Why You Need a Fingertip Pulse Oximeter With CPAP Therapy

Written by
Jason Smith RPSGT
Published on
June 13, 2022 8:38:42 PM PDT June 13, 2022 8:38:42 PM PDTth, June 13, 2022 8:38:42 PM PDT

CPAP therapy is one of the leading treatments for sleep apnea. Not everyone sleeps well, for a number of reasons. Maybe your excess weight blocks your airway or you have lung issues. 


A CPAP machine provides a continuous flow of air for an individual that helps you breathe while you sleep. The direct result is that you take in more air and oxygen. 


Since CPAP therapy should directly affect your oxygen intake, you need a way to monitor your blood oxygen levels. Here's why you should pair your machine with a fingertip pulse oximeter. 


What is a Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

Pulse oximetry is a test that measures the oxygen saturation level of your blood. It's most often measured using a fingertip pulse oximeter, which is a small device you place on your finger. It's non-invasive and provides a reading in under a minute. 


The two other types of oximeter are a handheld oximeter and a fetal pulse oximeter. A handheld oximeter comes with a finger clip that plugs into a handheld device to measure your blood oxygen levels. A fetal pulse oximeter is used to measure a fetus's oxygen levels in the womb. 


However, most people get the fingertip variety. This type has everything you need packaged inside a single device the size of a bag clip.


Reasons to Get an Oximeter

You may purchase a pulse oximeter for home use if you need to monitor symptoms affecting your breathing. For example, you may suffer shortness of breath due to a lung or heart condition. 


The reason you should have one on hand when using a CPAP machine is so you can measure the machine's effectiveness. If you're using a CPAP machine, it's because you aren't breathing normally. Your pulse oximeter can tell you whether or not your treatment is working or not.


How to Read Blood Oxygen Levels

Using a fingertip pulse oximeter is simple. You clip it onto the tip of your finger and it provides a measurement of your blood oxygen levels on its small screen. It provides a continuous reading until you either take it off or the battery dies. 


Remember to remove any jewelry beforehand, and keep your hand below heart level. You may also attach the device to your earlobe or toe. 


What you're looking for is the SpO2 reading. A healthy individual should have an oxygen saturation level of over 94 percent. If yours is slightly below that, you may need to adjust your treatment options. 


If your resting blood oxygen levels drop below 92 percent, you should seek emergency medical care.


Breathe Easier

Your body's oxygen intake is not something that should be ignored. Low blood oxygen levels can have serious side effects on how you feel, think, and function. CPAP therapy is meant to help, but it's hard to track how well it's working without a fingertip pulse oximeter. 


1800CPAP is a Direct-to-Consumer store that can ship CPAP machines, masks, and supplies directly to your doorstep. We also have oxygen products like concentrators and nebulizers. Take a look at our stock online, and contact us if you have any questions.