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Safe Oxygen Levels: What Should Your Oxygen Level Be?

If you are using supplemental oxygen, it is important to understand what your oxygen levels should be and when your oxygen levels are not safe. Many people with COPD have oxygen levels that are below normal, even when using supplemental oxygen, so your normal oxygen saturation levels might be different from the norm.

So, what should your oxygen level be and at what point do your oxygen levels go from being below normal to unsafe?  Let’s first explore the difference between blood oxygen and oxygen saturation and what it means to have a low oxygen levels.

What is the Difference Between Blood Oxygen and Oxygen Saturation?

In order to fully understand what it means to have a low oxygen level, it is essential to understand the ways in which oxygen levels are measured. Blood oxygen measures both the oxygen content of the blood, along with the partial pressure of oxygen in the blood, which indicates whether the lungs are working as they should. Blood oxygen levels are measured using a test that pulls blood from an artery via an arterial blood gas (ABG) test. While the majority of blood tests are able to use blood taken from a vein, that blood has already passed through the tissues in the body and, during the process, oxygen is used up while carbon dioxide is produced. An ABG test requires blood from an artery because arterial blood provides accurate oxygen and carbon dioxide level measurements before the blood enters tissues in the body and the levels change.[1] Specifically, an ABG test measures the following:

  • Partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2): Measuring the pressure of oxygen that has been dissolved in the blood, along with how well oxygen is moving from the lungs into the blood, indicates whether your lungs are functioning properly.
  • Partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PaCO2): Similarly, measuring the pressure of carbon dioxide dissolved in the blood, along with how well carbon dioxide is moved out of the lungs from your blood, indicates how well your lungs are functioning.
  • pH of the blood: pH is measured via hydrogen ions in the blood. The pH of blood should be slightly basic, falling somewhere between 7.35 and 7.45.
  • Bicarbonate levels: Bicarbonate keeps the pH of the blood properly balanced, so incorrect bicarbonate levels may indicate the pH of the blood becoming too basic or acidic.
  • Oxygen content (O2CT) and oxygen saturation (O2 sats) values: Oxygen content literally measures the amount of oxygen inside the blood, while oxygen saturation measures how much of the blood’s hemoglobin is carrying oxygen.[1] 

Oxygen saturation measures the percentage of hemoglobin (Hgb) molecules that are carrying oxygen on specific binding sites, and each hemoglobin molecule can bind to four oxygen molecules when fully saturated.[2] Hemoglobin releases some of those oxygen molecules to the tissues when conditions are right, which is how our tissues become oxygenated. Measuring the amount of hemoglobin molecules that are saturated gives us the oxygen saturation percentage.[2] In comparison, an oxygen saturation measurement does not offer nearly as much information as a blood oxygen measurement. However, measuring a patient’s oxygen saturation is significantly easier. While getting a blood oxygen measurement requires taking blood from an artery—something that can only be done in a blood lab or in your doctor’s office—getting an oxygen saturation measurement simply requires putting a pulse oximeter on your fingertip. A pulse oximeter is a noninvasive tool that uses infrared and red light frequencies to determine the oxygen saturation percentage in your blood by measuring the light reflected off the oxygen molecules.[3] Using a pulse oximeter is painless and quick, making it the easiest way to check a patient’s oxygen levels.

Low Blood Oxygen Levels = Hypoxemia

Your blood oxygen level is the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood. When blood oxygen levels drop below normal, a condition known as hypoxemia occurs. In COPD, hypoxemia is a problem related to your breathing. Hypoxemia is determined by measuring the amount of oxygen present in a blood sample taken from an artery using an ABG test. Your oxygen saturation (sometimes called O sats or O2 sats) can also be estimated using a pulse oximeter, a small device that attaches to your finger and measures the oxygen saturation level in your blood.

The amount of gas in a system is defined by the amount of pressure exerted by that gas. This pressure is traditionally measured as height in millimeters (mm) of a column of mercury (Hg).[4] Normal arterial blood oxygen levels as measured by an arterial blood gas range from 75 to 100 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), which is a measurement of the amount of oxygen that is dissolved in the arterial blood. According to the Mayo Clinic, values under 60 mm Hg usually indicate that a person needs supplemental oxygen. Normal oxygen saturation levels as measured by pulse oximetry range from 95% to 100%. Values under 90% are considered low.[5]  

Does that mean you should panic if you have an oxygen level 89? Not necessarily. And, now that you have a better understanding of this measurement system, what should your oxygen level be?

First you need to understand which level you are talking about: your blood oxygen level or your oxygen saturation. If you have a blood oxygen level between 100 mm Hg and 75 mm Hg, you are doing quite well! So that means that if this is the oxygen level you are speaking about, oxygen level 89, oxygen level 86 and oxygen level 80 would all be just fine. However, if you were actually talking about your oxygen saturation, a normal oxygen saturation level should fall between 95% and 100%; in this case, a measurement of 89% would be worrisome. 

Blood Oxygen Levels: What’s Unsafe?

Unsafe oxygen levels are determined by your doctor; however, you are considered to have a low oxygen level and qualify for supplemental oxygen by Medicare guidelines when your arterial blood gas is at or below 55 mm Hg and/or your pulse oximetry reading is at or below 88% under certain conditions. This does not mean that a pulse oximetry reading of 90% is safe for you, however. Whenever your oxygen levels drop for more than a short period of time, your organs and tissues do not get the oxygen they need to function properly. Over time, a low oxygen level can lead to serious health consequences, such as pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) and polycythemia (increased amount of red blood cells).[6] 

As such, it is important to be aware of what your normal oxygen saturation and blood oxygen levels are. Ask your doctor to review a blood oxygen level chart with you so you know what your levels should be and when you should be concerned.

