British Lung Foundation

oxygen level drops to 86 percent after walking

oxygen levels drop to 86 when mom walks to commode without her oxygen on. she breathes in through her nose out through her mouth . it starts going up to over 90 about 92 93. with oxygen on she is in the 90s at rest drops down to 86 when walking then it goes up again after smell the roses blow out the candles pt tells her to do. it goes up after she is sitting. she got out of the hospital 3 mths ago with chf and bronchitis. she is doing pt in the house with pt 2 days week. they are working on her endurance and breathlessness. i can say the shortness of breath has improved quite a bit. anyone have these issues. mom was not diagnosed with copd just mild asthma. please reply. thank you everyone. i hope you are all doing well.

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8 Replies

Smell the roses, blow out the candles?

Would guess that means deep breath in and blow out. Can't help you much on oxygen levels. Someone will be along to help you out.


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Dropping to below 88% is not good, use the oxygen as prescribed it is used to keep the oxygen levels at a acceptable level to protect major organs, not necessary to help with breathlessness, although it will take the edge of if low sats increase the level of breathlessness.


My advice would be that on a warm day, when the windows are open, chuck the oxymeter out of it. It is not designed to be a measure of performance or anything like that plus that even the best ones do not give a true picture. When your mum went for oxygen assessment they would have used a blood sample to test her oxygen levels. The meter will vary with skin temperature, position of finger, ie is it heart level, hanging down.

I am just letting my imagination run wild here but I can picture a scene with a poorly person crossing a room and every time he takes a step, his carer checks a meter and says "tut, tut, that shouldn't be happening." Now I am not saying that this you or your mum but I can well imagine the type of comments and conversations that can take place after a walk. In my imaginary scene, the poor unfortunate old fella, drops dead....not from his condition but from the worry of the worries of his carer. Take your mums sats twice a day when she is sat comfortable and relaxed and then put the meter away. Its good that she is managing exercise and gaining from it....even better that she is beginning to take a positive control of her we find out, it isn't how breathless we become, it's how quickly we can recover.

Just remember.....before we are diagnosed, what would be any person of equivalent ages sats be while doing various tasks?


Im gonna do just as you say too. for the past week Ive been taking mine hourly, and as you say just worry and watch for my sats to improve after an activity. In future Ill take them at 7am then 7 pm and carry on regardless


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I have an oxymeter I bought some years ago, I do use it know and again not every day. Its because my oxygen levels drop to 75 sometimes, they put me on oxygen because it was taking too long for my oxygen levels to rise. so when I remember I used my meter

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The respiratory nurse said that not to bother purchasing an oxymeter when I asked how to obtain one. Her reason for this was people concentrate on the meter and fret over the levels instead of controlling their breathing.

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Good post Brian, I think we take too much notice of the damn things...............

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I have COPD. I have recently gotten on oxygen @ home. When I walk to the bathroom or take my dog outside to potty (With oxygen on).... By the time I get to my chair to sit, I cannot breathe with the oxygen. It takes some time for my oxygen levels to go back up. Sometimes it take a minute but it feels like forever! It is not in the is how I can breathe! If I use my nebulizer it takes a little less time but I feel better after. Good luck and t/c

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