oxygen levels when dying

Exercise Daily – The topic of death is one that many people would rather not approach. However, the reality is that we will all have to deal with it at some point in our lives. We often hear that oxygen levels when dying drop to a dangerously low level.

Impending death can cause a person’s oxygen saturation to drop below 60%. This cause a state of cyanosis, which eventually causes death. It’s true that there are certain things that get less terrifying the more you learn about them, but not always. This is true about dying!

Facts About Dying

Here are some facts about death that you may not be aware of.

The act of dying is often a process

There are many things that may cause death, and many of them can happen very quickly. There are certain indicators that a person’s time on earth is drawing to a close – either due to an illness or just old age. 

Some of these indicators include slowing of the patient’s pulse rate and respiration as well as a change in the patient’s color. In most cases, the individual will turn pale because of a decrease in blood pressure in the hours leading up to the death. 

It’s possible that the fingers may get numb or become blue. If you feel the pulse, you will see that it is faint. After that, they will begin to develop an erratic sort of breathing, oxygen levels when dying fluctuate, which is an indication that things are serious.

When breathing becomes more labored, the end is probably not far off.

There may be pauses in between breaths that give the impression that the individual has stopped breathing. It can be for fifteen to twenty seconds at a time. It is a natural part of the dying process, but families frequently worry about it at this time.

There are two distinct phases to the dying process

When a person’s heart stops beating, this marks the beginning of the first stage of death. It is known as clinical death. After around four to six minutes, brain cells begin to die as a result of the lack of oxygen. This is followed by the process of biological death.

Resuscitation is a possibility even when clinical death has occurred. This is not feasible when a person is physically dead. 

oxygen levels when dying

However, if the corpse is cooled quickly enough, medical professionals may be able to postpone the onset of biological death. This prolongs the window of opportunity for potential resuscitation. 

Individuals who drown or who are exposed to colder environments may have a delay in the onset of biological death. This is because the colder the body is, the slower the metabolic rate. As a result, you’re using oxygen levels when dying slower, which means that the window of opportunity may extend.

It’s possible that hearing will be the last sense to be affected

Hearing is the last of the senses to be lost before death. Therefore, doctors urge families to chat and share their final thoughts, love, and support with their loved ones. This is because when death appears impending even if the blood pressure is falling, they can hear what we’re saying.

You are free to urinate and defecate 

When we are living, our brain is continually sending messages to various sections of our body. It is continually instructing those parts on what they should be doing. When we are dying, these impulses no longer travel, and the majority of our muscles relax. 

The neck of the bladder and the sphincter are in a continual state of contraction. Thus, when there are no more neurological impulses to the bladder or bowels, they relax. Therefore, it is not unusual for pee to start gushing out shortly after someone passes away.

Morphine is only administered to patients in order to alleviate the agony

The notion that morphine is administered to patients in an effort to hasten their passing is the most common fallacy. This is the farthest thing from the truth. Morphine is not to expedite their passing since physician-assisted suicide is illegal in the majority of states.

As individuals are in the process of dying, their blood pressure lowers and they get less oxygen to their organs. The oxygen levels when dying are pretty low and the body reacts by gasping for air. 

It is an unsuccessful effort to speed up the pace at which they are breathing. This condition is what medical professionals call “air hunger.” That gasping is quite tough for families to observe because it definitely appears painful, and here is where morphine helps. 

They are breathing more slowly and pleasantly as a result of the appropriate dosage of morphine. It, then, eliminates the sensation of air hunger.

The body as a whole may be dead, but individual organs may still be alive

The brain is the organ that shows signs of degeneration first, followed by the rest of the body’s organs. The process of putrefaction, also known as decomposition, is heavily influenced by the living bacteria that are found throughout the body, especially in the intestines. 

This degradation contributes a highly pungent stench to the environment. One can smell death in the room even after just half an hour has passed.

Why Do Your Blood Oxygen Levels Matter?

The red blood cells in your body are comparable to cars. Each one is capable of transporting up to four oxygen molecules throughout your body. They bring oxygen to vital organs such as your heart and brain. Oxygen levels when dying drop because biological functions stop.

oxygen levels when dying

The proportion of oxygen that is normally present in the blood is referred to as oxygen saturation. At all times, the important systems in your body need a normal level of oxygen saturation. 

