Asthma UK community forum

Dropping saturations when moving - unfit?


I've noticed over the last couple of months that I'm getting increasingly breathless when walking around, without necessarily feeling wheezy. I don't necessarily feel my chest getting tight- I just feel as though I can't get enough air, and I often have to stop and catch my breath.

I mentioned this to my new GP, who lent me an oximeter to see if this showed anything. While sitting still, my sats are usually 97%, but the moment I start moving they drop, anything down to 88% or so. Once I sit still again, they very quickly come back up again, so I'm not worried, just a bit confused. Strangely the degree of drop doesn't seem to correlate with how breathless I feel - sometimes 92% feels worse than an 88%.

Does everybody drop saturations when they move, even those without asthma? Is it that my asthma is not as controlled as it should be, or is that I am simply unfit and need to try and do more exercise? My pulse also goes up to well over 100 when I start moving, so is that a sign that I'm unfit?

Unfit or asthma? Or normal?!


5 Replies

hi carrie

while i can't really give you an answer to your question i can say that i am in same position that sats can be normal when sitting but likewise when moving arouind can drop significantly. Had to do six min walk test when costafied recently and they did mention that they were a bit bothered that my sats dropped on exercise. if i find an answer when go back on 11th dec will let you know.


usually not seen as too much of a problem if you can recover yourself when you rest.

Andrea xxx


Is it just that I'm unfit then?!

Thanks for replies.


no not at all, it could have an element through no fault of your own, i just mean at the moment your body is able to recover itself, this can also happen if the cause is lung disease in early stages. its when you dont recover quickly enough and then need suplemery oxygen. Its something worth mentioning as you said.

Andrea xxx


katharine -

Would be interesting to know what your dr says.

I've noticed I drop my sats too when I'm either moving around/walking etc, even just talking drops me to around 92(always careful not to move the hand w/the probe on too much b/c I know that affects readings).\

Only thing is with me I have reasonably good pfts. Last pfts in early oct showed fev1 80%, fev1/fvc 67%, mmef 24%, FVC was around 95-100% can't quite remember the exact #... pefr was low 90's (all pre bronchodilator)

Hope you get this sorted out Carrie!!


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