Maintaining Safe Oxygen Levels

safe oxygen levels

When you are given a prescription for supplemental oxygen, your doctor should give you a blood oxygen level chart and a safe range of oxygen saturation levels that they want you to maintain. You will likely need to have a pulse oximeter on hand so you can measure your oxygen saturation periodically. If you consistently fall below the normal oxygen saturation range your doctor has given you, even with your supplemental oxygen therapy, you should notify your doctor. It is likely an adjustment may need to be made in your oxygen flow rate or time used.

Your doctor may also give you permission to “titrate” your oxygen flow rate according to your oxygen saturation levels. For example, if your doctor determines that your safe oxygen saturation level should be 92% or above, they may advise you to increase your oxygen flow rate if your saturation drops below 92%. However, do not adjust your oxygen flow rate or the amount of time you use supplemental oxygen without getting express directions from your doctor. Maintaining safe and normal oxygen saturation levels is important for your health and well-being. If this becomes difficult for you, and you find you consistently have a low oxygen level even while on supplemental oxygen, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

How to Maintain Safe Oxygen Levels Successfully

In order to avoid finding yourself with a low oxygen level, it is important that you know how to successfully maintain a safe oxygen level. This can vary from person to person, so always speak with your doctor first about the best ways to ensure your oxygen levels are as healthy as possible for you. That said, here are some general tips for checking and maintaining safe oxygen levels.

  • Check your pulse ox regularly. Keeping a pulse oximeter on hand is a great way to ensure that your oxygen levels are safe and healthy for you. Talk to your doctor about what you should do if you notice that your pulse ox measurement has dropped, and when to be concerned.
  • Keep a journal. This may not sound like much, but keeping a health journal can actually be extremely helpful for you and your health care team. Take note of any time your oxygen levels drop or times you experience symptoms of a low oxygen level, including headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, rapid breathing or heart rate and more. Similarly, take note of anything that seems to improve your oxygen levels or minimize your symptoms. It is likely that you will begin to see patterns in your activities and behaviors that impact the changes in your oxygen level.
  • Slow down a little. Sometimes, people begin to experience a low oxygen level because they are doing too much. It may be that your body simply requires a bit more rest from time to time.
  • Practice breathing exercises. There are a number of different breathing techniques, including pursed-lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing, that can significantly improve your breathing and your oxygen levels.
  • Talk to your doctor about pulmonary rehabilitation. Pulmonary rehab can help you in a number of different ways, including helping you learn to breathe more efficiently, helping you improve your exercise tolerance, providing counseling, nutritional education and more.
  • Review your prescriptions. If you currently use oxygen therapy or medications to help you breathe better, find out if they may need to be adjusted. If you do not use these, it might be time to consider them. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Normal Oxygen Saturation

What should your oxygen level be when sleeping?

Normal oxygen saturation levels drop when we sleep because we breathe more slowly. Additionally, some of our alveoli are not used while we are asleep, which means our lungs are not as efficient. Typically, doctors prefer that your oxygen level stay at or above 90% while sleeping. If your normal oxygen saturation is above 94% while you are awake, your oxygen level is unlikely to fall below 88% while you sleep, but if your doctor is concerned, they may order an overnight pulse oximetry test to be sure. 

What level of oxygen is dangerous?

Only your doctor can determine what is dangerous for you, but there are some basic guidelines. Based on a standard blood oxygen level chart, an ABG measurement of 60 mm Hg or lower indicates the need for supplemental oxygen. A pulse oximeter reading under 90% is considered low and indicates the need for supplemental oxygen as well. 

Is an oxygen level 86 bad if I have COPD?

While people with COPD often have lower oxygen saturation and can safely fall between 92% and 88% when it comes to a normal oxygen saturation for them, it is still essential not to let it fall too low. An oxygen level below 88% can be dangerous for any period of time. An oxygen level below 85% warrants a trip to the hospital. Keep in mind that an oxygen level 80% and lower puts your vital organs in danger, so it is important to keep a blood oxygen level chart handy so you know what levels require immediate treatment. 

How do I test my oxygen levels at home? 

Checking your oxygen level at home is quite easy with a pulse oximeter. Simply attach your pulse oximeter to your pointer finger or middle finger so it is secure.[7] When the pulse oximeter is secure, it will not feel too tight or like it is restricting circulation, nor will it feel loose enough to fall off or move around and let other light in. When fitted properly on the finger, the lights from the pulse oximeter should be able to shine directly through your finger. Keep in mind that nail polish or other pigment (like a tattoo or henna), or even dirty fingernails, can interfere with a proper reading, so make sure your hands are clean and free of pigment when testing. While testing, make sure your device is fully charged and securely attached, then stay still and ensure that no bright lights are shining directly on the pulse oximeter during the measurement.[8] If you are unsure whether you are using your pulse oximeter correctly, ask someone on your health care team to help guide you through the process. 


[1] “Arterial Blood Gases.” Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan, 9 June 2019, www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw2343.

[2] Whitten, Christine. “What’s The Difference Between Oxygen Saturation And PaO2?” The Airway Jedi, The Airway Jedi, 22 Sept. 2019, airwayjedi.com/2015/12/09/difference-oxygen-saturation-pao2/.

