By now we all know that with a coronavirus infection, it is important to monitor blood oxygen saturation level. That is why doctors suggest that every household should keep an oximeter. Whether you have a case of confirmed COVID-19 or you think you have been exposed, it is vital to keep an eye on your blood oxygen level.
In this context, the 6-minute walk test or the 6MWT has gained popularity. What is this test and when do you need to take it? Let’s find out.
What is the 6MWT?
Simply put, this test is a measure of how healthy your lungs and heart is. It is usually advised to COVID patients who are being treated at home.
How to conduct the test
This is a simple test that you can perform at home and it doesn’t cost you any money. Simply measure your oxygen levels at rest. Then walk for 6 minutes in your room, with the oximeter attached to your finger. Note your oxygen levels during and after this 6 min walk test. The 6 minutes may be cut short for 3 minutes in patients above 60 years of age.
What the test reveals
- While doing this test if there is a drop in saturation below 93%, or drop of more than 3%, or feeling unwell (light headed, short of breath) while performing the test are important findings.
- Patients with a positive 6-minute walk test should immediately talk to their doctor for further medical care or intervention.
How many times should you take the test and who should opt for it?
Doctors advise that this test should be taken at least twice a day by people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Even if you don’t have COVID-19, you can still opt for the test twice a day because it helps you understand your lungs’ health. Besides, these days, some people do not witness any symptoms of COVID and yet their blood oxygen saturation level drops. This is called happy hypoxia, but it is equally dangerous and medical attention is needed.
If you have contracted COVID-19, then pls stay in home isolation. Keep a tab on your oxygen level and other symptoms and if necessary arrange for hospitalization. Everyone, whether a COVID survivor or someone who has not contacted the virus should get the COVID vaccine as soon as they can. Continue to observe all COVID-19 precautions. That is the only way we can put the pandemic behind us.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.