Defining Oxygenation and What it Means for Your Health

oxygenation, pulse oximeterOxygenation can be defined as the addition of oxygen to any chemical or physical system, including the human body. It’s a word also used to describe interventions that provide a greater oxygen supply to the lungs and circulatory system. Adequate oxygenation is essential for maintaining optimal health and vitality. When illness occurs and oxygen status is compromised, supplemental oxygen is often prescribed to restore balance.

Oxygen is carried through your body via the red blood cells in your blood. At any given time, oxygen status can be estimated using a small device known as a pulse oximeter or by taking a blood sample from an artery in your wrist and performing an arterial blood gas study, which provides the most accurate measurement. When blood oxygen levels consistently fall below normal, steps must be taken to restore oxygen balance, as oxygen deficiency is a known precursor to adverse health events.[1]

How Lung Disease Affects Oxygenation

Among the many challenges of lung disease is hypoxemia, commonly referred to as low blood oxygen levels. Untreated hypoxemia eventually leads to hypoxia, or low oxygen levels in the tissues. Both are serious conditions and signs of oxygen deficiency. Early detection and treatment of these conditions are important because poor oxygenation can result in deleterious effects on every system in your body.

As someone who’s either new to oxygen therapy, or who’s been receiving it for some time but needs a refresher, it’s important that you recognize early warning signs of low blood oxygen. Make sure your loved ones at home learn them as well, in case you become incapacitated.

To follow are the most common signs and symptoms of low oxygen levels that may require you to seek medical attention:2

  • Skin color changes, from blue to cherry red
  • Confusion
  • Cough
  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Wheezing

If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s best that you call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room as quickly as possible.

How Inogen Can Help

The most important thing when treating hypoxemia or hypoxia is to get more oxygen into the body. For most patients, this means delivery of supplemental oxygen via facemask or nasal cannula.[2]

If you’re new to oxygen therapy, we encourage you to contact an Oxygen Specialist at 1-800-374-9038. In addition, you can obtain an information packet about our products by visiting our website at

Inogen is committed to providing innovative oxygen delivery systems to its many customers nation-wide. We recently introduced one of the smallest, lightest and quietest portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) available.  The One Inogen G4 employs a proprietary intelligent oxygen delivery design as well as highly sensitive breath detection. Weighing a mere 2.8 pounds, the Inogen One G4 is a viable option for oxygen delivery 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To maintain oxygenation, you simply can’t get better than Inogen.

If you think you need supplemental oxygen, contact your doctor as soon as possible. For more information about our products, please visit our product page.

[1] Considine, Julie, RN, PhD, FRCNA. Emergency Assessment of Oxygenation. July, 2007.

[2] WebMD. Hypoxia & Hypoxemia. Accessed December 12, 2017.


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