Dangerous oxygen levels during sleep. Very concerned.

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Dangerous oxygen levels during sleep. Very concerned.

Postby aliasneo07 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:08 pm

Hello.

I had a sleep study done last friday and was called by my primary care physician today with the results. He said he was very concerned. He said my oxygen level was 82, and should have been at least 92. He said to call and schedule an appointment with the sleep specialist.

I'm somewhat concerned. I have an appointment tuesday, but if the Dr. tells me I need a machine, it could take even longer to get one. I just don't know.

But it's friday afternoon and I was looking forward to the weekend after a long week of work, and I am freaking out. Does an oxygen level of 82 while asleep mean I'm going to drop dead? Or not wake up? Should I go buy an oximeter to measure my oxygen levels when I am AWAKE just to see?

I am 22 and overweight. Yes I am losing weight. My doctor said my tonsils were huge and he was surprised I never had them out. I was pretty sure I had sleep apnea anyway because of my snoring and people tell me I stop breathing in my sleep. So I went for a sleep study and got this.

So...oxygen level of 82. Am I going to survive a few weeks till I get the correct equipment? Or should I be seriously concerned? Let me have it, lol.

Thanks in advance!
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Postby Janknitz » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:56 pm

You are NOT going to drop dead. You've been having this for some time and survived. Keep reading here and you'll see people whose blood oxygen levels dropped into the 60's and even 50's when they had their sleep tests. I don't recommend it, but at 82 you're way better off than they are, and they were walking around. Mine were in the low 70's!

That said, when you see the doctor for the post test appointment, you can certainly ask him to expedite things, especially since it's good to get you going when you are a bit scared of your oxygen levels--motivation to keep going through the inevitable adjustment period ;-)
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Postby bierhere » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:20 am

My Oxygen level was in the 50's when I did my sleep study, and was 97% after starting CPAP.
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Postby Vigilute » Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:07 am

I had a 68 O2 level during my sleep study and probably was living with that level for several years before finally getting my study. I have read in this forum that anything below ~90 is concerning to hospital folks, but my doctor once prescribed a oximetric home study and told me his "concern" threshold was 80; so 82 certainly isn't healthy, but I doubt you'll drop dead suddenly; probably just deteriorate over the years unless something is done.
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Postby Bons » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:17 am

Odds are very good that you will be able to get started on Cpap the same day as your appointment or very shortly after. I had mine the next day.

As for your oxygen level, remember that you've probably had this problem for awhile and lived with it. Knowing about it ups your anxiety, but doesn't change anything from what it was before you knew about it.

WHEN YOU MEET WITH YOUR DOCTOR MONDAY, make sure he gives you a script for a decent machine, tell him you want one that is an autopap and data capable (not just compliance). Tell that to your supplier, too.
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Postby aliasneo07 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:06 pm

Thanks for your replies everybody. I feel slightly better now. I'll try to just relax until I see the doctor on tuesday. I was told that I'd probably have to go in for another sleep study so that they can decide what pressure the cpap should be set to.

Now I've just gotta figure out which model to get, and whether my insurance will cover it. Hopefully i'm not going to have to shell out hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

For you really heavy folks who dropped weight, did your sleep apnea get better? I'm only 22 and would prefer not to use one my whole life. I'm 6'1 & 365lbs. I know, huge. I've already started the weight loss process and dropped 10 lbs in 3 weeks. Am I incorrect in thinking that I can use this thing until I drop 100lbs or so? Does it usually get better when you drop large amounts of weight?

Thanks again for the replies everyone!
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Postby SleepyToo » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:55 pm

No guarantees with weight loss. I am now down to a "normal" BMI at 156 lb (5' 7"). But I still have sleep apnea. I was only 13 lb more when I was diagnosed. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that your treatment _may_ need to change if you lose 100 lb. And why stop there? Take it 1 lb at a time, but if your treatment is effective and you keep using the machine every night, you will possibly find that helps with the weight loss. Good luck, and let us know how you get on.
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Postby CrohnieToo » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:12 pm

If you are really overweight at the time of your PAP titration study you may well find that your pressure needs are lowered as you lose weight but quite likely you will always need PAP as the cause is usually anatomical (i.e. small throat; short, thick neck; enlarged tonsils, small jaw, overshot bite, large uvula, etc., etc. and excess weight is thus just a contributor, not a cause).

02 desaturation to 82% is NOT particularly desirable -BUT - how long and how often the desaturations occurred are of every bit as much importance. For instance, if you only desaturated below 90% once during a 6 hour sleep period and the desaturation only lasted 6 seconds - so what? No big deal.

Ask your sleep doctor to include "access to Leak, AHI and AI" and "full face, nasal cushion, nasal pillows or oro-nasal mask of patient's choice" on your equipment order (prescription). If he/she won't don't tell him/her what local DME provider you want to use, ask that the script be given to you so that you can shop your provider options and then if you have a good rapport w/your family doctor, ask your family doctor to re-write the script to include those two phrases. The script is part of your medical records, and as such, assuming you are in the USA, you have a legal right to a copy under HIPAA.
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Postby aliasneo07 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:45 pm

Had my appointment with my sleep doctor today, wanted to update.

First, she said that the 82 oxygen level was not AVERAGE, but at the LOWEST. So, that makes quite a difference, hah. She said I had "Mild sleep apnea."
She said it is normal for an adult to wake during sleep 3-4 times per hour, but once you hit 5, it becomes abnormal. I was at 9.6 per hour. So she wants me to get a cpap. I've gotta go in this saturday for a sleep study to get fitted for my cpap, then a week after, go back for another appointment so she can order my equipment. She also said there was a good chance my apnea may disappear if I drop all this weight.

