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Oxygen dropping when falling asleep
Oxygen dropping when falling asleep
Hey guys, i'm Stephenie.
I'm new here but have been lurking for a couple months.
I have OSA and have been faithfully using Resmed 10 Auto Pap since the end of June (before that, I was using the Dreamstation from December-to June) so I've essentially been treating my apnea for about 9 months. The past few weeks i've been noticing a new issue that I used to have when I didn't have my cpap and was just not treating my apnea. It didn't happen all of the time, but it was really frightening when it did and now lately it's happening again. Whenever I drift off to sleep, I notice I feel like I'm holding my breath and my ears will whoosh with pressure like when you're in the pool and really need to come up for air. That's how it feels. But i'm wearing my mask when this is happening, and it ONLY happens when i'm falling asleep. After I can actually get to sleep I never have any (known) issues with this feeling the rest of the night. It happened really bad on August 30th. and it happened again today. When it happened on August 30th, I woke up and saw my oxygen was 80! I completely panicked thinking I had some kind of lung disease because why would my oxygen drop so low if I had my mask on? I messaged my pulmonologist/sleep dr, and he told me we would schedule and oxygen/titration sleep study so he can see what's going on. When it happened today I made sure after the first time I had that holding my breath feeling to put my pulse ox on and leave it on (just a regular Walgreens one, not the recording one) and when I'd wake up my oxygen would be fine. It was 99-98. so the issue with the dropping oxygen I had on the 30th didn't happen again with this but it was still the same sensation. Any ideas on what's going on? I don't have any history of COPD (never smoked) and my oxygen during the day is usually 96-99. It doesn't help I have severe health anxiety that is fueling my fear of going to sleep in fear that it will happen again. Thank you in advance.
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RE: Oxygen dropping when falling asleep
Hi Stephanie,
What brand/model oxygen meter are you using to measure your oxygen?  I feel that my oxygen is dropping during sleep, but yet my AirSense 10 show good readings on the MyAir report.  I just found out about this forum and the OSCAR SW today.  I'm looking for a good oxygen monitor that I can use during sleep.

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RE: Oxygen dropping when falling asleep
Stephenie.welch and lostrenegade!  -  Welcome

Along with using OSCAR, you both would benefit from a recording oximeter.  The most economical recording oximeter, that will work with OSCAR, is the CMS-50F model.  This oximeter only allows a single session's recording.  If it is stopped for any reason, restarting will overwrite the previous data. Contec seems to be the main chip manufacturer for this unit, but these units are sold under various other names too.

The next step-up is the Wellue (in the US and Viatom elsewhere).  These oximeters will allow for up to 4 sessions to be stored before overwriting the oldest.  There are several models to choose from, although all of them are more expensive than the CMS-50F series.   These models do have a user defined vibration warning for low level SpO2 and pulse.  This may be of interest to Stephenie.

To help in getting started with OSCAR, please see the links in my signature.

Good luck!
- Red
Crimson Nape
Apnea Board Moderator
Useful Links -or- When All Else Fails:
The Guide to Understanding OSCAR
OSCAR Chart Organization
Attaching Images and Files on Apnea Board
Apnea Helpful Tips

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RE: Oxygen dropping when falling asleep
Hey Steph, welcome to the board.
I too get get that sensation occasionally when I am drifting off, although perhaps not as strong as you get it.
I also wear my ring oximeter at night to record my oxygen levels so when I get the sensation I check it out right away, but I have never seen it be too low, exactly at that moment.
That being said, I have  Central Apnea (CSA) and as you know people with CSA tend to occasionally short circuit and lose their involuntary breathing while asleep, except that we never remember the events when they happen...unless we are drifting off in that state when we are neither asleep nor awake, which is possibly when a CSA event causes that sensation after involuntarily holding our breath.
It may be worth having your doc check you out for CSA when he is doing a SpO2 study.
Also in regards to various Oximeters, some of them report on oxygen levels every one minute while some can treport every second, so depending of what make and model of oximeter you are using, you could be looking at delayed data.
At any rate, a low oxygen level could be anything from holding your breath for a significant length of time to lung issues and if your studies show lowered oxi levels you proly need to see a pulmonologist for tests.
Lowered oxygen levels are also associated with panic attacks so what you are experiencing makes sense if your oxi levels take a sharp turn down occasionally.
 "The power of community to create health is far greater than any physician, clinic or hospital.” – Dr. Mark Hyman
"The job of a great doctor is to keep the patient entertained while nature takes it course"-- A less known physician
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