How do I treat low oxygen saturation levels?

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How do I treat low oxygen saturation levels?

Postby jesman » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:54 pm

Hi I'm fairly new to all of this but just recently I decide to have a sleep study done. After years of chronic fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness and a wide variety of other symptoms. Well the study came back with mild sleep apnea but a severe level of oxygen desaturation down to 78%. After the sleep doctor told me I had nothing to worry about I wasn't convinced so I persuaded my regular doctor to test my oxygen level again. And it was abnormal again dropping 5% every hour it was down in the 70% range again. She was really concerned and said I absolutely have a breathing disorder while I sleep.

I was wondering how is this problem usually treated? I have not been able to find much information about this problem. Is sleep apnea playing a larger role here then what we realize? I ask that cause some odd years ago I had my tonsils and adenoids out and I felt insanely better like a new person. And I know that could have treated sleep apnea if I have it. Of course though I got worse again about after a year.

Please help I'm tired of being tired!
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Re: How do I treat low oxygen saturation levels?

Postby Daniel » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:32 pm

jesman wrote:Hi I'm fairly new to all of this but just recently I decide to have a sleep study done. After years of chronic fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness and a wide variety of other symptoms. Well the study came back with mild sleep apnea but a severe level of oxygen desaturation down to 78%. After the sleep doctor told me I had nothing to worry about I wasn't convinced so I persuaded my regular doctor to test my oxygen level again. And it was abnormal again dropping 5% every hour it was down in the 70% range again. She was really concerned and said I absolutely have a breathing disorder while I sleep.

I was wondering how is this problem usually treated? I have not been able to find much information about this problem. Is sleep apnea playing a larger role here then what we realize? I ask that cause some odd years ago I had my tonsils and adenoids out and I felt insanely better like a new person. And I know that could have treated sleep apnea if I have it. Of course though I got worse again about after a year.

Please help I'm tired of being tired!


First off you must get a copy of your sleep study report.....the full one running to 5/7 pages, not the shortened version.

IMHO severity of sleep apnoea is not everything. Like you, many people with mild apnoea are very symptomatic and IMHO dealing with these symptoms is paramount.

Next, a titration study..preferably in a clinic (because you are symptomatic and have low oxygen levels)..during which (with the introduction of positive airway pressure) your apnoea and particularly your low SAO2 can be addressed.

Many insurers (and some less than knowledgable doctors) will want to focus on lifestyle change and sleep hygiene issues......in your case I believe it is important to have these symptoms dealt with ASAP.

I believe that your sleep study report should shed a little light on some of the symptoms.

Kind regards,


Daniel.
The untreated Sleep Apnoea sufferer died quietly in his sleep..
Unlike his three passengers who died screaming !


The first 40 years of childhood are by far the hardest
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Re: How do I treat low oxygen saturation levels?

Postby AlmostDead » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:04 pm

jesman wrote:Hi I'm fairly new to all of this but just recently I decide to have a sleep study done. After years of chronic fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness and a wide variety of other symptoms. Well the study came back with mild sleep apnea but a severe level of oxygen desaturation down to 78%. After the sleep doctor told me I had nothing to worry about I wasn't convinced so I persuaded my regular doctor to test my oxygen level again. And it was abnormal again dropping 5% every hour it was down in the 70% range again. She was really concerned and said I absolutely have a breathing disorder while I sleep.

I was wondering how is this problem usually treated? I have not been able to find much information about this problem. Is sleep apnea playing a larger role here then what we realize? I ask that cause some odd years ago I had my tonsils and adenoids out and I felt insanely better like a new person. And I know that could have treated sleep apnea if I have it. Of course though I got worse again about after a year.

Please help I'm tired of being tired!


I am American Red Cross certified in Oxygen Administration for the Professional Rescuer. Anything less than 88% is considered to be hypoxia. Hypoxia kills off cells, brain cells, strains your heart and blood vessels, hypoxia strains every tissue in your body. 78% oxygen is pretty bad hypoxia, certainly nothing you want to be experiencing regularly. Id go with a doctor who wants to treat the hypoxia if it were me. Once you are treated, you can then work on lifestyle changes if needed such as losing weight or stopping smoking (if those are even factors). But geeeeezz, 78% oxygen is getting on down there.

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Postby jesman » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:33 pm

Thanks for the replies and sadly I'm not over weight and never have been I weighed 185 when this started and now I weight about 205 and I am 6 ft tall. I have never smoked plus I'm only 24 years old and this has been going on for years. Scary

As for test results I do not have the full results but this is what I do have:
Summary of test results:
Essentially is says that the total recording time was 6 hours and 51 minutes, the total sleeping time was 6 hours and 17 minutes. Though I felt like it took me hours to fall asleep. The sleep efficiency was 97% of sleep period time. During which the patient spent 2% in stage wake, 4% in stage N1, 63% in stage N2, 22% in stage N3, and 9% in stage REM. There was a total of 3 apneas which where all central type, and 15 hypopneas yielding an apnea/hypopnea index of less then 3 an hour. With lowest oxyhemoglobin saturation of 78%. The heart beat average was 67 per minute. On average 4 arousal's per hour.

