The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Monitoring blood oxygen levels
For those suffering from chronic lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), monitoring your oxygen level is a crucial component of an effective treatment strategy. An oxygen saturation meter, or pulse oximeter, is a great way to stay on top of your blood oxygen level. Pulse oximeters are easy to use, non-invasive and portable. But not all pulse oximeters are created equal. We have taken the guesswork out for you and evaluated the best oximeters on the market. Check out our home oxygen saturation meter reviews below.
How does pulse oximetry work?
Before we get into the details, let’s talk about what oximeters are and how they work. When you breathe oxygen into your lungs, it passes through your lungs and into your bloodstream. The majority of the oxygen attaches to hemoglobin (a protein located inside of your red blood cells) and is transported to all of the tissues in your body via the bloodstream. An oximeter is clipped onto a body part like a finger or ear lobe, and measures the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream. The device shoots light through one side, and the other side reads how much light shines through your skin. Oxygen-rich hemoglobin absorbs more light, so the less light that makes it through your ear lobe or finger, the more oxygen you have in your bloodstream. The pulse oximeter measures the light and converts the information into a digital readout. This helps lung disease sufferers understand when they need to use supplemental oxygen.
What to look for in an oximeter
When shopping for an oximeter, there are some key features that you should look for:
- Accuracy indicator: Look for an oximeter that utilizes a warning light that lets you know when the reading might be inaccurate.
- Alarms: Many oximeters are equipped with alarms that alert the user when oxygen saturation level is low.
- Readability of displayed measurements: Make sure it is easy for you to read and understand the display. Some people prefer certain colors or larger text.
- Durability and battery life: If you will be using your oximeter frequently, purchase one that can stand a little wear and tear with extended battery life.
Top pulse oximeters
For the sake of this report, we only investigated finger oximeters, which are the most common. Here are the top three oximeters on the market, in our opinion, and price points:
- Choicemed Fingertip Pulse Oximeter, $23-35
- Contec Medical Systems CMS 50-DL Pulse Oximeter, $17-20
- SantaMedical Finger Pulse Oximeter SM-110, $25-100
In addition to pulse oximeters, another tool that you can use is a pulse oximeter app that you can download on your smartphone. The app is $2.99 and requires no additional equipment. Click here to view in the iTunes app store and for a quick description as to how it works.
When living with chronic lung disease, symptom management is key in handling the disorder. Utilizing a pulse oximeter helps you keep your eye on your oxygen level and allow you to supplement accordingly. If you or a loved one is suffering from a lung disease, contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you qualify for stem cell therapy as a treatment option.