Oxygen Levels Dropping At Night

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by greatgran, Mar 18, 2007.

  1. greatgran

    greatgran Member

    Still dealing with to use or not to use oxygen at night.. My doc called yesterday and said it was up to me that she didn't know what was going on,. Said it could be postional that was causing the drop..So what to do now..

    My heart and lung test that were done awhile back are ok, so she says..No need for a repeat..Sleep study, false negative but the sleep doc dosn't think I have sleep apena because in the time I did sleep I had to signs of it..and my oxygen only dropped to 87..

    When I do the pulse ox from my doc's office it usually goes to 83 or 84 for brief periods, stays in the high 80's longer but she said it could be positonal..and it was up to me to decide on the oxygen..Now, who's the doc..Oh, she did say I might want to go to a sleep specialist, but why??

    So, I feel like I am back to square one..Any input would be appreciated..and Thanks..

    So discouraged as to what to do..Do oxygen's levels drop at ngiht??

  2. TerryS

    TerryS Member


    It's my understanding that you don't EVER want your levels to drop below 90...and you don't really even want them in the low 90s, but definitely not below 90.

    I don't think your levels should drop just because you're asleep. I had a sleep study. I do have mild apnea and am using a CPAP now. During the study, I dropped below 90 for 34 minutes and they considered that significant and important. The next night, with the CPAP, my levels stayed in the high 90s.

    I know when I was hospitalized after a hysterectomy, they had me on a morphine pump...which my husband apparently kept pushing even though I was asleep. They claim you can't OD on them, but I did. My oxygen levels dropped to the low 80s. My alarm went off and they called in a respiratory team as it was an EMERGENCY!!!

    I vote for you using the oxygen at night. I think it's important!

    Good luck!

  3. greatgran

    greatgran Member

    Yes, you are right I know I should use it but even with the oxygen my level dropped to the high 80's ..I just want to know why, but cluless as to where to go for an answer..

    Maybe another doctor, and then they may never find out why.

    Thanks for your reply,
  4. TerryS

    TerryS Member

    Maybe you should consider doing one more sleep study.

    Did they have you lie on your back all night? That's what they made me do at mine (and I don't normally even lie on my back). I had only 3 actual apneas, but I had hypopneas (don't know if I spelled that right) over and over and over. That's not as severe as apnea but is more of a partial obstruction.

    My sleep apnea obviously is only mild, but I can say that since I've been on the CPAP my life is getting better and better, at least as far as my sleepiness. I was sleeping 12 to 14 hours a day (including a mandatory nap each afternoon). I'm down to 9 to 10 hours per night with no nap!!! YAY!

    I just want you to make sure you get the oxygen you need. I'm no medical specialist, but I KNOW IT IS IMPORTANT to your life!

    Good luck figuring out what is going on!

  5. Stefanie

    Stefanie New Member

    I think it is important not to let your oxygen levels fall too low because it is not good for the heart. Over time - I would imagine that would cause some type of wear and tear on the body. My mother uses oxygen during the night so this doesn't happen. What do you think you will do ? Maybe you should have another sleep study done - just to be sure.
  6. richvank

    richvank New Member

    Hi, Greatgran.

    Here's a hypothesis for what you're experiencing:

    In CFS, there is mitochondrial dysfunction in the skeletal muscles, the immune system cells, the heart muscle and the brain. This means that the little powerhouses in the cells in these parts of the body are not working right, so that they don't oxidize the food at a normal rate. One of the effects of this is that they don't produce as much carbon dioxide as normal, so the amount of carbon dioxide put into the blood per unit time is lower than it should be.

    Now, let's move to the brainstem. One of the areas there is called the respiratory center. Its job is to monitor the amount of carbon dioxide and pH in the blood it receives, and based on that to regulate the rate and depth of breathing by adjusting the nerve signals sent to the diaphragm and chest muscles. It sounds strange, but that's how it works. It normally regulates on carbon dioxide level, not on oxygen level in the blood, the idea being that if the carbon dioxide level is regulated to the correct range (assuming that it is being produced at a normal rate in the cells of the body), the oxygen level will be O.K., too.

    Now, consider what happens in the respiratory center when a lot of the mitochondria in the body (note that skeletal muscle is a large fraction of the total cellular mass) don't put out as much CO2 as normal. The blood going to the resp. center then is low in CO2. It senses this, and it slows and shallows the breathing in order to correct it. The problem is that it has to do this too much, because there is not enough CO2 being produced by the mitochondria in the cells. So what happens is that the oxygen level in the blood goes lower than it should. This is a problem, because even though the cells mentioned above aren't using oxygen as fast as normal, the cells in the other organs of the body still need a normal amount of oxygen.

