3. Does the angle of my bed have an effect on my oxygen levels when I lay down?
Why Does My Oxygen Level Drop When I Lay Down?
If your oxygen levels are lower when you lay down than when you’re in an upright position, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition known as orthopnea. Orthopnea occurs when the heart and lungs can’t keep up with the demands of the body in an upright position, resulting in shortness of breath and decreased oxygen levels.
What Is Orthopnea?
Orthopnea is a condition that occurs when the lungs and heart can’t keep up with the demands of the body while in an upright position. This can cause shortness of breath and lower oxygen levels when in an upright position, and even more so when you lay down flat. As your body relaxes and your diaphragm is constricted by the bed, your lungs don’t have enough room to fully inflate and oxygen levels drop.
Symptoms of Orthopnea
The main symptom of orthopnea is shortness of breath or feeling of tightness in the chest when laying flat or in an upright position. Other symptoms can include rapid heartbeat, wheezing, coughing, and feeling faint or dizzy due to the lack of oxygen.
Causes of Orthopnea
Orthopnea is most often caused by conditions that affect the heart or lungs, such as:
- Heart failure – When the heart is not able to pump enough blood and oxygen throughout the body efficiently, it can lead to shortness of breath and decreased oxygen levels.
- Asthma – When the air passages become inflamed or constricted, it can lead to difficulty breathing and decreased oxygen levels.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – This is a progressive lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe due to the narrowing of airways in the lungs.
- Pulmonary embolism – This is a blood clot in the lungs that can cause shortness of breath and decreased oxygen levels.
- Obesity – When a person is overweight, the extra weight can cause their bodies to use more oxygen, making it more difficult to breathe.
- Sleep apnea – This is when the airway collapses multiple times throughout the night, making it difficult to breathe and decreasing oxygen levels.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Orthopnea
Your doctor will take a full medical history and physical examination to determine if you have orthopnea and what may be causing it. If necessary, the doctor may also order further tests such as a chest X-ray to evaluate the condition of your heart and lungs.
Treatment for orthopnea will depend on the underlying cause. Heart failure and COPD are usually treated with medication, while sleep apnea is usually treated with lifestyle changes and a device that helps keep the airway open during sleep. If you’re overweight, your doctor will probably recommend lifestyle changes and weight loss as a way to reduce symptoms.
If you are experiencing shortness of breath and lower oxygen levels when laying flat, it’s important to talk to your doctor right away. Your doctor can help determine the underlying cause and provide treatment to help reduce your symptoms and improve your oxygen levels.