Can anyone tell me why the GP'S at my... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation
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Can anyone tell me why the GP'S at my local health centre check my lungs when my breathing gets poor but don't check my blood sats?



11 Replies

I have no idea. Do you have your own oximeter? They are not very expensive (ebay) and let you keep a check yourself. :)

I guess they're listening and writing up on your records all the crackles & creaks or changes they hear in your lungs.

They're looking for infections first & foremost.

Don't they even do sats when you have an infection?

My oximeter was £19, Biosync through Amazon, quite handy at times when you suspect they're low and can do some deep breathing to get them back up.

Hi, O2 sats are not necessarily an indication of how your lungs are doing. Some people function very well on lowish sats and others dont do well on very reasonable sats, so as peeg says the docs want to treat any infection. After months of Telehealth I learnt that my sats were not as relevant as I thought they were. Hope you are feeling better now eh?


Hi My husband was not tested at all for his sats until about four years ago when he was admitted to hospital with a very bad infection and given an arterial blood gas test which indicated his O2 levels. It was then suggested he get an oximeter to check his levels when he has an infection. His sats can drop too low. Sats levels are only a problem when and if Copd progresses. If your doctors/nurses don't worry about it I am sure you don't need to! Take good care, with best wishes TAD xx

I can blow a fairly good Peak flow but my problem is a sudden drop of sats. I seem to recover when rested but for a short time I am level and then it drops like a stone with mild exercise or walking. IE: I walk ( more of a plod really :) ) from my doctors to my car as soon as I sit I am breathing hard to get my breath back, Same when I go up stairs once at the top I am struggling. I have problems when lying flat too.

My doctors only seem to want to test me at rest and sitting up? I am having a spiro test next week.

Its difficult to tell about the doctors, these days! Sometimes, I wonder, if they even have a heart; forget about being qualified! If they checked your lungs when your breathing got difficult its quite an achievement, I think.

In my case, they never even examined my lungs, forget about blood SATS. Ultimately, I had to find a GP who had a heart :-) Anyway, hope you are better now!

in reply to tarana

That's terrible. They always check my husbands lungs if he is under the weather. It's a different thing if you want them to call. They have forgotten what that means.

I think if your GP really wanted to test your blood gas sats, he/she would have to perform a not very peasant test in the artery behind the wrist. that's what the doc does at the hospital, for accuracy they say. The pulmonary nurse does it by pricking your ear, which is a little more pleasant. Indeed, your GP could have an oximeter. Mine was stolen and had cost £120, so I'm a bit reluctant to buy a new one at that price!


I got my oximeter from amazon for about £22

Hi, from the limited knowledge I have the importance of the oximeter is to see how long it takes for your sats to return to their normal level (for you) after exercise. Guess we are all different but in doubt you need to ask. Sue

in reply to seyre

Good point! In fact, except in the hospital, the only other time I saw oximeters used was by medical people was in the Rehab clinic before and after exercising. Just thought using an oximeter was par for the course for severe copd sufferers. We can always learn something new!