[3] Fahy, Bonnie, et al. “Pulse Oximetry.” American Thoracic Society, Mar. 2018, https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/pulse-oximetry.pdf.

[4] Higgins, Chris. “Why Measure Blood Gases? A Three-Part Introduction for the Novice – Part 1.” Acute Care Testing, Radiometer Medical, Jan. 2012, acutecaretesting.org/en/articles/why-measure-blood-gases-a-three-part-introduction-for-the-novice-part-1.

[5] “Hypoxemia (Low Blood Oxygen).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1 Dec. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/hypoxemia/basics/definition/sym-20050930.

[6] Kent, Brian D, et al. “Hypoxemia in Patients with COPD: Cause, Effects, and Disease Progression: COPD.” International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Dove Press, 14 Mar. 2011, doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S10611.

[7] Basaranoglu, Gokcen, et al. “Comparison of SpO2 Values from Different Fingers of the Hands.” SpringerPlus, Springer International Publishing, 29 Sept. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4627972/.

[8] “Using the Pulse Oximeter.” World Health Organization, 2011, https://www.who.int/patientsafety/safesurgery/pulse_oximetry/who_ps_pulse_oxymetry_tutorial2_advanced_en.pdf?ua=1.

Additional Sources 

Katsenos, Stamatis, and Stavros H Constantopoulos. “Long-Term Oxygen Therapy in COPD: Factors Affecting and Ways of Improving Patient Compliance.” Pulmonary Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Sept. 2011, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21941649/.

Leader, Deborah. “Understanding Oxygen Saturation.” Verywell Health, Verywell Health, 7 May 2020, www.verywellhealth.com/oxygen-saturation-914796.

“The Need For Supplemental Oxygen.” UCSF Health, UCSF Health, 31 Oct. 2019, www.ucsfhealth.org/education/supplemental_oxygen/the_need_for_supplemental_oxygen/.

“Oxygen Saturation (Medicine).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 19 May 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_saturation_(medicine).

Silva, Joana Cavaco. “Normal Blood Oxygen Levels: What Is Safe and What Is Low?” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 28 Jan. 2020, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321044.php.


93 thoughts on “Safe Oxygen Levels: What Should Your Oxygen Level Be?”

  1. Avatar Albert Newton says:

    I have c o p d and at the moment my stats are 85-90 and I can't move phlegm and muccus from my lungs will oxygen therapy help me get some sleep

    1. Avatar Carol Taffs says:

      I have copd, sats are between 85 -92 am I right in thinking that it should be 90 plus

    2. Avatar Cara says:

      Do you ever use mucinex or cough medicine? You know drinking hot water with some fresh sliced ginger is very therapeutic. When my mom was having cough spells I cooked up water and ginger. The coughing stopped. It needs to be fresh.

    3. Avatar D.J. Miller says:

      Your oxygen levels are too low. The oxygen level should be in the 90s…When you sleep your oxygen levels drop. When your oxygen levels drop..your body is seeking more oxygen to keep everything going within normal parameters. If you are not on an additional source of oxygen..you should be and definitely talk to your Doctor or Respiratory Therapist. Good Luck!

  2. Avatar Mahaley Davis says:

    Very good information. When you use supplemental oxygen, it dictates your life, adding extra time to be mobile. If your pulse oximetry is 89% after exertion, you might decide to perform the chore without an oxygen supplement. However, your words caution that continued behavior such as this is harmful, in simple words that a hurried physican sometimes doesn't emphasize enough.

  3. Avatar Wal Rutherford says:

    Why is it that you are only established in Sydney, Australia. I am told that a service is 185 Dollars, Replacement Columns are 247 dollars and the freight is 70 dollars. Bit much for an age pensioner. I have my car serviced for 250 Dollars. Is there any chance of opening in Brisbane in the near future??

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Wal, We are a US-based company but we do have a number of distributors in the Australian region. Below is a list of few current distributors that are working in Australia. I hope this helps you in your search:

      1. BOC Homecare:
      163- 171 Hawkesbury Rd, Westmead NSW 2145, Australia

      2. Independent Living Specialists:

      3. Air Liquide Healthcare Australia:


  4. Avatar Robert Pescatore says:

    My mother 's blood is turning blue on her fingers and would like to know what she can do to find out what is causing the blood to turn blue.

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Robert, What you’re describing could be caused by a variety of conditions. One possible condition is cyanosis, where lack of oxygen causes a bluish discoloration of the skin, nail beds and/or mucous membranes. Although blood may appear blue, it is not turning blue. We recommend contacting your primary care doctor so that he or she can do a full examination.

    2. Avatar Ross Carl Booker says:

      Low oxygen levels, before my mom died she went to the doctors, and he told her that her lips were blue in color, a sign of low oxygen levels in your blood. Get some oxygen supplement soon

  5. Avatar Bonnie Brumfield says:

    I have emphysema, I play golf, I get tired, pain in my gut
    And then vomit. Why am I vomiting. I can do this shopping, and taking a shower? What gives with this.

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Bonnie, Vomiting can be caused by a variety of reasons – something as simple as over-exerting yourself, the side effect of a new medication, or something you ate. Since we are not your primary care doctor, we recommend that you reach out to your primary care doctor so that they can evaluate you.

      Good luck Bonnie! We hope you feel better soon.

  6. Avatar Jay says:

    My ready starts out high at 95 or so but slowly falls to below 85 after 3 or 4 minutes. I have rebound congestion from overuse of over the counter nose spray so if I don't use it I fall low on the readings. What should I do? I do have COPD from smoking form 40 years but have never been to a pulmonary doctor. Is that the one you go to for oxygen? 62 years old on disability social security. Thanks Much.

