Oxygen is extracted from air you breathe through your lungs. How much oxygen you get to your vital organs depends on a number of factors. Oxygen levels are especially important for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. According to the American Lung Association, 12 million people in the United States were diagnosed with COPD as of 2009 and 12 million more likely have COPD but are undiagnosed. The ALA says COPD is the fourth leading cause of death. It is possible to help increase the oxygen level in your blood.
Keep the quality of air as high as possible by by not smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke. Enclosed areas with poor ventilation also impede the amount of air and thus oxygen your lungs take in. If outside air quality is poor, stay inside until it improves.
Practice deep breathing for a few minutes daily. Deep breathing means expanding your abdomen as well as your lungs to fill your lungs to maximum capacity. Exhale completely so each breath has the most fresh air you can manage. The volume of fresh air brought in by deep breathing will translate into more oxygen available for your lungs to distribute to your red blood cells and to your vital organs.
Sit up and stand up straight with your shoulders back to enable your lungs to fill to the maximum. The better posture you have, the more capacity your lungs will have to fill with fresh air.
Exercise enough to strengthen your heart and lung muscles. Regular, brisk walks may be all it takes to help improve your oxygen intake and blood flow.
See your doctor regularly so he can determine whether your breathing and air intake are of concern. He may have recommendations to help you improve your breathing, including oxygen therapy. If the problem is complicated by anemia, or a low red blood cell count, he may have recommendations such as taking iron supplements.
Take recommended precautions against flu and pneumonia. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute recommend you don’t go where there are crowds in enclosed places. Get a flu shot and see if your doctor thinks a pneumonia vaccine would be a good thing for you.