A pulse oximeter is likely something most people have never heard of unless they have a condition that requires them to monitor the oxygen levels in their blood. This small medical device is often recommended to people who experience shortness of breath or have a known lung or heart condition. It’s an electronic device that measures the saturation of oxygen carried in the red blood cells, says the American Lung Association.
Pulse oximeters are often used in a hospital setting to help monitor patients, however there are also many at-home options available on the market. To help decide which product is the right choice for you, here’s a breakdown of all the effective pulse oximeters to try and why…
What is a Pulse Oximeter?
A pulse oximeter is a medical device that is used to check how well the heart is pumping oxygen throughout the body. According to Healthline, it is often used by people with specific conditions that affect blood oxygen levels like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pneumonia, lung cancer, anemia, heart attack (or heart failure), as well as congenital heart defects. Pulse oximeters are often used in the hospital, but they can also be used at home.
Most devices work as a small clamp that is placed on either the finger, earlobe, or toe. “Small beams of light pass through the blood in the finger, measuring the amount of oxygen,” explains Healthline. “It does this by measuring changes of light absorption in oxygenated or deoxygenated blood.” It’s totally painless.