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Jay, People are generally candidates for oxygen therapy when their oxygen saturation levels are at or below 88 percent. You should report your readings to your doctor as soon as possible. Additionally, it would probably be beneficial to see a pulmonary specialist if you's never been to one and have COPD. However both types of doctors-general practitioners and pulmonary specialists- can prescribe oxygen therapy if they determine that you need it.

    2. Avatar Cara says:

      I'm not a medical professional but you should get in soon as possible. You can get a ct of your lungs and make sure you don't have hypertension. Do you elevate yourself when sleeping. Also, it sounds like you need oxygen. Or if you have sleep apnea a cpap will do help you at night. Lung openers – Good diet, fresh grapefruit juice, water, special tea, overall taking care.

      1. Avatar Caroline says:

        I've read that grapefruit is not good as it interacts with certain medications, particularly antibiotics, possibly steroids too. Check with your doctor before introducing grapefruit to your diet if you are on medication for COPD.

        1. Inogen Inogen says:

          Thank you for this Caroline.

    3. Avatar D.J. Miller says:

      Jay in order for you to be diagnosed with COPD you must have had testing by a Respiratory therapist, usually the DR refers you to one for Pulmonary testing…but you may go back to the one who diagnosed you…but do it soon. You need to do some deep slow breathing to get your oxygen moving and an additional source of oxygen.

    4. Avatar Shannon says:

      Jay, I had rebound congestion off and on for yrs due to over use of nasal sprays. I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension due to sleep apnea 2.5 yrs ago (I also live at 6000+ ft elevator and am over weight which also contributes to it). I ended up in the hospital with multiple organ failure and then was put on supplemental oxygen 7×25 and to use a CPAP when sleeping, which should reverse the pulmonary hypertension. Unfortunately, btwn the rebound congestion and other problems with using the CPAP, I rarely have been able to use it.

      I did get off the nasal sprays 100% and nothing worked for me before, even if something worked for awhile, the next time I had a cold, I would be back using the nasal spray just to be able to breath. I have been off the nasal spray about 3 months now and have even had a cold in btwn and I have not gone back to using them and getting rebound.

      What I did follows, several months ago I was unusually congested and tried to use a neti pot and other saline washes and sprays, which all didn't work well and I ended up even more congested. I finally bought some Sudafed pseudoephedrine, this is not Sudafed PE (phenylephrine). Instead you have to go to the pharmacy counter, ask for it and sign for it, it is a control medication as people can make meth out of it. However it is safe to take and really drains all the congestion out of one's sinuses, taking the prescribed dose, however use caution if you are inclined to have high blood pressure. While using just one dose of the Sudafed phenylephrine, I started to take Flonase regularly. It takes several days for Flonase to really start to work but I didn't even need to take a second dose of Sudafed pseudoephedrine, I just stopped using the Afrid like nasal spray and kept using Flonase.

      Several months later I still have very clear sinuses and even when I did have a cold a few wks back, I just took a dose of Sudafed pseudoephedrine and kept up the Flonase and I could clear my nose with just blowing and hot showers. I hope this will work for you as I know how frustrating it can be to be addicted to nasal spray. I am still using supplemental oxygen to walk around but improved after a year that I didn't need to sitting. However, I am still trying to manage using the CPAP, so that I can recover fully. Pls consider seeing a pulmonologist as family doctors don't even check for oxygen saturation, my family doctor was misdiagnosing me for months and I could have had a heart attack; with the 40 lbs of edema and low oxygen I had before I was diagnosed.

  7. Avatar Dee Potter says:

    I have been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and COPD by echo and right heart cath. My oxygen sats remain at 98% on room air. I don't have any symptoms yet, but my reading on pulmonary hypertension is 90, so I know problems are ahead. I'm now using my C-pap every night, and my Dr. thinks this will lower the pulmonary hypertension. Will this help the COPD?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Dee, While there is no cure for COPD, the goal of COPD treatment is to slow disease progression, reduce symptoms, prevent COPD flare-ups and improve quality of life. The treatment your doctor has prescribed is customized to your symptoms and medical history. Please continue to work with your doctor as symptoms do change over time, and your doctor will be able to recommend the best treatment for you.

      1. Avatar D.J. Miller says:

        This is true and Very good advice…however there are a number of things one can do to help live with COPD. I have COPD and I am a Respiratory Therapist (retired). Breathing exercises are of great importance. Most people who get short of breath are breathing shallowly.You need to breath from the diaphragm. There are classes and literature that will teach you and also the use of breathing Spirometer. They work wonderfully.. NEVER EVER use Oxygen without the advise of a professional and when you ever half to have it. DO NOT change the input without asking first.

        They also have lung surgeries that take the affected part away….a sort of lung reduction (in layman terms) depending where the lung is damaged. so don't lose heart…

        1. Avatar Joyce says:

          I do the pursive and also diaphram breathing. What do you mean by breathing Spirometer. I have a 02 that I take my readings. Also, does exercise bike therapy help the breathing … does it help to build it up??? I notice when I do movement with my arms .. I get short of breath … otherwise staying put helps to keep it regular. I do use for activity as changing bed, floor washing, etc.. Thanks for the reply.

        2. Avatar Lorrie Shantz says:

          Where can I do COPD breathing exercises in Canada. And does the health care pay part or all of it…if not, how much would it cost.

  8. Avatar Tina says:

    My problem is that when I can't breathe my numbers go up to 126. They don't go down.

