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[Symptoms] I'm scared. Am I at risk of death? Or is my pulse oximeter acting up?
#1
I'm scared. Am I at risk of death? Or is my pulse oximeter acting up?
Hi; new user here. I'll cut to the chase: I'm 20 (soon 21,) thin, and exercise often, though sleep apnea runs in my family. I fit the bill for (at least) most common symptoms—occasional headaches, constant brain-fog which fails to lift, debilitating sleepiness, etc. After visiting a nurse versed in sleep disorders, I bought a pulse oximeter (EMAY's 99$ "Wrist Pulse Oximeter with Silicone SPo2 Sensor) and monitored my sleep for three nights.What I found worries me, and I'd like some insight.

-The first and second photos show my SpO2 lingers at "dangerous" levels for stretches of time—93% in the former and latter, and 92% in the latter. The third photo shows a minute's gap of zero recorded input—suggesting no breathing, I guess—before recording measurements of 74% SpO2 and 138 bpm; both steadily climb for near-six minutes, then plummet to normal levels. Do I risk lasting brain damage? Does continuing like this for longer, without a CPAP machine, mean I risk death? Do I need to see the ER?

-By what likelihood are measurements by EMAY prone to distortion? The third photo's plummet in SpO2 and bpm, and the length by which both persisted as extremes, would suggest a close shave from death, right? This seems unrealistic to have lived, given my age, weight, and fitness—and also that I've not (seemingly) incurred any brain damage. Writing this, I feel as impaired as in, say, May. Thus, I wonder about anything else which could have caused (or rather, fabricated) such extremes. That night, I fell asleep on my side, and I thought my oximeter, wrapped around my wrist bone, was snug. I can't recall if my arm shifted while I slept, and this I bring up because I read that might alter data. 

I don't know. I'm freaking out, though.

I'm sorry for any awkward phrasing. I only slept for six hours. Thank you!


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#2
RE: I'm scared. Am I at risk of death? Or is my pulse oximeter acting up?
While I'm here, I'll ask, too: can obstructive sleep apnea—what the mentioned nurse suggested I may have—cause problems breathing* while awake, too? Nowadays, I can only seem to breathe "well" by forcing labored inhalations—making deliberate efforts to expand my chest/stomach.


*EDIT: this goes for breathing by mouth and by nose.
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#3
RE: I'm scared. Am I at risk of death? Or is my pulse oximeter acting up?
Sorry for triple-posting; I noticed I attached my photos in reverse order.
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#4
RE: I'm scared. Am I at risk of death? Or is my pulse oximeter acting up?
i would suggest that you visit a pulmonologist immediately not just for sleep apnea but for copd too, well you could also get an polysomnography test done at home
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#5
RE: I'm scared. Am I at risk of death? Or is my pulse oximeter acting up?
Just to reassure you, I don't see anything to indicate a risk of immanent death. The spike in readings is often a sign the the finger cuff sensor got disturbed somehow; ther's usually a note somewhere saying the device is inaccurate while moving... so much for checking while exercising.

On the other hand, if you have to work to inhale during the day, there is some problem to look into. As Psychotech suggests, a visit to a pulmonologist is a good starting point. They have devices that allow a quick check of basic functions.
Apnea Board Monitors are members who help oversee the smooth functioning of the Board. They are also members of the Advisory Committee which helps shape Apnea Board's rules & policies. Membership in the Advisory Members group does not imply medical expertise or qualification for advising Sleep Apnea patients concerning their treatment.
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#6
RE: I'm scared. Am I at risk of death? Or is my pulse oximeter acting up?
All I see 8s a briefly disconnected/jostled sensor and fairly normal nighttime O2 levels.

To eliminate sleep apnea you need a sleep test. There is really no other way.

Daytime difficulties, get a pulmonologist to check you out.

Death, maybe in your 80's or 90's.
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