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If you have sleep apnea, a portable pulse oximeter can be very useful in monitoring your blood oxygen level (oxygen saturation) during sleep.
Use the pulse oximeter is if you suspect that you have sleep apnea. People with diabetes are at increased risk for sleep apnea and treating this will help control your diabetes. Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing while you are sleeping, which causes oxygen deprivation. This oxygen deprivation can lead to stroke, uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, or even depression. Using the pulse oximeter can measure oxygen levels but should not be used to diagnose sleep apnea. Knowing the signs of sleep apnea such as fatigue and falling asleep during the day should be addressed by your physician.
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Pulse oximetry, a standard monitoring tool in respiratory care, plays a key role in diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders before oxygen desaturation contributes to comorbidities like GERD, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
In fact, the sleep apnea oximeter will show you how efficient is your apnea treatment.
If your oxygen levels are bellow 92%, then your treatment is not effective enough. You should maintain O2 levels above 98% when sleeping.
Sleep Apnea and Blood Oxygen Levels CLICK HERE
What causes oxygen desaturation in sleep apnea?
The oximeter, or the oxygen saturation monitor, can be a very helpful medical device for sleep apnea patients.
Sleep apnea can cause the low blood oxygen levels. In severe cases, the low oxygen levels can put pressure on your left ventricle of your heart. Your body reads this as needing to relieve pressure, by making and releasing urine.
So, you really can’t get a good night sleep at all, no matter what, with an untreated obstructive sleep apnea.
If you wake up with a pounding feeling in your chest, or wake up with irregular heart beats, it could be that you might have a severe case of sleep apnea.
The following video has a clear demonstration of oxygen desaturation during sleep apnea, where the device used for this explanation is a finger oximeter:
What is a good oxygen level during sleep?
Oxygen saturation over 94% is considered normal. Anything bellow 92% oxygen in your blood is a sign that you have breathing problems during sleep (sleep apnea, severe snoring, COPD, asthma, etc).
However, is important to know how much time did you spend with oxygen saturation that goes bellow 92%.
There can be drops in oxygen levels that are not long enough or low enough to be called abnormal or unhealthy for your body. For example, a couple of seconds with 80% for 2 times in one night is not a reason for concern.
If you can get a hold of a pulse oximeter which can clip to your finger.
In patients with asthma, pulse oximetry complements peak flow meters in assessing the severity of asthma attacks/exacerbations and response to a treatment
To continue our exploration of diabetes and heart health during American Heart Month, I would like to introduce you to pulse oximetry, also known as “pulse ox.” In a nutshell, pulse oximetry devices measure how much oxygen is in your blood. Low oxygen saturation (hypoxemia) in blood can impede body function and harm vital tissues, resulting in shortness of breath, fatigue, confusion, and can be life threatening.
Finger pulse oximeters measure the concentration of oxygen in the blood by placing a two-sided probe over the finger. It then monitors pulsating capillaries in the fingertip. The reading should be between 96-100%. Any number below 90% is cause for concern and should certainly be addressed by a physician. A finger pulse oximeter can also read your pulse rate and heart rate.
People with diabetes are known to have circulatory problems, especially in their lower legs and arms, known as PVD or peripheral vascular disease. This is caused by fatty plaque buildup or atherosclerosis in the blood vessels. PVD is twenty times more common in diabetics than the average population.Using a pulse oximeter can help you know more about your own health in an easy and low cost way.
Enjoy the knowledge and use it to improve how you feel
Pulse oximetry is one of the parameters used for diagnosis, but it can also be a tool to monitor ongoing treatment. A case in point—a doctor with breathing problems used pulse oximetry one night to establish a baseline.
Continuous pulse oximetry allows us to see the patient’s saturation in real time. We can make changes to therapy and know almost instantly what the effect is.
It has revolutionized my specialty, anesthesia. Anesthesiologists used to have to run much higher inspired oxygen gas mixtures, and relied on the patient’s color to know that things were OK (and many times, they were not). Pulse oximetry lets us use lower a FiO2, and we know that the patient is well oxygenated. We also get a much earlier warning – we can see saturation levels dropping and institute treatment long before they are low enough to cause problems. It is one of the main reasons that anesthesia is so safe now. (I can also get a good idea that the patient’s heart rhythm and blood pressure are good, just from the pulse ox.)
For babies, it’s use in prematurity assures that babies are oxygenated enough, but not too much (too much oxygen can lead to retinopathy). Other than that, and babies with congenital heart disease, it’s not as vital for their care.
Pulse oximetry is also used in ventilated patients to make sure the FiO2 on the vent is adequate. It allows easier ventilator management, because we can see the effect of a vent change almost instantly.
The pulse oximeter is also a good indicator of perfusion, so it can be useful if problems with blood flow to a limb are suspected.
Pulse oximeters measure the amount of haemoglobin saturation, which is a useful measurement of oxygen concentration in the blood. They are useful in various situations where a patient might not be getting enough oxygen, and pulse oximeters are useful for monitoring this. However, most people do not need them at home and there aren’t that many where it would be useful to have one that I can think of.
Over 90 oxygen level is good. Under 90 of concern. Take a few deep breaths – remeasure. Low oxygen levels may cause confusion and or a lack of energy.
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