  9. Avatar John says:

    My cannula bends at the connector base of G4 and causes the warning signal to beep. What can be done to prevent this annoying problem and where can I order another cannula which I do not find on your website?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi John, Please call Customer Care at 1-877-466-4364 and discuss this with an advocate. We need more information before we can advise you on your problem.

      Although we do not sell cannulas, if you do need a new one most pharmacies (like Walgreen's, CVS, etc.) carry cannulas.

    2. Avatar sara says:

      you can order cannula from amazon just type in oxygen cannula

  10. Avatar Linda says:

    My husband's oxygen level was measured in the ER yesterday and it was at 9 mm. We could not convince him to stay in the hospital for more testing or to get more O2 in him. He's cranky, irritable and is in huge denial about the medications prescribed. Can I have him (like Baker Act) court ordered, put him back in the hospital for treatment ?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Linda, We're sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, the Baker Act can only be initiated by judges, law enforcement officials, physicians, or mental health professionals. There must be evidence that the person possibly has a mental illness and is a harm to him/herself or to others. Unless you have power of attorney, you will need to verbally convince your husband to seek treatment.

  11. Avatar Cindy Owens says:

    My Mother,Has plumonary fibrosis.Her breathing test show's her at 36% How every her oxygen level is at 98%.At what point will her oxygen start to drop.She want be able to get much oxygen because her lungs can't push it out.The Dr.told us she would only get it when her oxygen start to drop,To help keep her blood oxygenated.

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Cindy, It sounds like your mother's lungs are limited in the amount of oxygen they are able to take in and push out. The good news here is it sounds like your mother's lungs are still able to deliver oxygen at a concentrated rate (98%). Your mother likely takes short breaths and feels out of breath often due to the limited amount of oxygen she's able to take in. It's hard to know exactly when your mother will need oxygen therapy, as there are many factors including your mother's age, medical history, and exercise/diet habits. We recommend that you work with her doctor and schedule regular, periodic breathing tests so that you can monitor her lung functionality.

  12. Avatar Jane Dilly says:

    I'm on oxygen level 2, have COPD. Can I get too much oxygen if raising level a half while working/exercising. If I forget to put it back on 2 at night, can that give me too much. Can too much oxygen causes shakey feeling all over body? I'm 88 years old, was diagnosed in 2008.

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Jane, When adjusting your oxygen levels, you should always consult your doctor first so that he or she can give you proper recommendations. Having too much oxygen in your body can put you at risk for hypercapnia, a condition where there is too much CO2 in the blood. Symptoms of hypercapnia include flushed skin, drowsiness, mild headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, and exhaustion. If you are concerned that you have been prescribed too much oxygen, please consult with your primary care doctor. He or she will be able to adjust your oxygen prescription and will provide you with recommendations.

  13. Avatar Richard Quitliano says:

    What would be nice is if you published a chart showing levels compared to levels of danger (in %) instead of a bunch of stuff about mm Hg and mercury levels. I'm trying to take care of someone with COPD and need to know when to call the nurse!

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Richard, Thank you for your suggestion, we will pass it along to our content team for review. For COPD patients, it's important to test oxygen levels regularly using a pulse oximeter. According to the American Thoracic Society, most people need an oxygen saturation level of at least 89% to keep their cells healthy. If you are ever concerned for the COPD patient you are taking care of, we advise you to call a doctor immediately. For more information on pulse oximeters and oxygen saturation, please visit our blog post: https://www.inogen.com/blog/pulse-oximetry-oxygen-saturation/

      To purchase a pulse oximeter, please visit: https://www.inogen.com/product/pulse-oximeter/

  14. Avatar Sher says:

    I was diagnosed with COPD a year and a half ago. My pulmonologist instructed me to maintain 90 or more on oxygen level 3, 24/7.

    Is it harmful for me to do easy, short tasks (i.e., dog poop removal), 1/2 hour, without the co2? It does drop to 86.

    Although I am thankful for the portable co2, the cannulas do become tiresome after wearing them 24/7.

    Thank you!

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Sher, It sounds like your pulmonologist has instructed you to maintain 90 % oxygen saturation and to use oxygen 24/7. Although using a cannula can cause nasal dryness, we recommend that you use your oxygen as instructed by your doctor. To prevent nasal dryness, try a moisturizing product such a saline nasal mist or a nasal gel. For more information on oxygen therapy side effects and tips on how to prevent them, please visit: https://www.inogen.com/blog/side-effects-oxygen-therapy/

  15. Avatar Johann says:

    Is Ozone dosage an option to increase the oxygen levels in the bloodstream ?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Johann, Ozone dosage is typically used to clean water so that it is drinkable. Ozone therapy is an alternative medicine treatment that has no credible, peer reviewed evidence to support it. In fact, the FDA has prosecuted and sent several people to jail for presenting themselves as doctors and claiming ozone therapy products will cure various illnesses.

  16. Avatar Denise says:

    My name is Denise. I have COPD and I think I am doing good. But today my breathing is different. I just check my out put and it's reading 99/54. what could be going on? I am on co2

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Denise, Are you saying that your oxygen output reading said your oxygen concentration is 99% but your oxygen saturation is only 54%? If so, you should try another pulse oximeter. If you still see oxygen saturation levels less than 95% you should contact your doctor immediately as something may be wrong with your oxygen therapy device, your flow setting, or a variety of other factors.

