Low blood oxygen and sleep apnea

by Mistadim
(Northern Idaho)

I just had a sleep study 2 weeks ago. the tech came in while I was still awake and put me on oxygen.

The next morning he sent me over to a o2 supply to get oxygen equipment.

They told me that my O2 was at 57.

I get the feeling that was a very low number. What does this mean.

I am using the oxygen concentrator and scheduled to have a C-Pap titration tomorrow.

He seemed surprised when I said that I did not have headaches or feel heavy in the chest.


Low blood oxygen levels during sleep and sleep apnea syndrome pretty much go hand in hand. And if your levels were 57%, then this is something to really worry about.

Let me explain what does it mean to have an abnormal low level of oxygen in your blood. First of all, anything below 88% oxygen saturation is dangerous and debilitating to your entire body.

In a hospital environment, blood oxygen levels below 95% cause a concern, and below 90% require intervention. So...imagine how would they react in your case with 57%!

You probably know that not enough oxygen in the blood, also called hypoxemia, kills the brain cells and cells from other organs. Hypoxemia strains your heart and blood vessels and every tissue in your body.

In this way, the various organs will be destroyed, and the brain will be the first organ affected. The brain can only survive approximately 4 minutes once oxygen is completely cut off.

If you don't feed oxygen to your brain in 8 hours of sleep, your heart must beat faster to get more blood to avoid the brain for being starved of oxygen. The consequences are:
  • your heart is coming under a lot of pressure in the night when it should be at a restful beat. This can cause arrhythmia, enlargement of the heart, or heart failure.

  • your short term memory and cognitive function will be affected. I wonder if you started to experience this...

  • even after 1 night of effective CPAP therapy, you are still tired because all this activity is disrupting your sleep cycle.

The good news is that CPAP can treat your hypoxemia, but remember that sometimes the patients need more time to recover after oxygen deprivation.

For more information, please read the articles about:

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

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Mar 10, 2016
by: Anonymous

I started wearing my mask around 2 months ago, and I have since been waking up with severe headaches that are in the back of my neck. at first it felt like I just woke up feeling that I slept wrong and feel like I slept on my head. I can turn my head from side to side and the muscles in my neck hurt pretty badly. Thought maybe my oxygen levels were way out of line, and that's why I started googling to read up on side effects. Could it be my oxygen level?

Aug 21, 2017
Hypoxia without apneas
by: Anonymous

I have been using CPAP for some time, and after losing about 30 pounds, my sleep doc tested me to see if my apneas had diminished, and they had returned to normal levels! Great, except he also found that my oxygen levels dipped frequently during the night, if I discontinued CPAP. So I have to keep on with it, even though I no longer have apneas. Very disappointed.

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