Increasing Your Pulse Oxygen Levels With COPD
Last updated: September 2023
After my mom’s diagnosis, we were all trying to learn how we could help support her health. After learning about pulse oximetry, we felt we had something to measure.
Her clip-on finger oximeter kept us all fussing around, not just her measurements but all of ours as well. Ultimately, we were all curious about increasing her pulse oxygen level with COPD.
Here’s what we learned.
What is pulse oximetry
Pulse oximetry is a way of measuring oxygen saturation levels in the blood. It is a simple way of capturing what is happening at rest, during activity, or even exercise.
It can be a great tool to help your doctor gauge where you are. If you’ve read about my mom in other articles, you know she believed in herself and was not a quitter.
At first, it was novel, and we all took turns doing various things to see where our SP02 was while we were cleaning, talking, or moving around at my mom’s house.
Most healthy adults without COPD will have a 95% or higher level. During her first hospitalization, we found that my moms were much lower than that. It sent us all on a journey to see how to improve it.
Most of her efforts were spent on posture, nutrition, and drinking plenty of water. It also included mild cardio exercise and pursed mouth breathing.
She saw a lot of improvement over time, and I hope these tips will help you too.
Increasing your pulse oxygen level
Here are a few things we did to get my mom's pulse oxygen levels up.
Mom was no slouch. Head up, eager to face the world; she kept her shoulders back everywhere she went. However, once diagnosed with COPD, she spent more time in what she called her "easy chair."
She sank in, and soon her shoulders curled forward. This cut of lung capacity, and you guessed it - her pulse ox was lowered. She learned that by sitting at the kitchen table, she sat up straighter.
It seems that I lay right on her sciatic nerve for nine months. I didn't mean to, but during her pregnancy, it did cause some damage that prevented her from walking long distances.
Moreover, it meant no bike riding either. So, regarding cardio, she did chair exercises that helped raise her heart rate slightly. This also helped work her heart and arm muscles.
Pursed mouth breathing
When your oxygen struggles to keep us with your heart's demand, it's exhausting. Mom learned and practiced pursed mouth breathing.
It's one of the things I am the proudest of. She mastered that, and it gave her many years of active living.
Last but not least, eating healthy is another hallmark of my mom's life. She cooked at ate most of her meals.
Coming from a generation that didn't have access to a lot of fast food helped. In truth, though, she enjoyed her own cooking and chose to use good ingredients.
It can become a challenge to see how many of these things you can gain mastery over. There are a lot of things beyond your control.
Slow but sure progress to increasing your pulse oxygen with COPD can be a great thing to measure. Tell your doctor that you would like to set goals for your pulse and oxygen levels.
Where do you stand with your COPD?