Normal Blood Oxygen Levels: What is Safe and what is Low?

In case you are suffering from a heart or lung condition, your doctor must have asked you to conduct a routine check of your blood oxygen levels and it would have occurred to you to ask what blood oxygen level is.

To put it simply, blood oxygen level is the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood. The red blood cells are the primary carriers of oxygen and deliver it to all vital organs in the body. Blood oxygen levels of a person show how well the body distributes oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body.

If you are measuring blood oxygen level using an instrument called pulse oximeter, the normal oxygen level is considered to be between 95 to 100 per cent.  Oxygen levels below 90% are considered low and may require oxygen supplementation.

If your blood oxygen level is found to be low, it is an indication of a condition known as hypoxemia. The condition appears when your body finds it difficult to deliver oxygen to all organs, cells and tissues.

Causes of low oxygen levels:

There are several reasons that can cause the oxygen levels to drop, including:

  1.  An ongoing heart condition
  2. Allergic reactions
  3. Sleep apnea
  4. Suffocation or choking
  5. Traveling to places situated at higher altitudes
  6. Infections such as pneumonia and viruses such as Covid-19
  7. Certain medications including some painkillers


The most common form of treatment for low oxygen level includes receiving supplemental oxygen. This can be available within the comfort of your home and is popularly known as Home Oxygen Therapy (HOT). You can contact a Home based healthcare provider in case you feel unable to understand the nitty-gritty of the procedure.

Al Zeyarat Home Healthcare Centre is NOT to be used in an EMERGENCY situation

If you believe that you or the person you are assisting is in an urgent or emergency situation you should immediately dial 998.

YOU SHOULD CALL 998 IMMEDIATELY in a critical or life-threatening situation, such as if someone has:

  • difficulty breathing;
  • severe bleeding and it can’t be stopped;
  • severe chest pain;
  • a severe allergic reaction;
  • severe burns or scalds;
  • loss of consciousness;
  • major trauma such as the result of a serious road traffic accident, a stabbing, a shooting, a fall from height or a serious head injury; or
  • acute confused states and fits which aren’t stopping,
  • or if you believe someone is having a heart attack or stroke.