However, there are instances when your blood might obtain either too much or too little oxygen. And when this happens, there is a possibility that there will be negative effects on your health. 

Blood Oxygen Levels

The proportion of oxygen that is saturated in your blood is used as a measurement tool for determining oxygen levels. This number is referred to as your SpO2 level.

Normal Blood Oxygen Levels

In the context of medicine, a blood oxygen saturation rate between 95 and 100 percent is often regarded as normal. On the other hand, if your proportion is smaller, you could not have any symptoms at all.

Levels of Blood Oxygen That Are ‘Concerned’

Oxygen concentrations ranging from 91 percent to 95 percent may be indicative of a medical condition. Those who find themselves in this predicament should get in touch with their primary care physician.

Low Blood Oxygen Levels

Any number that is less than 90 percent oxygen saturation is considered to be a low blood oxygen rate. A saturation level of oxygen lower than 90 percent is considered very alarming and is indicative of an emergency. Oxygen levels when dying may drop down to 60% 

When Your Brain Is Affected by Having a Low Oxygen Saturation?

When your brain’s oxygen saturation drops to about 80 and 85 percent, you may begin to feel the effects of the lack of oxygen in your body. Alterations to your eyesight are also a possibility.


Cyanosis is the first obvious indication of low blood oxygen levels. It causes a bluish hue to form on your skin, most noticeably around your mouth and lips. It occurs under the matrix of your fingernails as well. 

This modification takes place when the oxygen saturation level in your blood reaches roughly 67 percent.

Symptoms of hypoxemia 

In many circumstances, patients with low blood oxygen show little or no symptoms, “silent hypoxemia.” This is significantly more likely to be the case in more severe instances of hypoxemia. 

Some patients with low blood oxygen levels seem to be OK. Because of this, having a pulse oximeter on hand might be beneficial if you have reason to assume that your oxygen saturation levels are low. 

As the percentage of oxygen in your bloodstream drops, you may start to experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Uneasy breathing
  • Short, shallow breaths
  • When one is too ill to participate in everyday activities due to illness.

Apparatus to Check Oxygen Levels

HealthSmart Pulse Oximeter

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Dr. Talbot’s Pulse Oximeter

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Innovo iP900AP Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

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ClinicalGuard CMS-50DL Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

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Concord Portable Handheld Pulse Oximeter

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Frequently Asked Questions

 What is a near death oxygen level?

Confusion, increased pulse rate (>20 percent average), low oxygen saturation (90%), death rattle (respiratory sounds associated with movement of secretions), and consciousness level (responsive to voice, pain, or nonresponsive) are all significantly associated with impending death. Oxygen levels when dying drop very low.

What is a dangerously low oxygen level?

If it drops below 88%, it is hazardous. If it drops to 84% or below, you should seek medical attention immediately. A blood oxygen level of 80% or below is dangerous to your important organs. Thus, you should get treatment as soon as possible.

Does your oxygen drop when you are dying?

Both the heartbeat and blood circulation of a person who is dying will gradually become more irregular. As a result of receiving less oxygen than they need, the brain and organs function less effectively. 

It is common for individuals to begin to lose control of their breathing in the days leading up to their passing. It’s very uncommon for folks to be quite tranquil in the hours leading up to their passing away.

How low can oxygen level get before it is fatal?

Values of oxygen saturation between 95 and 100 percent are within the normal range. A rapid decline in status might occur if values are less than 90 percent, and there is a risk of death if values are less than 70 percent.

What happens when your oxygen level drops to 45?

It’s possible that your body won’t function correctly if your blood oxygen levels are too low. Your blood is responsible for delivering oxygen to all of the cells in your body, ensuring that they remain healthy. 

Headaches and a feeling of being short of breath are two of the most common symptoms of hypoxemia. In extreme circumstances, it may disrupt the normal operation of both the heart and the brain.

Take Away

It’s possible that you’ll experience a wide range of feelings, from sorrow that they are no longer with you to relief that their suffering is over and any number of other feelings in between. 

It is OK to spend as much time as you feel is necessary just sitting with the individual who has passed away. Take your time!

If the death takes place in a healthcare institution, such as a hospital, nursing home, or hospice, then the establishment will handle all of the early stages in the process for you. Thus, oxygen levels when dying drop very low.