So, I have one question for you guys/gals: I plan to use the cpap every night. But I go camping a lot, spend the night out at my girlfriends a lot, etc. The Dr. said I should use it every night or i'm at increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, etc, which we all know. But REALISTICALLY, coming from YOU ALL, is it a big deal if I don't use it from time to time? With the stats I listed above?

She said if I go and sleep out somewhere it's not a big deal if maybe once in a while I don't sleep with it. But seriously, worst case scenario, in yalls opinion, is it that big of a deal, with the stats listed above, if I don't use it from time to time?

Thanks!
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Postby CrohnieToo » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:05 pm

First, use your PAP religiously EVERY time you sleep, including naps, until it becomes second nature to you. THEN go ahead and try ONE night w/o it and see how you feel the next day. The problem w/skipping a night now and then before using PAP becomes second nature to you is that it becomes easier and easier for there to be more and more nights that you don't use it. Once you and your PAP are on friendly, intimate terms, you won't be as pleased going w/o it as you anticipate right now. You'll be very much aware of how much better you sleep and how much more rested you are when you sleep w/your PAP "buddy".

A LOT of people go camping w/their CPAP. PAP therapy shouldn't stop camping out at all. Just takes a little more $$$ investment to ensure you have the proper batter setup when camping in an area w/o electrical hookup. That also comes in handy if you have an emergency power outage at home due to a storm or whatever.
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Postby SleepyToo » Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:08 pm

+10 for what Crohnie just said. Use the machine every night for at least 3-6 months (until you can feel a difference from how you feel now). Then stop for a night. I did - yeuch!

I have a battery pack that I bought from a local car parts store. It is big enough to start a truck, I believe. Too big for backpacking, but our camping is done with the car handy for now! I learned the hard way that you need to make sure it is fully charged before you settle down for the night. I also now keep it fully charged all the time (at least once a month) after the power went out one night recently. No storm or anything. It just went out. I woke up thinking that it had become difficult to take a breath. Connected up the battery pack, and I was soon back in the land of nod!

Take a look at all the options you might have (call the insurance company first and see what they will cover), so that you can discuss the prescription with your sleep doc BEFORE they write the prescription. Spend some time checking which ones will work with a battery pack, and search on this site for some clues on the kind of battery pack you need to get. You might even want to consider two machines - you keep one for your house and one for use at your girlfriend's house. She will appreciate you not snoring when you sleep over!
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Postby Bons » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:00 pm

One thing to be very careful of: most insurance plans require that you prove compliance by using the machine on a very regular basis or they will refuse to cover it. So for as long as they are paying to rent the thing on a trial basis (my plan was three months and then purchase) you should use it just about every night for at least 4 hours per night. Otherwise you will run into the danger of them not paying for it.

Now that I own my bipap I give myself a night off about once every six weeks. It feels good to lay on my stomach and burrow my face in a pillow once in awhile. But some of those nights, I wake up and put on my mask and machine because it feels better with it.
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Postby aliasneo07 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:45 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone! Some good information here that I will definitely take to heart.

I guess my question is, though, at 22, and given a gradual 100 pound weight loss, with MILD sleep apnea (82 oxygen level at lowest, 9.6 wakeups per hour where 4 is normal) what would happen if I didn't use my cpap? Either for once a week or of I never used it?

Don't get me wrong I'm going to use it every night but I wanted opinions, given the stats above, on what would happen if I didn't use it. Drop dead? Or just not quite as restful sleep?

Thanks again everyone I really appreciate the help.
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Postby Bons » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:21 pm

If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems including:

High blood pressure
Stroke
Heart failure, irregular heart beats, and heart attacks
Diabetes
Depression
Worsening of ADHD
In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, as well as academic underachievement in children and adolescents.

People can and do die from sleep apnea. Reggie White (football player) is perhaps the best known example of this. Every night that you sleep without the cpap can cause problems with blood pressure as your struggles to keep itself oxygenated. Ever have to get up once or twice during the night to urninate? At your age, that's most likely due to the apnea and your low oxygen saturation. Heart damage doesn't come automatically, but builds up over time, and every night without the pap has that potential for damage.

WILL you die? Odds are low on any given night.. CAN you die? Yes. Are you likely to die over time if treatment isn't consistant? Good possibility. Would your girlfriend rather deal with your cpap or risk waking up to a dead body in her bed?

CPAP's are not fun. But you will bond with it over time!
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Postby aliasneo07 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:32 pm

Bons wrote:If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems including:

High blood pressure
Stroke
Heart failure, irregular heart beats, and heart attacks
Diabetes
Depression
Worsening of ADHD
In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, as well as academic underachievement in children and adolescents.

People can and do die from sleep apnea. Reggie White (football player) is perhaps the best known example of this. Every night that you sleep without the cpap can cause problems with blood pressure as your struggles to keep itself oxygenated. Ever have to get up once or twice during the night to urninate? At your age, that's most likely due to the apnea and your low oxygen saturation. Heart damage doesn't come automatically, but builds up over time, and every night without the pap has that potential for damage.

WILL you die? Odds are low on any given night.. CAN you die? Yes. Are you likely to die over time if treatment isn't consistant? Good possibility. Would your girlfriend rather deal with your cpap or risk waking up to a dead body in her bed?

CPAP's are not fun. But you will bond with it over time!


Again, fully intend to use the cpap every single night. I was just curious about how dangerous mild sleep apnea is.

Especially temporarily, if I lose power or get stuck somewhere without it.

Thanks.
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