My shorter version story of this web-page called “Should every home with active residents have a Oximeter?” was sent to the “New Zealand, Walking”, Magazine. was shortened more and printed on page 20 (January 2017).


How to read a “pulse oximeter” SpO2 reading

UPDATE: 13 June 2017
Lately I have been reading a couple of books “Defy You Doctor And Be Healed” by C, Thomas Corriher and Sarah C. Corriher. the other “The Cancer Prevention handbook” by Katherine Joyce Smith DHS one of them said how cancer does not like oxygen. One doctor mentioned says how the body never gets cancer of heart because it is in the right place for getting a supply of oxygen, since cancer has become rampant in our modern age this is one reason why we should stay well hydrated. Access to a oximeter and other lifestyle changes might allow you (us) get the edge to prevent or slow down the rate of getting some type of cancer.

The reason for the Oximeter purchase, was brought to my attention via a monthly electronics magazine. The reason why I purchased a oximeter was because I live near smokers and I have to shut my windows to avoid second hand smoke. So I was keen to see the SpO2 reading to show my blood oxygen level was when I had to shut out second hand smoke. The result was there was no difference in SpO2 reading between inside & outside in fresh air.

The SpO2% reading. While the heart rate reading is fascinating, I have only put up this web page to bring readers to the attention about the SpO2 readout of the oximeter.

The lack of information from the instructions. It seems to be that from day one I had my oximeter I was misinformed on understanding the SpO2 readout. Let me explain. For most of 2016 I only ever saw two readings on my Oximeter, 95% or 99%. 95% when I was home resting and 99% when I was out walking (for exercise) of course the heart rate also went up as well.

The day the ‘penny dropped’, on 3rd October 2016. Without going into the finer details I was at Auckland hospital and just had an operation, the nurse put a hospital oximeter on my finger to show the same SpO2 readout of 95% I have always seen. Now gets the tricky part, I am very naughty! I should have been taking my medication (blood thinners) for an earlier issue. Why am I naughty? Well it seems to be what am I going to die of? Blood clot for not taking my medication or internal bleeding for taking blood thinner medication. Sometimes I think I am more likely to die of internal bleeding if I take the medication. I believe one way to keep the blood thin is to keep hydrated. So this was the problem for a few hours before the operation I was not allowed to drink any fluid. I was also aware of the fact that when you do not drink enough (water) to keep hydrated your red blood cells clog together and when that happens it reduces the ability for red blood cells to carry oxygen. My thinking was “what if the hospital take a blood test and see all the red cells clogged together? They might put me on stronger blood thinner medication then I would be worse off!”

Anyway the ward doctor was keen for me to drink lots of water after the operation to flush out some of the stuff they gave me while I was having the operation. So naturally thinking maybe after a few glasses of water the SpO2 reading might go from 95% to 96%, I have never tried that at home I just thought 95% was reasonable. So I was very keen to see the SpO2 readout every time the nurse took the reading, after I had drunk about 10 glasses of water (at about a 20-30 minute interval) and the SpO2 was still stuck on 95%. Two glasses of water later when the nurse came back and by this time I had lost interest looking at the SPO2 reading, I was busy reading a book, so I stuck my finger out ready for the oximeter and continued to read my book, the nurse took the oximeter off and went away then she returned a few moments later and ask me to put my finger out again, little did I know it was a different oximeter and sounding very surprised said “Oh look it is 98% ” Now you might think you drink a lot of water, you go to the toilet a lot, what about the next day when you have stopped drinking so much water because you have been up all night making toilet visits. The good news was it was still at 98% and I never saw 95% again while in hospital, in fact I never really see 95% since getting out of hospital I only see readings between 97% to 99%.

Conclusion: Now I think of the SpO2 reading is not so much breathing efficiency (on a healthy person similar to myself) but in fact a measure of body dehydration and I can see a much closer relationship between ‘The amount of walking I do for daily exercise, the amount of water I drink & the reading on the oximeter’. Sometimes maybe at once a week if the reading is lower than 99% I try a top up and keep drinking a glass of water every half hour until it gets to 99%. Just to make sure I am well hydrated and it does not slip down like 95% without me knowing it.

