British Lung Foundation

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i dont understand why my 02 pulse ox goes up and down every minute. i leave it on my finger and watch it for 30 mintes and it goes down to 90% then back up to 98% down to 92 up to 95 then down to 90 and back to 97 or 98.. if i breathe deeper it goes back up but just laying down breathing lightly it drops to 89 or 90 until i either cough or take a deeper normal breaathe then it goes back up to 98.. i feel i have to make sure im breathing deeper to keep it up above 96... when i start to fall asleep ill look and its back down to 90 or 91 then i breathe a little harder and back up it goes is this normal to change every few seconds like thaqt

13 Replies

First of all the next time you go to your GPs ask to calibrate your pulse oximeter to theirs. Some pulse oximeters can be out by 2 to 5%. There are a number of issues that can affect readings from movement to having cold hands. Personally I use my own very little as they can become an obsession. There is some research which suggests that anxiety can affect readings. Personally unless I feel unwell I do not use my own. As others have suggested I would look at your machine as it seems strange that you are getting such variations of readings just watching it.

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I don't wish to sound fallacious, but watching your fluctuating 02 stats for 30minutes sounds to me like the cause of the fluctuating.

Caspiana in reply to Don-1931

I thought so too Don. I only really check my sats when I am struggling. It's way too stressful to watch it all the time.


Hi the way to take your sats is to pick 1 finger (try and use the same one each time) and wait for the unit to settle for a few seconds. This then is your sats figure. These devices are not meant to be on kept on for for than a few seconds coz they do fluctuate up and down naturally and also anxiety will affect them.

Unless your sats go down to around mid 80's or below on a regular basis and stay there, there is no need to worry. It would be extremely unlikely you would need oxygen or have any associated problems at your mild level.

It is up to you if you wish to carry on smoking. I must admit I did for 9 years after my diagnosis but fortunately for me I stayed mild which is unusual. You might be as lucky as me but you might not and you won't know which until it's too late. Smoking with lung disease is like playing Russian roulette and you might end up with a bullet.

I will say finally that when I smoked my sats were often around the 89-92 figure which is because smoking takes oxygen away from the body. Once I stopped they soared up to the late 90's. x

THANK EVERYONE FOR THE feedback i do appriciate everything on this forum

THANK EVERYONE FOR THE feedback i do appriciate everything on this forum

THANK EVERYONE FOR THE feedback i do appriciate everything on this forum

THANK EVERYONE FOR THE feedback i do appriciate everything on this forum

Shallow breathing can affect your O2 and so can deep breathing so if you are changing your breathing while monitoring your O2 you could see fluctuations. If you start breathing deeply when you see your stats drop they will go up and then if you start shallow breathing to see if they will go back down they certainly could. If you just sit and breath normally do they stay relatively constant?

for the most part they stay between 94 and 98 but when im just relaxing i notice they drop and when almost asleep they can go down to 89 but i take a deep breather or cough then they go back up to 96 to 98.... i also wake up alot at night having to cough up little glob of mucus and it sometimes hurts when i breathe.. around my throat in the upper windpipe are by my adams apple and it makes me cough... alot of all day and all night coughing to clear crap from my upper throat and bronchioles

also i have 3 pulse ox units and also checked them with my doctors and they all read the same so they are accurate and calibrated ok he said....

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