Slow Heart Rate and Low Oxygen Saturation

Hi friends ... I wonder if slow heart rate and low oxygen saturation are symptoms of hypothyroid? My oxygen saturation is always around 94% and falls to 80s% sometimes during sleep. My heart rate at many times during rest time will fall to 50s bpm and will feel short of breath and during sleep will go below 50 bpm causing me to wake up with adrenaline surges!


5 Replies

  • My first reaction reading your post was to question why you are checking your blood saturation levels, this is a little unusual unless you have other health issues and have been instructed to do so by a doctor.

    An underactive thyroid can certainly cause a slow pulse rate, and it is not uncommon for blood cell counts to be affected too, which in turn can lead to poor blood saturation levels. Your doctor can carry out a simple blood test to check your thyroid levels, and based on your blood saturation levels will likely carry out other blood tests at the same time to check cell counts.

  • No other conditions but people with hypothyroid are expected to go through many exams before they find out about thyroid. I have been asked to stay in the hospital to do a fasting blood sugar test and they do a routine check of blood sugar, oxygen pulse ... every a few hours. I'm taking T4 since July last year and little bit improving.

  • Oxygen saturation levels record the percentage saturation levels of oxygen carried by the haemoglobin, they do not factor in the level of the haemoglobin. The saturation level is a good indicator of oxygen uptake across the alveolar membrane. It is perfectly possible to have a high saturation level but due to anaemia still be hypoxia at cellular level due to shortage of the haemoglobin to transport the oxygen molecules.

    A low or falling saturation level at night is more indicative of a breathing problem. It can be something obvious like obstruction eg snoring, or something more complicated. Either way it needs further investigation. Low saturation at night can lead to increased chronic fatigue, falling asleep during the day and more worryingly long term damage to organs due to chronic shortage of oxygen.

    I hope you manage to get to the bottom of the problem.

  • Thank you, yes my hemoglobin is border line or slightly below. You didn't talk about the slow heart rate! Isn't it possible that oxygen issue is caused by poor circulation?

  • Pulse oximetry the recording of oxygen saturation so need a strong enough pulse pressure for a reliable reading. Therefore as long as your blood pressure is adequate to produce a pulse the heart rate in immaterial to the saturation. if your blood pressure is low or the tissues particularly swollen the machine will not produce a reliable reading. The gold standard to assess oxygenation is an arterial blood gas, a blood sample taken normally from the radial artery in the wrist. This is then compared to the saturation recorded on the machine.

    Hope that helps. Your slow heart rate may well be connected to hypothyroidism or in obstructive sleep apnoea secondary to low oxygen saturations.

    I hope you get answers soon and regain your health.

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