Footnote to the hernia operation that came from a assault. When I left the hospital on 4th October the hospital prescription was mostly for pain killers, I only took the paracetamols from the chemist leaving the other stronger type that I could of picked up at a later date if needed. I had two paracetamols and I think that was two too many. Why was it I did not suffer pain when I have heard of others who have had the same operation and been in pain for a month or maybe even longer? Was it because of all the water I drank straight after the operation after all, the ward doctor was keen for me to drink plenty of water, I will never know I never been to medical school. There could be another reason but this is just another guess, at the start of 2016 I gave up eating bread made by the genetically engineered wheat from the 1950's, I noticed about a month later my toilet visits was closer to 24 hours after meals the previous day instead of 3 visits the first few hours of the morning, as a Australian naturopath says the “bread made from modern wheat clogs up the system”, also I made breakfast the largest meal and dinner the smallest meal. As I was told by hospital notes before the operation not to have meals 24hrs before the operation and knowing the “system” is not clogged up I had a very light lunch the day before so I would not have the urge to “go” as I was wheeled into the operating theater. It so happened the first toilet visit of the day was normal so that was breakfast the day before gone. The next toilet visit was about 44 hours after the operation 5th October (and sorry for extra fine details) I did feel constipated in-fact I was almost ready to contact my GP. I only added these details hoping that these comments might help prevent someone else having many weeks of pain from a similar operation.

A extra bonus.
For most of my life I suffered from eye or vision problems, this is where blobs of vision goes out of focus (I think that is the best way to describe it) it lasts for about 25 minutes then leads on to a headache, sometimes it would be a few years between this problem, sometimes just a few months or shorter. It was interesting about maybe 2005 or so I gave up drinking tea and coffee, not that I had much coffee before 2005, just about that time I got the vision problem but without the headaches. Ever since I got the oximeter up higher than 96% I did suffer a vision problem to my horror a couple of weeks later (mid October) but it was gone in about half the time and the problem continued into early November 2016 getting shorter and shorter each time. Now as I write this it is almost a week away from 2017, I think I have accidentally found a cure.

Other possibilities.
Maybe about 10 years ago I used to go swimming after walking home from work, I would drink a couple of cups of water wait a few hours and go to the local pool just before they closed doing a few laps of the pool, but soon gave it up, because of leg cramp while swimming after just a couple lengths of the pool every visit. I tried many different things apart from magnesium supplements, magnesium to relax the muscles, the only thing that worked was “stop swimming.” Believe me once you get one tiny cramp they only get worse seconds later. If it happens to you stop swimming try and get out as soon as you can if you can do it, without using leg power if you can help it.

Books to read.

Water by Dr. F Batmanghelidj (Your Body's Many Cries For Water you are not sick you are thirsty, Dont treat thirst with medication.)

I must say I was just a little disappointed with the Water book, December 2016 maybe because I did not think of my vision impairment as a water problem, but far worse than that after I re-read the book on headaches, I put too much faith into the cholesterol remedy! And then with the next blood test I failed the cholesterol results. My GP got angry with me, he said “Take your medication I give you or go and find a new doctor!” as he bumps up the statins dosage rate, then he said he is getting sick of people who do not take the medication he gives them, then they turn up in hospitals, So the hospital looks at how good he is as a GP. Another book I read says yes cholesterol is coming down but the public health benefit is not in step or improving, the book went on to say the cholesterol drugs or statins could provoke the user getting diabetes. Brilliant! So what am I going to die of now a cholesterol issue or sick of life because I am worn down having to manage diabetes everyday?

OK maybe if you have a lot higher cholesterol, 2 glasses of water about half a hour before each meal might reduce ones cholesterol, but it did not do anything for me when maybe my cholesterol is closer to the limit than those Dr Batmanghelidj wrote about in his book. What a pity he is not alive today so he could update his book, lets hope there is a better updated book out there somewhere or coming soon. The good news is wait for my page on cholesterol. It might be worth reading if I can get a better result on my diet change. a preview tip stay away from corn flakes in your breakfast serial? and read

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