that, your blood sample will be taken from your wrist or earlobe and the oxygen level is checked through it.

  • Long Term Oxygen Therapy (LTOT) Assessment

Sometimes oxygen levels are low enough that the person requires oxygen therapy. These oxygen levels can be checked through a set of tests known as LTOT assessments. These tests are used to diagnose patients with long-term medical conditions like asthma, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, or COPD.

These are some popular ways to check your blood oxygen level. They can be carried out in health care units, at hospitals, or by chemists. Whenever you are going to perform them at home, try to do them under the supervision of a health care professional or chemist. Otherwise, you should practice at least one or two times before finally performing it on someone.