Can you have high levels of CO2 and a good level of oxygen in the blood?

Hi there!

I've been having symptoms of seems to be CO2 retention for the last few months, although I've only recently become aware of the fact that it could be CO2 that is causing it.

Mu main symptoms are jerky twitches which affect my whole body: fingers, toes, legs, tongue, and corners of the mouth and morning headaches. I often get tired after strenuous exercise and once after a particularly strenuous gym session I felt rather confused.

I had a CO breath test while I was at the doctors recently (my wife was at a midwifes appointment and they had a CO breathe test machine, I asked for a go and my result was 7. That result is just above a non-smoker even though I haven't smoked in 5 years.)

Anyway I was wondering if it was possible to have Co2 retention while having a pretty good oxygen level of around 98 during the day? I have an oxymeter that can measure my oxygen while I sleep. Usually my oxygen levels remain above 94% while sleeping however it has on occasion dropped to 93% or even 92%, once I saw it had dropped to 91% if only for a very very briefly before coming back up to around 96%.

5 Replies

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  • Hello there mrblue12, I'm afraid I can't answer your CO2 querey but having read your post,with morning headaches being mentioned, you may well be along the right lines etc. I would speak to your Doctor and take it from there but meanwhile I'm certain you'll receive some help from our forum friends. Best of luck anyway and don't forget to tell us how you got along.

  • Hi

    You are just second guessing, you need a properly conducted medical examination including possible ABG arterial blood gases test.

    To diagnosis and find the cause if you are a CO2 retainer.

    Share your concerns with your GP sooner rather than later to put your mind at rest.

  • I seem to remember reading oximeter notes saying that carbon monoxide can show up on oximeter as oxygen I.e 88% oxygen plus 2% carbon monoxide can read as 90%

  • a low level of oxygen in the blood, it's called hypoxemic (HI-pok-SE-mik)

    a high level of carbon dioxide in the blood, it's called hypercapnic (HI-per-KAP-nik)

    It is not something that can not realy be self diagnosed as it has been said you will need to be tested if you are a CO2 retainer.

  • I'm a Co2 retainer caused by the oxygen. I'm on a NIV machine at night which helps take it out of my system. Your pulmonary nurse will take some blood gas's which will confirm. They told me one of the signs is a headache

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