Also I want to add that I did stay up the complete night before this nite because I did not think I was going to be able to fall asleep. So I was essentially was up for 2 days before this sleep study could this have hinder the test. Please help are these readings normal? Help! I'm tired of being tired.

Also I looked at the symptoms of sleep apnea and I matched like 9 out of 10.
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Postby AlmostDead » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:51 am

jesman wrote:Thanks for the replies and sadly I'm not over weight and never have been I weighed 185 when this started and now I weight about 205 and I am 6 ft tall. I have never smoked plus I'm only 24 years old and this has been going on for years. Scary

As for test results I do not have the full results but this is what I do have:
Summary of test results:
Essentially is says that the total recording time was 6 hours and 51 minutes, the total sleeping time was 6 hours and 17 minutes. Though I felt like it took me hours to fall asleep. The sleep efficiency was 97% of sleep period time. During which the patient spent 2% in stage wake, 4% in stage N1, 63% in stage N2, 22% in stage N3, and 9% in stage REM. There was a total of 3 apneas which where all central type, and 15 hypopneas yielding an apnea/hypopnea index of less then 3 an hour. With lowest oxyhemoglobin saturation of 78%. The heart beat average was 67 per minute. On average 4 arousal's per hour.

Also I want to add that I did stay up the complete night before this nite because I did not think I was going to be able to fall asleep. So I was essentially was up for 2 days before this sleep study could this have hinder the test. Please help are these readings normal? Help! I'm tired of being tired.

Also I looked at the symptoms of sleep apnea and I matched like 9 out of 10.



Im not an RT, nor a sleep doctor, nor a pulmonary specialist. But I have had formal ARC Oxygen administration certification for the professional rescuer. And I can tell you its common knowledge 78% O2 is hypoxia. Centrals I know little about, maybe the others here could tell you about those. I think for central apnea, they give you the BiPaps? Which are more sophisticated (and more expensive) machines. All I could tell you is ask others on here who have central apnea a lot and see what they say and also dont let your doctors give you the run around, some of them will do that if you let them....much of it is insurance driven. You probably need to be dealing with a specialist sleep medicine doctor, pulmonary or neurologist. I would not use a psychiatrist trained turned sleep medicine doctor for central apnea, but that is just me.

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Postby jesman » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:21 am

So I just want to make sure I understand correctly. Even though my sleep apnea is supposedly mild it can still be whats causing my low oxygen levels? Is this correct? That or maybe the combination of that and hypopneas? And I should try and get treated for it.
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Postby vivey » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:15 pm

Low oxygen levels during sleep and sleep apnea pretty much go hand-in-hand. Before my diagnosis of sleep apnea, they did an over night oxygen test where I had to wear that clip on my finger (forget what it's called). My oxygen levels dropped to 62% that night, which triggered my sleep study in which my levels dropped to 58%. Very low! However, as long as I use my xpap, my oxygen levels are find during the night.
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Postby SMH » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:09 pm

You sound like me. My oxygen went down to 63% but I only have moderate apnea, I am just one number from mild apnea. I also am very thin and tall. I was on oxygen for a while but I always took it off in my sleep and the oxygen concentrator was very noisy. I tried cpap and could not adjust to it, after 3 months I gave up. I want to do something for my problem, that is why I am here. What I don't understand about your case is why would the sleep doc think your oxygen desat isn't a problem. Maybe you should try another sleep study, find a clinic and doc that are certified and with plenty of years of experience.
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Postby jesman » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:05 pm

Thats what my regular doctor wants is to do another sleep study, to see if something else shows up. The thing is, I can't afford it even with insurance. My last one cost me 1500 insurance only paid for 1000. And thats not including the 10,000 plus I racked up in other tests. Health insurance is such a ripoff! I cant afford to do another one thats why I'm hoping they will let me try a cpap or bipap machine some how to see if it helps. I'm half tempted to just buy one outright by myself and if it works it works if it doesn't I'll sell it.
SMH it sounds like in your case you may need surgery like removing your tonsils and adenoids which is a very common thing done for sleep apnea I just don't know if yours is severe enough to qualify. I swear that thats what helped me a few years ago it just the permanent success rate is not that high. And your at risk for having your problems come back.
As for the doctor I saw he was suppose to be one of the best in the area, but even the nurse said he is very by the fact type of guy. Meaning he read the facts of my work up and saw no serious cause for alarm regardless of what I actually experiencing symptom wise and wrote me off. He wasn't very common sense savvy I guess I would say. But he got his money so thats what matters not actually treating what could be the root of my problems.
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