My husband has IPF. I know that he should keep his O2 above 90, but was wondering what happens if it periodically dips too low when he is sleeping. He usually stays at around 93 when sleeping - but every once in a while (if he is very tired or has had a couple of drinks) it dips to 85-86. Should we be concerned?
Also, what is a normal O2 for sleeping? Does everyone's drop some at night?
The oxygen saturation in the blood is normally 90% or above even during sleep. At night everyone breathes more shallow and less often. Generally this does not cause a drop in the oxygen saturation. When this is combined with a breathing problem, then the oxygen saturation may drop. The workload on the heart is increased when the oxygen saturation stays below 90%. Over time this will cause the heart to get large and work less efficiently. Using supplemental oxygen to keep the oxygen saturation above 90% most of the time will help to lighten the workload on the heart so that it doesn
Oxygen levels should remain at or above 89 (ideally, at or above 90) all the time. Alcohol is a depressant; depressants CAN make our breathing more shallow and lower our oxygen saturation rates, as it appears to do in your husband's case.
You are correct that most of us have lower oxygen saturation rates while we are sleeping than while we are awake. In an individual with no lung problems, oxygen saturation rates awake or asleep at sea level are 95-100%. Many individuals with lung problems DO require supplemental oxygen only for sleep and/or exertion, to adequately maintain their saturation rates above 90.
If bodies frequently or constantly have oxygen rates under 89 or 90%, our bodies will have increasing problems which can include permanent heart damage and other ills.
You should talk to your husband's doctors about your observations, so s/he can make a proper determination as to any supplemental oxygen needs your husband may have.
Thanks to both of you for your help. I've been checking his O2 on and off at night for a while, and it seldom goes under 90 - so I guess I shouldn't worry. I will check into getting a real sleep study done just to be safe.
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