During sleep people breath more shallow and less often. This is normally not a problem, but when there is a lung or heart problem this can cause the oxygen level to be low during sleep. Normally the oxygen level in the blood should be 80 to 100 mm Hg at sea level. The normal oxygen saturation of the blood is 92% to 94% at sea level. When the oxygen level is chronically low the workload on the heart is increased. This causes the heart to enlarge. Once the heart is enlarged it cannot be reversed. Supplemental oxygen is used to prevent the enlargement of the heart.
Without heart or lung disease, a low oxygen level while sleeping can simply be the result of a sleep disorder. This is especially true if the oxygen is low only while sleeping. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which the airway does not fully open during sleep. Other health problems can develop when the low oxygen level is not treated. Your doctor can help you find the cause of your low oxygen level. Once the cause is treated the oxygen level should return to normal so that other health problems don
If you oxygen level is lower than 88 for ANY prolonged time, you need supplemental O2. At any level lower than 88, your body is NOT getting enough O2 & you are putting a strain on your heart & other organs & systems in your body. Your doctor should prescribe O2; there are many who wear O2 while sleeping for just this reason. Others just need it while moving, while some need it 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.
The doctor should explain all of this to the patient.
But what causes this to happen? My husbands goes down into the 70's and has attended a sleep clinic and they say he does not have sleep apnea but yet has all the symptoms. The dr. says she does not know why this is happening. He has had several heart test and they are ok.
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