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O2 Therapy for Sleep Apnea/Low O2 Levels at Night
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O2 Therapy for Sleep Apnea/Low O2 Levels at Night

My doctor placed me on nighttime supplemental oxygen after a routine overnight oxygenation test (I have asthma so they do this periodically).  My o2 levels fell into the 70's during the test so she ordered oxygen for me (I had tried teh CPAP machine a few years back and was unable to tolerate it).  My question is - I am a mouth breather (always have been), but the supplemental oxygen is through a nasal cannula.  Is this method of supplying the oxygen sufficient since I breath through my mouth and not my nose or should I request a mask to wear instead?  Right now my o2 is set at 2lpm if that makes any difference.

Also, I've found that ever since starting the o2 therapy, I wake up EXTREMELY dry and thirsty in the morning - more so than I ever did before adn quite often my nasal passages feel tender and 'burn".  Is this normal and is there anything I can do to help alleviate these symptoms?  I have started putting a heavy coating of Blistex on my lips before going to bed, but if I forget, my lips are usually at least cracked, if not bleeding, when I wake up.  Even though I've always been a mouth breather, I've not had this problem before (except maybe when I had a bad cold or the flu)

Thank you for your help.
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
You should consider taking care of your nasal congestion first, which will allow you to breathe better and also be able to benefit from CPAP for your sleep apnea. You're right—using a nasal cannula doesn't make sense if your nose is stuffy. See an ENT for your nasal congestion.
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Geminigirl,

I have just been given a oxygen machine to hook up to my Cpap machine (see separate post), and this is a compressor type machine that adds oxygen to the flow.  I also have issue with breathing through my nose due to allergies, and probably having my nose busted from sports, I've been told that I have a deviated septum.

So I use a full face mask with my Cpap, which seems to work pretty well.  Originally I was given a Bipap machine, but the pressure was so high I couldn't stand it.  Since then I've lost weight and got in better shape so the second time I went for a study I was given a Cpap machine which seems to work better.  They've lowered the pressure to a comfortable point for me.  Again I think getting in shape made a big difference as I wasn't in very good shape several years back.  My sleep studies were much better compared to five years ago even though I still have apnea.   My oxygen level wasn't getting as low as yours (88%) though the doctor said I should be at 92%.  I would suggest you ask your doctor about this type of oxygen machine, perhaps it would work better for you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for the information about the cpap machine with the supplemental oxygen.  I, too, had the problem with the pressure of the machine and simply could not tolerate it.  I haven't had a sleep study in several years, but during my last one they did tell me I had apnea (at that time my o2 levels stayed right around where yours are - mid to upper 80s) so they didn't feel I needed any intervention at that time.  My most recent test was an overnight o2 reading and I actually was quite surprised that my levels were so low - I wasn't really having any symptoms of low o2 with the exception of a headache now and then upon waking, which I attributed to sometimes to sleeping with my neck at an odd angle.  I now know that the low o2 could very well have been contributing to my headaches.  I've got severe asthma and that's why they do the overnight tests periodically.

Like you, I've been trying to lose weight and exercise more, which unfortunately is quite difficult for me as I have very severe arthritis is all my joints, as well as lupus and fibromyalgia, so every movement is a new experience in PAIN!  Because of my health issues, I'm currently on SS disability and I can definitely relate to the expense of the treatments - but I also figure that spending some $$ every month to avoid bigger problems is much more economical than possibly ending up in the hospital as a result of breathing/oxygen problems.  

I definitely will talk to my doctor about the cpap machine with oxygen added.  I need to make an appointment with her anyway.  She's very good with me, so I'm sure she will at least check into me being able to use this machine.

Thanks again for the info and congrats on the weight loss -- keep up the good work!
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