Oxygen saturation (Sa0₂) refers to the circulation of oxygen in the bloodstream; typically, levels above 95% are considered healthy and below 90% problematic. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) conditions often have low oxygen saturation levels, leading to shortness of breath, lethargy, fatigue, weakness, and many more severe problems. Medical intervention, such as using oxygen masks, is the best way to deal with a chronic deficit in oxygen saturation levels. Still, there are also methods you can try firsthand to improve your condition. In this article, we read about How to increase oxygen level?
1. Change the way you breathe to increase oxygen level:
1. Breathe slower and more profound
We breathe involuntarily but often ineffective; many adults use only a third of their lung capacity. This can cause a shortage of oxygen in the lungs and, consequently, blood, lowering saturation levels. By breathing slower and more profound, you can improve all of these factors.
- Many adults take about 15 breaths per minute; It has been shown that increasing the pace to 10 breaths per minute has benefits for oxygen saturation.
- Make sure you breathe in through your nose, then take a few seconds to pause. Stay as relaxed as possible while you live. This is known as the Buteyko method and can help improve oxygen saturation.
2. Take a breathing class to get the most health benefits
Committing to breathing slower and deeper from time to time improves oxygen saturation, but you will get better results with permanent changes to the way you live. Both healthy people and those with respiratory diseases can improve their oxygen saturation with specific courses.
- Especially if you have conditions like COPD, talk to your doctor about taking breathing courses.
- You can also seek out guided breathing classes outside the clinical setting by signing up for a yoga class or taking diaphragmatic breathing classes (from a breathing or singing teacher).
3. Try coughing to increase oxygen level
Coughing in a controlled manner can help you clear secretions that clog the airways and, as a result, improve oxygen saturation. This is a typical recommendation following surgery to ensure that your airways are always transparent.
- Try coughing a few times and see if this helps you breathe more easily.
4. Try pursed-lip breathing to increase oxygen level
During the day, you can temporarily improve oxygen saturation with this simple exercise. This is one of the simplest ways to draw oxygen slowly and deeply into the lungs. Try these steps:
- Inhale through your nose for about two seconds.
- Pucker your lips (as if you’re about to kiss) and hold your breath for a beat.
- Exhale while keeping your lips pursed for about six seconds.
- Repeat as many times as you want.
2. Using Medical Therapies:
1. Follow oxygen therapy according to your doctor’s prescription
If you have a chronic deficiency in oxygen saturation due to a condition such as COPD, your doctor may decide to provide you with supplemental oxygen. This treatment involves using oxygen cylinders, hoses, and a cannula that delivers oxygen directly into the nose. Patients who follow prescribed medicines often manage to lead long and reasonably active lives.
- Don’t refuse this treatment because you are worried about being “anchored” to an oxygen tank and bed for life. Portable tanks are not very bulky and allow you to get out and move with more energy and stamina.
2. Learn to check your oxygen saturation and supplement regularly
Patients who need oxygen therapy are usually taught to monitor their saturation by placing a pulse oximeter on their fingers, earlobe, or nose. The operation is quick, simple, non-invasive, and painless.
- Based on your doctor’s recommendations, you can adjust your oxygen supply to compensate for low saturation or smoothly conduct physical activities such as walking or light exercise.
3. Take any medications that your doctor prescribes for you as directed
If your oxygen saturation is low due to COPD or a similar condition, you will likely take medicines in addition to oxygen therapy. These may include control medicines that you will take at regular intervals to improve breathing and lung function and rescue medicines to take when you have more acute breathing difficulties.
- There are many types of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), short- or long-acting beta-2 agonists (SABA & LABA), and other medications that your doctor may prescribe for you. Make sure you understand the instructions for taking them and follow the therapy strictly.
- These drugs are also known as bronchodilators. They increase the diameter of the respiratory tract and favor the increase in oxygenation.
4. Ask your doctor if you need to use a machine (CPAP)
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your airways may not be able to stay open on their own. This can lead to a reduction in oxygen saturation. Ask your doctor if you need to get a PAP or BiPap machine to keep your airways open and increase oxygen saturation.
- These machines have a tube and a mask with which you have to cover your mouth and nose at night.
5. Stay up to date on the latest developments in the medical field
Although oxygen therapy, medications, and breathing courses have been (and continue to be) the most common and often effective treatments for patients with low oxygen saturation levels, new therapies are continually being developed. An example is stem cell treatment, in which these cells are taken from your blood or bone marrow, isolated, and reintroduced into your lungs.
- New treatments may, of course, present risks or not be as effective as was initially desirable. Research to find out what options you have, and consult your treating doctors to determine which treatment plan is best for you.
3. Making Lifestyle Changes:
1. Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke to increase oxygen level
Breathing in the smoke of tobacco products severely damages your lungs and reduces your ability to introduce oxygen into your blood efficiently. If you smoke and have low oxygen saturation levels, quitting is the first and perhaps most important step you can take to fix the problem. Seek the help you need to stop.
- If you use oxygen therapy, smoking is also a high fire risk. Concentrated oxygen is highly flammable, and many people have been severely, or even fatally, burned following cigarette accidents while on oxygen therapy.
2. Breathe in fresher air to increase oxygen level
Oxygen levels in the surrounding atmosphere impact your body’s oxygen saturation; for example, those living at higher altitudes usually have lower saturation levels. The more oxygen and more minor “other things” (such as dust, particulates, smoke, and more) circulate in the air you breathe, the better your saturation will be.
- If you live in an area where the air is clean, open a window or go out. Keep plants indoors to improve oxygen levels. Dust and clean regularly. If you wish, invest in air filters.
- Don’t expect these tips to increase your oxygen saturation levels significantly; you should follow them along with other changes.
3. Lose excess weight if necessary
If your body mass index (BMI) exceeds recommended levels, the extra weight will likely make you breathe harder and less efficiently. Lower BMI levels have been shown to correlate with higher oxygen saturation levels.
- Plus, even if your saturation stays the same, losing weight will help you use oxygen in your body. The principle is similar to that of an unladen car, which uses fuel more efficiently.
4. Exercise wisely to increase oxygen level
Aerobic activity by itself does not increase oxygen saturation, but it does allow you to use the oxygen in your blood more efficiently. Exercises that lead you to lose weight are more likely to have a positive effect on saturation levels.
- If you have COPD or another condition affecting your lung or cardiovascular health, you cannot train as you wish. Together with your doctors, develop a realistic and practical training program for you.
5. Drink more water to increase oxygen level
If you’ve taken a chemistry class, you may remember that a water molecule contains two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Consequently, every time you drink water or eat foods rich in that substance, you introduce oxygen into your body. Drinking gallons and gallons of water doesn’t allow you to solve your saturation problems magically, but regular hydration is an integral part of any patient’s treatment.
- Water is the best choice for hydration, while fruits and vegetables are the best and healthiest food options. For example, try steamed spinach, carrots or green beans, or freshly squeezed juices and smoothies.
- Drinking water can help dissolve mucus in the airways. This helps them stay open, maximizing the oxygen supply.
6. Try sitting down instead of lying down
You can cause a slight but proven increase in oxygen saturation simply by sitting instead of lying down. When you rest or relax, sitting down can help you breathe more deeply and increase saturation. However, don’t use this advice as an excuse not to get up and be active, as improving your fitness provides more significant and permanent benefits.
- You can also change your position to improve breathing and increase oxygen saturation. For example, if you lie down, lift your head off the bed at least 30 degrees. If you raise your head 45-60 °, your saturation can increase further.
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