  17. Avatar Catie says:

    I have been real sick broncidous (sic) excuse my spelling sorry on my second bout of antibiotics and now also on steroids. What scared me was the look on the nurses face when she took my oxygen levels said it was 86 and her face dropped. Dr never said much when I asked what that meant used some medical term and said you are one sick lil lady and antibiotics and steroids should do the trick. This Dr was at the walk in clinic as my dr is on holidays and I am getting a little worried…. meds have me not sleeping coughing is getting worse and having a hard time breathing, laying down to sleep I wake up gagging for air so needless to say sleep is not my favorite subject right now …. should I be seeking emerg attention?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Catie, We're sorry to hear about your condition and the symptoms you've been experiencing. Hopefully now that the holidays are pretty much over, your primary care doctor is back in the office. You should make an appointment with your primary care doctor as soon as possible so that he or she can diagnosis your symptoms further. If you feel like you are unable to breathe and that it's an emergency between now and your doctor's appointment you should seek emergency attention.

  18. Avatar AIT says:

    Really nice information.

  19. Avatar Nancy says:

    I was diagnosed with Copd a little over two years ago. I have an oxygen concentrator. My oxygen level goes up and down constantly depending on my level of physical activity. When it drops below 92 I put the cannula on and it goes back up to 96. I often have a fast heart beat over 100 plus. I have been told I should not let my 02 level get too high. What should I do? It makes me worry when sleeping, if it’s gonna get too high.

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Nancy, Please consult your primary care doctor. There could be a variety of factors at play here, and your primary care doctor will have a better idea on how to regulate your oxygen saturation.

  20. Avatar Nancy Guthrie says:

    I have an Inogen 3 which is heavy to carry as I have back compression fractures and I am 70 and rather weak and fragile. With a doctors referral is it possible to exchange for the new Inogen 4 which is much lighter to carry? I am renting this one from a Medicare.

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Nancy, Unfortunately right now the Inogen One G4 is only available through cash purchase. The Inogen One G4 is not available through insurance or Medicare at this time.

  21. Avatar Sheldon says:

    I only have 30% O2 levels meaning my body only consumes 30% when i breathe in. yet i was a more than decent athlete in high school i was captain of the track team, but moreover i don't understand how i'm able to do what i'm able to do with those levels

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Sheldon, Do you have Stage Three COPD? Usually around the third stage of COPD lung functionality is between 30 and 50%. Unfortunately despite your history as a track runner, COPD can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, tobacco smoke, occupational exposure, and early childhood lung infections. As lung functionality declines you may experience difficulty during exercise or during small tasks like getting dressed in the morning. For more information on COPD stages, facts, and treatment, please visit our COPD resource section: https://www.inogen.com/resources/living-with-copd/copd-symptoms/

  22. Avatar peter homer says:

    Hi i have severe copd and emphysema and bronchitis and smokers lung have had this for 9 years yet i still have not been given oxygen to help me with my breathing which has been rarely bad for the last few months i take my nebuliser 3 times a day my oxygen levels are between 90/93 pulse rate 75/80 at night i get out of bed and can hardly breath i always have dry throat and dry lips if i try to make my bed or do to much exercise my breathing slows down to all most nothing yet the hospital and doctor tell me not worry this all so happens when i wake up in the mornings sat here now my breathing bad my oximeter reading is pulse 69 ox 92 is taht good or bad

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Peter, In order to start oxygen therapy, you need a licensed physician to prescribe you oxygen. If your primary care doctor is unable to prescribe you oxygen despite your low oxygen levels, you should ask him or her why; and then ask him or her to refer you to a Specialist who may be able to better diagnosis your symptoms.

  23. Avatar maureen says:

    I have been tested for scarring from pneumonia, COPD, pulmonary hypertension, and numerous other tests with in the last month to find why my oxygen keeps dropping. Every test came back neg. At rest I am 95-98. I live in a 2 story house with basement, if I start running up and down stairs which I do many times a day, my 02 drops to 89-93 after I rest a bit it goes back up to 96-98. I don't get it. My doctor wants me on oxygen well there is no way I can drag a tank around when I am carrying stuff up and down stair. Wear it when I exert myself well I am not one to sit still, I am not sure what to do. she said it could cause a heart attack?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Maureen, Luckily there are smaller and lighter portable oxygen units available today. Depending on your oxygen needs, the Inogen One G4 at 2.8 pounds (with a single battery) may be right for you. For more information about our portable oxygen concentrators, please visit: https://www.inogen.com/products/inogen-oxygen-concentrators/

  24. Avatar Robert says:

    Hi my name is Robert. I been having trouble sleeping and i know my oxygen drop down when i sleep. The lowest i seen it was 60 but most of the time it above 75. I try to get my doctor to do something about it. I even took pictures of it dropping. I have asthma that when i notice that when the problem has started

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Robert, The oxygen levels you are reporting are extremely low and concerning. If your primary care doctor is not taking your concerns seriously, you need to find a new doctor or ask your current doctor to refer you to a specialist immediately.

