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Doctor insights on: Pulse Oximeter Sleep Apnea

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How can you use an pulse oximeter to detect sleep apnea?

How can you use an pulse oximeter to detect sleep apnea?

Non-definitive test: If you have sleep apnea severe enough to significantly lower you blood oxygen level, a pulse oximeter will record how low and how long your oxygen level decreases. It will not detect early cases, which can be screened with a simple questionnaire called "stop-bang" which has a scoring system to assess the risk of true sleep apnea. ...Read more

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Dr. Patrick Melder
1,009 doctors shared insights

Apnea (Definition)

Apnea is a symptom in which a person stops breathing for a period of time (about 10-20 seconds) and then starts breathing again. Babies can get apnea from some types of infections. Adults can have sleep apnea, often related to loud snoring and some ...Read more


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If pulse oximeter is giving reading of 93% and goes back up to 97-99% quickly should I be alarmed? Or is it possible that the reading is false.

If pulse oximeter is giving reading of 93% and goes back up to 97-99% quickly should I be alarmed?  Or is it possible that the reading is false.

Need more informatio: as to why you are checking pulse oximetry regularly. A low pulsox of 93-94% may mean brief episodes of apnea, but until those become apparent and hypoxic (O2 sat ...Read more

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What to do if I have a question about a pulse oximeter?

What to do if I have a question about a pulse oximeter?

Try us.: Please submit a clear & specific question about pulse oximeters. Clarify and re-ask. ...Read more

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Why would my oxygen levels fall from 99 to 87 when exercising. I'm using a pulse oximeter. ?

Why would my oxygen levels fall from 99 to 87 when exercising. I'm using a pulse oximeter. ?

Lung condition: The lowered reading can be an error, depending on the quality of your pulse oximter. If the reading is valid then it may reflect a problem with your lungs or circulation - conditions such as asthma, COPD, pneumonia, and heart failure are common causes, but there are many others. ...Read more

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If pulse oximeter is ok why would ER do abg?

If pulse oximeter is ok why would ER do abg?

Acidosis/alkalosis: Abg provides important additional information about carbon dioxide levels and acid base disorders. Crucial information in successfully managing critically ill patients. Pulse ox only gives info on oxygenation, and even this is better assessed with abg. ...Read more

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Pulse was 87 on finger pulse oximeter. Sneezed and it jumped to 131 for over a minute. What causes this? Freaking out!!!!!

Pulse was 87 on finger pulse oximeter.  Sneezed and it jumped to 131 for over a minute.  What causes this?  Freaking out!!!!!

Why are u checking ?: Why are you checking a pulse ox? I see that your past history is anxiety depression related with other medications. Assuming you've had a good physical by a doc with normal heart exam, there is no reason to be checking yourself at home. What are you most worried about? Treatment should exclude perseverating on obscure home collected data as this, and include frequent counseling 4 coping skills ...Read more

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Normal oxygen saturation level on pulse oximeter?

Normal oxygen saturation level on pulse oximeter?

Normal for what?: At sea level at rest in a healthy person, between 95-99%, depending on the instrument. ...Read more

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It feels hard to take a breath almost as if a weight on my chest but pulse oximeter said 98% what would cause this?

It feels hard to take a breath almost as if a weight on my chest but pulse oximeter said 98% what would cause this?

Mgt/workup: Your chest pain may be due to asthma. I would advise reviewing your allergic symptoms and triggers, which are associated with asthma. A virtual appointment is available online: healthtap.com/DosanjhMD Code: NCYHPZ ...Read more

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Is it normal for my oxygen levels to fall From 99 to 91 when walking/ exercising with pulse oximeter?

Is it normal for my oxygen levels to fall From 99 to 91 when walking/ exercising with pulse oximeter?

Not Normal: Usually a persons O2 sat should increase or stay same w mild-mod exercise. Do U have HX of smoking or asthma? Even so, UR fall in O2 sat is rather signif.Maybe sat meter not work prop when walking. Way to test: check UR pulse manually w wrist & watch w UR meter. If unsure a Cardiologist/Pulmon can place U on Treadmill & obtain O2 sat. UR finding suggest lung prob. I know not any other HX. See MD. ...Read more

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In the throws of a racing heartstrings (185–220 pulse oximeter) what should be done to stop it from beating so fast? Er visit or wait it out?

In the throws of a racing heartstrings (185–220 pulse oximeter) what should be done to stop it from beating so fast? Er visit or wait it out?

ER if prolonged: You can try some bagel maneuvers (bearing down, submerging your head in a bucket of cold water), but if the heart racing continues for more than 30 sec or is associated with shortness of breath, chest pain or passing out, go to er immediately (don't drive - have someone or ems take you). ...Read more

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Dr. Carlo Hatem
1,120 doctors shared insights

Sleep Apnea (Definition)

Literally it is stopping breathing during sleep. There are 2 main types. Obstructive the most common. Central the less common. When people speak about sleep apnea they usually refer to obstructive where you cannot breathe due to ...Read more


Oximeter (Definition)

It is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood stream. A sensor is placed over a finger and measurements are taken and recorded by the device. It does not ...Read more