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British Lung Foundation
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Exacerbations and Oximeter

I was reading some older posts containing things about exacerbations and oximeters.

I've had COPD for 5 years, its now moderate level. In that time I have only had 1 chest infection, so I'm thinking you only get exacerbations if you are on the next level? and you would only use a oximeter if you were on the next level? opinions please


10 Replies

Hmmmmm not sure Peta. Me personally was moderate and then it quickly escalated to severe and then the exacerbations started over and over so went to very severe again quickly. There were other factors to take into account but I do think the amount of exacerbations and my low weight and immune system played a big part. I do use an oximeter now and again for me, it is a signal that all may not be well. Hope it helps. :) xx


Hmmmmm too. I'm mild (I hope n pray) and have loads of infections. I use an oximeter when I'm feeling bad, if my SATs drop & I'm breathless it's a sign I've a chest infection. I guess we're all different. P xxx


When I first got diagnosed 2 years ago it was very severe. How it got that bad I do not know as I had just given up smoking for another reason and could breathe ok when I smoked. This happened within a few weeks of giving up smoking. I do get infections but normally catch them before they get hold.


I was diagnosed this march as moderate, but for several years before I was diagnosed, had really bad chest infections, and pleurisy about 3 times and pneumonia once, so not sure if I was mild or moderate during that time. I would say that I have been better than I was since having inhalers prescribed, but september to march is always the worst for me, so will see what this winter brings, as the first one with inhalers, fingers crossed and knocking on wood ! I have now bought an oximeter.

Anna xx


I am at the very severe stage and had an infection in June, my first for 3 years! Yes, I do sometimes use an oximeter.


do I need an oximeter? when i was doing my P.R. the physio said we didn't need them


Hi Peta, you still here? I have emphysema stage 4 moderate/severe. I stopped smoking cigarettes nearly three years ago and switched to an E-cigarette. I haven't had a single exacerbation since then whereas I had 3 or 4 every year prior to that. I check my SATS every morning just to see how I am doing.

Bobby xxx


Hi Peta

It seems with COPD no two peoples stories are the same. I was diagnosed moderate three years ago, my spiro scores deteriorated , particularly last year, but no infections at all in that time.... tho often feeling short of breath even when sitting down. I had annual check up yesterday and my scores are now near those when I was first diagnosed, with SATS of 98!

I have no idea why my lung function seemed to get worse so suddenly and then apparently better .... (its not asthma) ..... I think we can all only take it day by day, exacerbations are not the only factors I think, tho I dont think even the medics can explain how and why this disease progresses differently for different people.... aprt from smoking of course

Im lucky I know, I think I have some time yet before I am seriously affected. There are some very very brave people here.

Hope you keep as well as poss

Beth x

1 like

Thanks everyone for your comments.

Conclusion for me, 1) I am lucky not to get chest infections, long may that carry on.

2) Don't think I need to get an oximeter yet, wouldn't know how to work it anyway, lol

It seems even if people are moderate, they are all still different, doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.




I get exacerbations and chest infection regularly, but life goes on



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