How Low Can Your Oxygen Level Go Before You Die

How Low Can Your Oxygen Level Go Before You Die
How Low Can Your Oxygen Level Go Before You Die

Oxygen is very important for life on earth and sustains humans. Without enough oxygen, our organs and tissues suffer. How Low Can Your Oxygen Level Go Before You Die? This article addresses this question and its causes.

Blood oxygen level measures blood oxygenation. Doctors consider oxygen levels below 60 mm Hg poor. Dizziness, breathlessness, and other symptoms may occur. 75–100 mm Hg is normal blood oxygen. Below 60 mm Hg, Trusted Source, crucial organs may lack oxygen. Symptoms may result.

The body continuously checks blood oxygen levels to supply enough oxygen to every cell blood oxygen levels indicate how efficiently the body moves oxygen from the lungs to the cells and can impact one’s overall health.

Understanding Oxygen

We must define oxygen levels before discussing how low they can go before death. Pulse oximeters monitor blood oxygen. This light-based device measures blood oxygen levels on your finger or earlobe. 95%–100% oxygen is healthy. Low oxygen levels may suggest respiratory issues.

Oxygen-Affecting Factors

Oxygen levels are affected by:


Your body absorbs less oxygen at higher elevations. High-altitude flight causes shortness of breath and other problems.

Lung Function

Asthma and COPD can make it hard for your body to absorb oxygen.

Heart Health

Your heart distributes oxygen-rich blood. Your organs and tissues receive less oxygen if your heart is malfunctioning.


Anaemia occurs when your body lacks red blood cells to deliver oxygen. This can lower blood oxygen.

How Low Can Oxygen Go Before You Die?

The answer depends on numerous things. A persistent oxygen level below 60% is life-threatening. When your oxygen level dips this low, your organs and tissues may not get enough oxygen, causing symptoms like:

  1. Breathing difficulty
  2. Confusion
  3. Fast heartbeat
  4. Bluish skin, lips, or nails

Below 50% oxygen is life-threatening. At this point, your organs and tissues may fail, causing convulsions or unconsciousness.

Normal and Low Blood Oxygen

Healthy blood oxygen levels are 75–100 mm Hg.

Medical professionals consider an arterial blood gas (ABG) oxygen level below 60 mm HgTrusted Source low. These results may necessitate oxygen supplementation.

Low blood oxygen levels cause hypoxemia. This occurs when oxygen cannot reach all cells, tissues, and organs.

O2 Saturation

Oxygen saturation measures blood oxygen levels. For rapid tests or ongoing monitoring, doctors utilize pulse oximeters. Fingertip attachment is possible.

Trusted Source recommends 95%–100% oxygen saturation. If oxygen levels drop below this range, people may have problems breathing and confusion.

How is blood oxygen measured?

ABG tests check blood oxygen levels. This test requires a wrist-artery blood sample. This process is precise but unpleasant. Hospital doctors perform ABG tests. However, pulse oximeters allow home testing. Home ABG testing is impossible.

Pulse oximeters are little clips that attach to fingers, ears, or toes. Light absorption through a pulse detects blood oxygen indirectly. These tests are faster, less uncomfortable, and less accurate than ABG tests. Trusted Source:

  1. Grimy hands
  2. Bright lights
  3. Dark skin
  4. Nail polish
  5. Poor extremity circulation

Low-oxygen Symptoms

Low blood oxygen levels induce irregular circulation and trusted Source symptoms:

  1. Difficulty breathing
  2. Headaches
  3. Restlessness
  4. Fast breathing
  5. Chest discomfort
  6. High BP
  7. Poor coordination
  8. Eye problems
  9. Feel good
  10. Fast heartbeat

Low Oxygen Causes

Hypoxemia is medically low blood oxygen. It is the failure of the bloodstream to circulate to the lungs, absorb oxygen, and distribute it around the body. Causes include:

Air without oxygen, the lungs cannot intake and provide oxygen to all cells and tissues.

Medical conditions like

  1. Asthma
  2. Congenital heart disease
  3. Anaemia
  4. Altitude

COVID-19Trusted Source

  1. COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  2. Lung disease
  3. Acute respiratory distress (ARDS)
  4. Pneumonia
  5. Acute respiratory distress (ARDS)
  6. Pulmonary fibrosis, lung scarring and damage
  7. Extra lung fluid or air in the chest that collapses the lungs
  8. Sleep apnea, which disrupts sleep breathing, some drugs, including opiates and painkillers

Doctor Consultations

Call a Doctor if:

Experience severe and sudden shortness of breath experience shortness of breath when at rest severe shortness of breath that worsens during exercise or physical activity. Wake up with shortness of breath or a feeling of choking at high altitude and experience severe shortness of breath with a cough, rapid heartbeat, and fluid retention


Supplemental oxygen treats low blood oxygen levels. Doctors can prescribe or recommend HOT or office-based oxygen treatment. Some HOT delivery and monitoring devices require prescriptions.

Lifestyle changes can enhance health, quality of life, and low oxygen symptoms. Beneficial changes include:

  1. Quit smoking
  2. Avoiding secondhand smoke by eating enough fruits, complete grains, lean protein, and vegetables
  3. Regular exercise

How to Fix Low Oxygen

Seek medical assistance if you have breathing issues or low oxygen levels. Your doctor may prescribe oxygen or other therapies to boost your oxygen levels.

Last Words

Blood oxygen levels indicate how much oxygen is in the blood. Pulse oximeters monitor blood oxygen. Doctors consider pulse oximeter levels under 95% low. Asthma, anaemia, and COVID-19 can lower blood oxygen. Doctors may propose lifestyle changes, oxygen therapy, or treating the underlying problem.

About Robert Jack 178 Articles
Robert is a professional Content writer with more than 5 years of experience. He has ability to write on Business trends and Finance. Having passion to write meaningful content, he is one of the top writers.

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