  25. Avatar Jerry Stevens says:

    I have COPD and only use supplemental Oxygen at night when I sleep. I use a concentrator set at 2% per my doctor. I wake up a lot of mornings with my O2 n=in the range as low as 79 and as high 90. My doctor suggested I raise my concentrator to 3% I checked my O2 during my sleep last night and it maintained 98% all night. Can you get too much Oxygen while you sleep and have Carbon Dioxide buildup in your Blood ?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Jerry, There are two medical settings in which oxygen toxicity might exist: the first where the patient is exposed to very high concentrations of oxygen for short periods of time (e.g. hyperbaric oxygen therapy); the second where lower concentrations of oxygen are used, but for longer periods of time. The average patient using oxygen therapy according to their doctor’s instructions is not at risk for oxygen toxicity. For more information on oxygen toxicity, please visit: https://www.inogen.com/blog/oxygen-toxicity/

      What you're describing could also be the result of transient nocturnal desaturation, which is defined as a temporary drop in oxygen saturation during sleep. The condition is a significant problem in COPD, affecting a relatively large number of COPD patients. In fact, one study suggests that 27-70% of COPD patients with daytime oxygen saturation levels of 90-95% experience substantial desaturation at night, particularly during a period of sleep known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. For more information on transient nocturnal desaturation, please visit: https://www.inogen.com/blog/transient-nocturnal-desaturation/

  26. Avatar rosemary says:

    does inogen carry a home concentrator that goes above 5?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Rosemary, The Inogen One G2 is a portable oxygen concentrator that can be used both at home and on the road. It has flow settings of 1-6. For more information, please visit: https://www.inogen.com/products/g2-systems/

  27. Avatar Daisymae says:

    I have what the pulmonary specialist calls structural pulmonary disease. That means I have scoliosis, and my ribs do not allow for normal lung expansion, but no actual damage to my lungs (like from COPD).

    When I went for the pulmonary function tests, my results were borderline, but the doc thought I should use O2 for sleeping and exercise. I have been using O2 for a couple of months, including on a business trip (while flying). I have been amazed (as in Stunned) at how much betterI feel. I’m not having as much trouble with nasal allergies, breathing is easier (I hadn’t even realized it was getting hard), and I just feel better.

    I bought the G4 for when I leave the house. I was shocked at how much more pleasant flying was. Maybe I always felt bad when flying because my O2 was too low. I love my G4. And Inogen service has been great – my G4 stopped working last night (after only 2 months), and theyare overnighting me a replacement.

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Daisy, We're happy to hear that you're feeling better and that you're enjoying the Inogen One G4. Thank you for the compliments!

  28. Avatar Margaret Helm says:

    I have been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. At first I was diagnosed with COPD but my second pulmonologist said I had been misdiagnosed. Being in the hospital for six days they did a lot of tests on me ( most of which I forget). They did a nuclear chest x ray which showed a lot of blood clots in my lungs and my heart so I am now on Xarelto. My oxygen can go from90 down to 50 or 60. It was 48 the other day and I was back in the hospital. My doctors are confused and really don't know what to do with me. My biggest problem is breathing properly…..in through the nose…out through the mouth. When I get anxious I cant remember to breath through my nose. I can't remember because of the lack of ozygen going to my brain. Can you help me with any ideas?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Margaret, We're sorry to hear about your diagnosis and what you've been going through. If your primary care doctor is having a hard time diagnosing your condition, ask him or her to refer you to a specialist like a Pulmonologist and/or an ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) Specialist.

  29. Avatar James says:

    Diagnosed with MI in 2008 EF =20 I've got a pulmonologist. During the day my O2 level is fine but like mentioned by others at night it goes down. Nurse called today and said my 12 hour test at night recording of my O2 readings showed 20min over the night where my level was at 88. I'm on a Cpap set at 12.0 I just don't feel rested much in the morning. I'm being referred to a local pulmonologist who is in my group. She is recommending to him an O2 titration only at night. I use a nasal canula for the Cpap. How can they give me O2 at night also.does the O2 unit monitor, record or do anythng that I can provide my new Dr?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi James, When you ask, "Does the O2 unit monitor, record or do anything that I can provide my new Dr?" are you referring to an Inogen oxygen concentrator or your CPAP machine? Each concentrator and machine is different so it is hard to say yes or no. If you are referring to the CPAP machine you are using, please ask your provider. If you are using an Inogen oxygen concentrator, please call our Customer Care department at 1-800-630-3144. They will be able to assist you once they know which Inogen oxygen concentrator you are using.

  30. Avatar Jo says:

    I start out at rest at 98% put inogen G3 on at 4 L then with exception My 02 drops to 79-80%. If I stop & take deep breaths & rest 2-3 minutes my 02 returns to 94-96%. Should I continue to use the inogenG3 or should I be using a potable 02 that is continuous flow? I tried to start out with 2L pulse flow butMy 02 would drop to low 80’s when walking any distance or climbing stairs. Not sure if this is ok or if I should be looking at continuous flow. I have IPF with some emphysema.

  31. Avatar Janice says:

    I, TOO, HAVE an Inogen G4 and love it. I am still teaching and do fine in class as long as I get to sit a lot. Most of the time, I don't need the oxygen unless I have to walk a long distance or climb stairs. It is wonderful having the G4 as that has allowed me to continue doing what I love which is teaching. I am 68 yrs. old and lost a lung lobe to cancer in May. Thank you for this wonderful product. I have now sent you 3 other customers who have purchased Inogen G4's.

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Janice, Thank you for sharing your story! It's wonderful to hear that you are teaching and enjoying your freedom. Thank you for telling others about our products. Have a great day!

  32. Avatar Tudi says:

    Very interesting information. I recently had an 02 saturation test spirometer. I was told it was abnormal at 78%. A few days before my oxygen level in the office was 94%.
    And being referred to a pulmonologist.
    I moved to White Mountains of Az in December.
    I have heart issues but was in stable good health when I left Illinois.
    I am really thinking this is due to elevation of 6800 in Lakeside where I live.
    Does this sound manageable and possibly reversible?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Tudi, Thank you for your comments. A pulmonologist would be better equipped to answer those questions, as we are not medically trained professionals. Take care!

