Low sleep apnea oxygen level is a sign that your treatment for sleep apnea is not effective.
Patients with breathing problems during sleep (sleep apnea, COPD) often have low oxygen levels in their blood.
Keep in mind that anything below 90% oxygen level is dangerous to your body and require intervention. Another thing to consider is that the brain can only survive 4 minutes once oxygen is completely cut off.
In this page you'll learn:
In sleep, the upper airway muscle tone of the patients with sleep apnea tends to narrow and collapses temporarily. When this happens, the breathing stops accompanied by a drop in blood oxygen levels and arousal from sleep.
The low oxygen levels during sleep can make you feel very tired in the morning and will contribute to more restless sleep.
Any value of blood oxygen level bellow 92% is abnormal. However, the number of desaturations and the time spent with abnormal oxygen levels is important.
For example, if you only desaturated below 92% once or twice during a 7 hour sleep, and the desaturation level lasted only a couple of seconds, it's not a reason for worry.
Your body will be seriously affected when you'll have long term low oxygen levels. This can lead to:
If your doctor discovers that your blood oxygen level (oxygen saturation) is less than about 90% during the day (when you are resting), then your oxygen levels are probably dropping during the night. This means that you have sleep apnea, or other respiratory disorders, like UARS.
Your doctor may recommend overnight monitoring of your oxygen levels using am oximeter. In a sleep study, you usually have the oximeter attached on the finger.
You can use a portable oxygen saturation monitor or oximeter, a cool little device that can record your sleep apnea oxygen level and pulse rate during sleep. A medical approved oximeter is truly a great tool to see how well CPAP is working for you.
A tip before buying an oximeter: you would do well to invest in a recording oximeter with software. You can upload your data in a computer, and you can go to your sleep specialist with the results.
See an example in the followingvideo:
So, if you have a low blood oxygen level, follow up with the sleep study as soon as possible.
Continued drops in O2 levels will cause damage to cognitive function, short term memory, stroke and heart attack in your sleep, and a host of other problems.
Overweight women who are pregnant or women who gain too much weight during pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea. This can cause a drop in blodd oxygen levels during sleep which can create complications for the baby.
So if you are overweight or gained a lot of weight during pregnancy, speak with your doctor to investigate if you have sleep apnea.
For more info about obesity, see sleep apnea and obesity.
Patients with sleep apnea are usually treated with CPAP machines. If apnea episodes disappear, the oxygen levels will improve to normal levels.
If your oxygen saturations drop significantly and persist during the night, you may benefit from overnight oxygen delivered by nasal masks or nasal prongs.
To keep a better eye on your sleep apnea oxygen level you might consider purchasing a finger pulse oximeter.
Remember: don't use inferior equipment to measure your well-being and don't change anything without checking that information with a second opinion or proper equipment.