Oxygen Saturation Essay

684 Words2 Pages

Oxygen saturation is a term referring to the concentration of oxygen in the blood. Hypoxemia describes a lower than normal level of oxygen in the blood. In order to function properly, the body needs to be above a certain level of oxygen circulating in the blood to perfuse the cells and tissues. When the oxygen level falls below this threshold, hypoxemia occurs. This may cause certain signs and symptoms to occur. Having short term low oxygen saturation can cause shortness of breath, which is generally one of the first symptoms. Anxiety, restlessness, fatigue and headaches are also common symptoms of short term hypoxemia. In an effort to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood, the respiration rate may increase to more than 24 breaths per minute. Heart rate is also frequently elevated to above 100 beats per minute to help circulate oxygen to meet tissue demands. Low oxygen saturation can also cause level of orientation problems such as confusion and short term memory loss. If hypoxemia becomes severe, brain function may become impaired, creating symptoms such as decreased attention span. Breathing may become irregular, with cycles of deep and shallow breathing. Endurance for physical activity decreases, and motor function, particularly for fine movements, can also become impaired. Cyanosis, a bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes, becomes visible. As hypoxemia worsens, bradycardia and hypotension may occur. Ultimately, coma and death can result from severe, untreated hypoxemia. For long term low oxygen saturation conditions, which can last for several days or even longer, signs and symptoms will vary depending on the severity and duration. Fatigue, lethargy and irritability are common symptoms, as is impaired judg...

... middle of paper ...

...ctive pulmonary disease), emphysema, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, and sleep apnea. Specifically towards COPD, some nursing plans would be is to prevent the disease from progressing, treat exacerbations, client being able to perform ADLs, relieve client from breathlessness and other respiratory symptoms, improvement in exercise tolerance, and improve overall quality of life. For nursing actions, educate client on effects of smoking with regards to COPD, encourage client to exercise with activities such as walking, using bronchodilator to help with dyspnea when necessary, and explain to client about how important it is to sleep and get proper rest. Always ensure that the client understands the procedural teaching and demonstrate appropriately, answer any questions that they have, and reinforce information as needed to evaluate and support previously taught information.

More about Oxygen Saturation Essay

Open Document