According to the American Lung Association, respiratory illnesses are common enough that nearly 37 million Americans suffer from various chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
While you may not know if you have an underlying condition, your body will display warning signs if your oxygen levels are too low. Understanding the signs of oxygen deprivation is essential so you can consult your practitioner, who can diagnose potential causes. If you find yourself experiencing one or more of the following low oxygen symptoms, you should seek medical attention right away.
Signs of low oxygen
- Dizziness/lightheadedness: Feeling faint or dizzy is one of the most common indicators your body is not getting the oxygen it needs.
- Rapid, shallow breathing: When your body is not receiving sufficient oxygen, it can make you feel like your lungs are not getting enough air and can cause you to start breathing quickly.
- Accelerated heart rate: Your heart will often begin beating at a faster rate as it attempts to compensate for low oxygen levels.
- Fainting or excessive fatigue: A severe respiratory condition can cause you to lose consciousness or feel overly tired. Fainting can be a sign of severe complications and warrants consulting a healthcare professional.
- Skin discoloration: Also known as cyanosis, a bluish or grayish tint of the skin, nails, or lips typically signifies the oxygen levels in your blood are critically low. If you notice you are experiencing cyanosis, seek immediate medical help.
What to do if you experience low oxygen levels
The first thing to do if you are concerned about your oxygen levels is to consult your practitioner. Not all people with low oxygen experience symptoms the same way, and many do not have a medical condition that requires treatment. While one person may only have difficulty breathing during exercise, someone with a severe respiratory disease might show mild symptoms or none at all. It is important to talk with your practitioner to determine whether your oxygen levels are too low and require treatment.
Diagnosing low oxygen symptoms
Just as you might have a unique experience with oxygen deprivation symptoms, there is not one uniform approach to diagnosing the problem. Your practitioner will likely review your medical history and conduct a physical exam, including listening to your lungs and checking your heartbeat for irregularities. They may also use a pulse oximetry sensor to measure the levels of oxygen in your blood.
Starting oxygen therapy
If your practitioner determines you have a respiratory condition that impacts your health, they might recommend you begin oxygen therapy. This treatment provides supplemental oxygen, so your body gets the amount it needs to stay healthy. With effective equipment such as oxygen concentrators and cylinders now available, oxygen therapy can have an immediate impact on your health. By normalizing your oxygen levels, the therapy can alleviate your symptoms and regain control of your routine and daily activity.
Lincare can help you breathe easier
Our commitment is to provide you with the oxygen treatment that works best for your lifestyle as prescribed by your medical practitioner. We are a trusted partner for thousands of healthcare professionals and patients with respiratory needs throughout the country. Our oxygen therapy services include:
- Equipment operating instructions provided by a highly trained professional
- Equipment care and maintenance
- 24/7 service to fit with your routine, illness, and preferences
- Regular visits from one of our clinical experts
- Complete line of homecare equipment and services, as well as portable oxygen systems
We believe in high standards and are here to ensure your treatment experience is as smooth and effective as possible. At Lincare, nothing is more important to us than delivering the quality patient care you demand and deserve.