The oximeter is an essential device for cardiac patients
How a pulse oximeter works
Actually, the name says it all.
Pulse and oximeter – stands for pulse measurement and measurement of the oxygen content in the blood.
So this clip does two things at once.
That’s how it works.
The clip must be attached to a part of the body that is relatively thin.
Because the pulse oximeter works with light, or rather with infrared light.
So you can attach it either to the toe, earlobe or finger.
In the hospital, this is usually attached to the fingers because this is the most comfortable option for nurses or patients.
On the upper side, there is a light source that emits infrared signals.
The lower side receives these infrared signals.
There is thus a light source and receiving point that measures the light signals.
Your finger will be completely x-rayed and your blood composition will be examined.
Because, depending on the oxygen content, your blood is lighter or darker in colour.
If such a light signal is now sent, the sensor on the opposite side receives how strong the light is.
This allows the pulse oximeter to determine how much oxygen is in your blood.
The heart rate is also measured at the same time.
Because the clamp can detect your heartbeat by detecting the frequency of the blood.
You can also buy these pulse oximeters for home use.* So if you also want to monitor your pulse and blood composition at home, something like this is a good idea.
How useful are pulse oximeters for home use
Normally these are only used in hospitals or by emergency doctors. Accordingly, these monitoring devices are considered the standard there, since blood pressure and oxygen content provide precise conclusions about the patient’s state of health.
In normal household use, these devices are superfluous. Nevertheless, some athletes, just coming out of endurance sports, measure their values - to call up their current level of performance. Resting heart rate monitors provide similar information, which is completely sufficient for amateur athletes up to marathon runners.
If you depend on sponsorship money and need to get your best performance in the next run, you can use such a device. Everyone else should consider not letting this device put them under too much pressure.
People with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma or COPD, can also have the two important values monitored. However, home measurements always make one thing clear. People drive themselves crazy, constantly measuring something. And they only do this to measure something.
Apparently, the device should give them security. If the values are in order, the world is in order. If the values are bad, you drive yourself crazy. Normally, an ambulance would have to be called, which many people don’t do. This raises the question of why you let a device drive you crazy and let it determine your everyday life. These devices don’t give security. Instead, they make people even more insecure.
How do you use a pulse oximeter?
pulse oximeter colour displays long-term measurement measure oxygen content in the blood and heart rate
MedX5 2.8 ‘TFT colour display, pulse oximeter for long-term measurement with sensor – image source: Amazon *
The pulse oximeter can measure the oxygen content at different parts of the body. In the hospital, it is often used as a finger clip. But you can also attach the device to your earlobe or toe. The attachment works like a clothespin.
However, there are also adhesive sensors that are attached to the body for long-term use. This allows you to move around with the device, you are not restricted and the recording still provides meaningful value.
You should note that the light mode and the light source are always on top of each other. Because the iodine must be able to capture the light from the source in order to be functional.
When using the finger clips, it doesn’t matter which finger you use. This is irrelevant to the meaningfulness of the measurement. In the hospital, the middle or index finger is often used, as this is where the highest finger grip precision is available. Because with the ring finger, due to the motor inability of some people, the device can often get stuck somewhere and then new ones have to be clipped on.
Can you measure wrong?
Measurement errors can occur, which are favoured by various factors:
- nail polish
- cold fingers
- blood pressure too low
- low methemoglobin levels
- Infrared radiation from a heat lamp can also lead to measurement errors. However, this must then be very close to the sensor of the device.
Nail polish or finger fungi impair the light function of the device. As a result, the finger cannot be screened sufficiently, which is why measurement errors occur.
If your fingers are cold or if you are freezing, measurement errors can also occur. Because the body’s protective function ensures that blood is pumped from the outer extremities (fingers, toes, hands, feet) into the body when it’s cold, in order to protect vital organs. This defensive function is essential for survival and is completely normal, but it impairs the analysis function of a finger clip.
What values should the pulse oximeter show?
pulse oximeter pulox measure oxygen content in the blood and heart rate
The Pulox pulse oximeter displays heart rate (pulse) and oxygen saturation in the blood- Image source: Amazon*
96 to 99 % oxygen saturation in the blood is completely normal. However, this value can fluctuate, which can be attributed to the age or the state of health of the person taking the measurement. Smokers typically have around 85% oxygen saturation, which causes non-smokers – who are not used to this – to feel short of breath.
The heart rate is often shown in English spelling. There is then the abbreviation “bpm”, which means “beats per minute” or in German “beats per minute”.
Your heart rate should be around 60 to 80 beats per minute. However, this value can also vary. The resting pulse in the morning, right when you get up, can still be 45 beats. As soon as you move, this can increase to 90 to 100 beats per minute.
In order to analyze both values (pulse + oxygen), it only makes sense – to see the long-term evaluation. If you wake up every morning with a resting heart rate of 45 beats and it’s at 60 one morning, this can indicate an impending illness. Any inflammation or virus hasn’t broken out yet, but your blood is already beginning to fight off the invader.
Why should one know these values?
As already described above, this is often superfluous. Healthy people should not monitor themselves with devices that promise security but actually only lead to insecurity.
Blood oxygen saturation is important because it indicates how well your cells are oxygenated. You breathe in oxygen, which enters the blood via the lungs and every cell in the body is supplied with it through the bloodstream.
In order to be able to do this, water must be present in the blood, as this dissolves iron. One iron protein is haemoglobin. This protein can be thought of as a key. The oxygen is the lock to it. The key fits directly onto the lock and therefore only the haemoglobin in the blood can absorb and transport the necessary oxygen.
The oxygen content or saturation now indicates how high the oxygen content in the blood is. If there is a lack of oxygen or low saturation, the usual cardiovascular diseases and their symptoms can occur. This can be dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating or shortness of breath.
Since most people in Germany die of cardiovascular diseases every year, there was real hype about these products. Many internet sites describe the consequences of a too-low oxygen content or a too-high heart rate. That’s why blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters, and other devices sell so well.
But it must be said that a pulse oximeter measures these ranges but does not change them. A possible illness is painted on many people here, which one can or must recognize early enough.
Instead of measuring, it is worth:
- eat less to eat
- to do more sports
- be exposed to less stress
- and have better interpersonal relationships
All of these are factors that have a beneficial effect on the state of health. Although the finger clip shows you certain values that indicate your state of health, they will not improve it.
And if the values are too high (pulse, blood pressure) or too low (oxygen level), this can lead to stress. This in turn has a negative effect on the values mentioned above, which is why it is often better not to know.