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sat/02 levels

i cannot get my head around this one!!

how come when you are having an attack your sat levels can be between 97-100ish and you are still cannot breathe, gasping for air, wheezing like a pair of old bellows - need i go on and the nurses saying ""oh look don't worry your oxygen levels are good so don't worry"" when you feel your lungs are going to give in any second. They told me this also my heart was racing before they gave me any drugs. I just don't get it, is it me or has anyone else been in this situation

5 Replies

HI Lola,

You are describing my attacks to a T!

I can have no recordable peak flow, sound like a walrus, can't speak a word and yet my sats stay within 97-100.

For me i think this happens because i stay calm and really concentrate onmy breathing (just a theory).

When i can speak i now make sure that a&e staff are aware of this and that it does not mean i'm ok.

Last a&e admission i could see from what they what doing/talking about that they doubted i was having an attack and that i was hyperventilating.....grrrrrr!


some asthmatics can maintain normal saturations throughout an attack known as compensatory mechanisms .til they become exhausted by the attack or when these mechanisms start to fail themselves .....and then things drop .... im the same and its caused a lot of confusion at a and e ... my sats always normal, peak flows low so least wee drop can tirgger it. high pulse but thats now put down to subcut medicatio and too many nebs .....high bp and high resp rate are part of my presentations... no cough and no wheeeze ... just no puff and no air entry ... i gotta ask the dr to assess my air entry and i ask wot its like .... thats if i can string a sentance


I don't know about the sats personally, not having got to this stage so far, but heart racing sounds par for the course if you're having trouble breathing. I once kind of stumbled in massively short of breath to my GP's (about something else) and explained (with a little difficulty) that in fact I'd walked there slowly and been sitting in the waiting room rather than running there and going straight in like he thought.

Once he'd got over the shock (I'd been seeing the other GP about my asthma), made sure that I actually had some air left in my lungs and my heart wasn't about to conk out, he said it's pretty normal to have a fast heart rate if you're struggling to breathe. Mine is fast and jumps around even with milder symptoms.


what i should of mentioned also from the attack is that i cough for england and if it was this year i would have received a gold medal for it as well - lol joking aside cough like mad, cannot stop and then this time round which has never happened to me before, lungs like a pair of whistling bellows on overtime


Hi lola,

I cough lots too and the sounds comimg from my chest are awful too so although not nice for you, its normal! Lol



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