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Low O2 Levels

Has anyone lost the ability to think and speak clearly when your O2 levels drop?

  1. When I feel breathless, I feel panic. I go into a mindset that just focuses on that, and not things around me. That makes me feel like I'm not thinking. My doctor pointed out that I even hold my breath, which makes the oximeter show even lower saturation. My Pulmonologist gave me insight on what to do if my saturation drops to 88% or lower, and how many minutes it should take to recover when I stop walking. He said I should be more concerned if I can't speak a normal sentence. I have a poem I recite, and it really helps me get out of that panic mode.

    1. James James Morrison Morrison Lyrics that my mother often sang. After a couple lines I can determine if I can complete the sentences without slurring or garbling the words. My Pulmonologist said it's the test, specific to my lung function, that will tell me if I'm too low in oxygen saturation. I also have instructions about oximeter readings, and how long it should take for the saturation to increase when they are too low. The panic is my worst enemy.


    2. Hi again, twovillages, and thanks for your reply. It sounds like you have a good, interested, and understanding physician. These are good guidelines for you to assess how you are doing, You must feel a bit more in control to have this understanding of your own specific condition. Perhaps having these assessment tools to use will help to alleviate some of the anxiety you tend to feel.
      We value your candor here with the community.
      Warm regards,
      Leon (site moderator COPD.net)

  2. This is an interesting question. It's amazing to hear all your stories.

    1. , yes that is how I was diagnosed. I still have that problem today with 02.


      1. Hi yalexander, and thanks for your post. I see my colleague, , has already responded to your comment.
        I am sorry to hear you are still having the same issue, even when using the supplemental oxygen. Have you had an opportunity to discuss this with your physician? Perhaps an adjustment to the oxygen and/or medication regimen might be of some benefit.
        What do you think?

        All the best,
        Leon (site moderator COPD.net)

    2. Hi Gwynne! When I am extremely short of breath, that happens to me. Have you heard the saying, “when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters”? For me, it is very true.
      I stop what I am doing, concentrate on slow, pursed lip breathing and slowing my breathing down. I keep reminding myself this works and I’ll be fine.


      Carol (community moderator)




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