    While you're awake, you can voluntarily take over your breathing if you feel short of oxygen, and you can speed it up or make it deeper. But when you fall asleep, your autonomic nervous system takes over, and it adjusts breathing on the basis of CO2 level, so it slows and shallows your breathing. That causes the oxygen level in the blood to go too low while you're sleeping. If it goes low enough, it will trigger the low oxygen set point, which the respiratory center also has, and wake you up, or partially wake you enough so that you can take over and breathe faster and deeper, raising the oxygen level back up.

    If this is serious enough, it will be diagnosed as sleep apnea. A CPAP machine would probably help you some, but the real key is to get your mitochondria working right again. The way to do that is to lift the block in the methylation cycle, which will allow the glutathione level to stay up where it should be, and that will remove the block in the Krebs cycle that is slowing down the mitochondria. That's what the Yasko treatment program is focused on doing. If you want to find out about that, I suggest that you go to this site:


    and read the papers under the heading "Glutathione depletion-methylation block in CFS." I hope this helps.

  7. Adl123

    Adl123 New Member

    I'm so glad you posted this!

    My Oxygen levels were about the same as yours, and my Dr. put me on 3 liters of Oxygen at night. I also need to use it whenever I take a nap. It seems that because of Chronic Fatigue, my brain isn't sending "breathe" signals to my lungs. If your Dr.is not well versed in Chronic Fatigue, He/she wouldn't' know how to answer the question of the cause.

    Being without enough oxygen could be dangerous. Also, being on it will help with energy and brain fog, not to mention pain.

    Please, Oh please, use the Oxygen. Your doctor should have more of a backbone. He could be so wishy-washy because of some hidden reason, that has nothing to do with you.

    Good luck, and please heep us posted.
  8. greatgran

    greatgran Member

    Thanks, Terry, Stef and Rich for your replies. So, far now plan to use the oxygen, guess it can't hurt..

    Rich, are you saying most of us with CFS have low oxygen levels? If that is the case will the oxygen supplement help or is there something else I shoud do?? I do need to re-read your post its hard for my poor brain to digest. I do plan to go to the web site..

    One, thing I don't understand is why the doc hasn't ordered blood gas.

    Thanks again,
  9. greatgran

    greatgran Member

    Tery, thank you so much for your post, that you too are on oxygen..Please, how did your doc explain all this to you and how long have you been on oxygen? Is this a life time thing and does it help? Do you still have your levels tested from time to time..

    Sorry, for all the questions but would love to talk to you, and hear all about your experience..Did you have a sleep study?

    Please keep me updated..Thank you, so much, waiting to hear back from you...

  10. richvank

    richvank New Member

    Hi, Greatgran.

    Yes, I think that using the oxygen while you are sleeping will help to keep your blood oxygen level up. The reason is that even though your respiratory center may slow and shallow your breathing in order to raise the CO2 level in your blood, your lungs will have a higher oxygen partial pressure if you use supplemental oxygen, and they will be able to transfer more oxygen to your red blood cells, even with slower and shallower breathing.

    Different PWCs have different degrees of mitochondrial dysfunction, depending on how low their glutathione level is. So that means that some will have a more serious problem with oxygen levels during sleep than others will, but I think most PWCs will have some degree of this.

    I can't speak for your doctor. I think these days the pulse oximeter has taken over to a large degree what the arterial blood gases test used to do. It's cheaper, quicker and easier. However, it only measures arterial oxygen percent saturation, so you won't see what's going on with the CO2 or with the venous oxygen level, which you can get from a venous blood gases test.

  11. greatgran

    greatgran Member

    Thanks, Rich for the info..sure helps a lot..So to Rich, and Terry, I did try using the oxygen last night.

    I didn't sleep very well, first the noise but about 30 minutes after I had it on I felt my sinuses start feeling full, ear fullness and a headache..I tried to tough it out
    and use the oxygen anyway..Have felt bad today but didn't sleep much at all.. Guess it takes some getting use to..

    Terry, does the oxygen bother your sinuses etc..I have what I call the water bottle on the side, and used the saline nasal gel..Pluse I hate the smell of the plastic or what ever the tube is made of...

    You all have been so helpful much more than my doc..

    God Bless,
  12. greatgran

    greatgran Member

  13. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I have obstructive sleep apnea and sleep with a CPAP machine. My oxygen also drops at night--it drops to around 74. It's fine during the daytime.

    I sleep with oxygen, too. It is hooked into my CPAP. It really helps a lot.

    If you are on Medicare, they will NOT pay for the oxygen unless it drops to something like 74. I'm not quite sure about the number, but I remember thinking that I just made their magic number in order for them to pay for it.

    If the doc does not know when they pay, the medical company who supplies it would know.

    You might want to think about going to a sleep specialist and going through one more sleep study and ask them to keep a close watch on your oxygen levels.
  14. greatgran

    greatgran Member

    Thanks jlh, my oxygen must have been low cause medicare is paying 80%, didn't relize oxygen was so expensive..I have to pay 40 dollars a month..

    Does the oxygen bother your sinuses? My husband has bad sleep apnea and has the cpap but no oxygen..

    Take care and thank you,

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