  33. Avatar Richard says:

    Hey I Have SLEEP APNEA.And at night I WEAR a,nasal mask.My oxygen level on the day is 95PERCENT.,I have never smoked.So they cane and why I slept my oxygen saturation was at 80percent so I think they sa8d put my oxygen machine on 2 does th8s sound right.I feel great since I started this 4 years ago.Do you think that my oxygen machine on 2 is hurting my lungs.

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Richard,
      Oxygen therapy should not hurt your lungs, but you might want to discuss your concerns with a doctor to see what the issue is.

  34. Avatar Enrico says:

    I am 46. Non-smoker. At 35, I became gravely sick, septic, DIC, ARDS. I was on O2 in the ICU, but never on a respirator. It took me over a year to get my stamina back to where it was before the sepsis. I've been healthy ever since.

    Recently I purchased a pulse-oximeter that logs both values (even through the night). I'm finding that resting, my O2 is between 87 and 91. Even at the MD's office it's normally down at about 93.

    I don't feel any shortness of breath, or other symptoms that would indicate hypoxia. Is it possible that my "normal" is just 90%?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Enrico,
      Normal blood oxygen saturation is 95 to 100%, but it’s not considered low unless it’s under 90%.
      Thank you,

  35. Avatar David says:

    Practice deep breathing daily, will help your oxygen level greatly….Google on how to practice it correctly…..My oxygen level runs 99%…99% of the time…lol…Deep breathing has many….many great health benefit, when done correctly……..

  36. Avatar Sheila says:

    I was put on oxygen in July of last year. I use 2 liters during the day time and 4 liters going into my c pap machine at night, most days I go around the house without any oxygen at all to see how I do the lowest my saturation has got is 92 if I'm really doing something more physical it drops a little more. The thing is I wonder sometimes if I need 24/7 oxygen I also stopped as of about two weeks ago using in my through my c pap machine there was so much air coming through it my mask was leaking , honestly I feel better most mornings when I wake up without it.

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Sheila,
      Thank you for reaching out to us. We suggest you pose that question to your doctor for his/her professional opinion. Have a good day!

  37. Avatar Cathy says:

    It's really hard for me to remember but I suffered a PE around 9years ago. I remember in the hospital them saying that my oxygen levels were 39, is that possible. I was on oxygen for 9 days and then release. It's hard for me to remember my first days in the hospital but are those level possible and still survive. The first day in the hospital had many doctors coming in, and over hearing conversations about how is she still awake and talking….

  38. Avatar tom says:

    I am 60 years old. I run 5 miles every other day. At the 2 mile marker my lungs get tight. At rest my oxygen reading is 65.

  39. Avatar Kayla Ballestero says:

    My oxygen saturation is a 98% and it’s usually a 100% so I’m pretty worried. Is this okay? Yesterday I went to the doctor for stomach aches and they diagnosed me with “ Epigastric Abdominal Pain” could that be effecting my oxygen saturation or maybe even allergies?

  40. Avatar Jerrinisha says:

    Hello I had a oxygen rate at 83 It that okay I’m. 22!years old my heart rate was in the 54 i in normal blood work and ekg all normal but still have chest pain

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Jerrinisha,
      I am not a medical professional, so I suggest you seek medical advice from your doctor. It is better to be safe, than sorry!

  41. Avatar Doris Burgess says:

    I am 85 and I have 2 valves which are failing, the aortic valve and mitral valve. Surgery is not an option. I get out of breath on any exertion. My oxygen level is on the average 94. On occasion, it drops to 90 or 91. Would it hurt me to use oxygen occasionally when it drops to the lower reading?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Doris,
      I hope you are doing well. We suggest you speak to your doctor about the benefits of medical oxygen to see if this would be helpful for your condition.
      It couldn't hurt to ask.
      Take care!

  42. Avatar Naweed Haidari says:

    hi Doctor , My Grand Mother age is 100 ,its been many years that she has cough, many days ago her lips color got blue color ,and couldn't talk, and when we checked her oxygen rate it was 40% ,and still its been in the same rate when we give her oxygen her rate goes up to 90 and when we removed it after half an hour it down again to 40 and 45,is it possible to get the oxygen upper than 45 for ever ,what should we do, thank you sir

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Naweed,
      Please seek professional medical assistance for your grandmother. I hope she feels better soon.
      Take care!

  43. Avatar Robert says:

    Hi, I'm Robert. I'm 71 years old and recently recovered from COVID 19 Pneumonia. My oxygen saturation levels have returned to 96% + during the day. In the AM however, when I wake up, my oxygen level is at 88 – 89%. Is this normal? I'm worried that I'm not getting enough oxygen when I sleep.

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Robert,
      Great to hear you are on the road to recovery. I think you should consult with a doctor about your nocturnal saturation levels. You might be an excellent candidate for supplemental oxygen while you sleep.
      Please call us and we can discuss more -855-MYINOGEN.
      Thank you and Take Care!

  44. Avatar Wendy says:

    I hav covid and pulse ox is 88 80

  45. Avatar Rich Gill says:

    My wife has a bronchi exorcists has a hard time getting mucus and phlegm out of your lungs will oxygen therapy help thank you

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Rich,
      Thank you for writing us. Your physician would need to determine if oxygen is needed. There are medications that your physician may prescribe to help thin secretions and help bring them up.
      There are also mechanical devices available by prescription that vibrate and assist with expectoration of mucous.

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