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Extreme anxiety over oxygen levels


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My father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and has been struggling with anxiety over his low oxygen % numbers.  He is on supplemental oxygen 24x7, but is still checking his numbers non-stop.  It has paralyzed him to the point that he wont do anything or leave the house because he gets out of breath and his levels go down to 82% when he has to walk any distance.  He checks his levels at least every 30 minutes.

His O2 levels immediately return to normal when he sits back down or rests, but it hasn't eased his mind.  He doesn't sleep at night either because of his concern that he doesn't have enough O2 and will stop breathing and is having recurring nightmares that he is suffocating.

Does anyone have experience with this and can you offer any suggestions?  It breaks my heart seeing him like this and I don't want him to spend whatever time he has left scared to leave the house and not living his life.

Thanks in advance.

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Welcome here.

Breathing is a particular challenge for all of us, some more than others. After surviving many recurrences and lots of treatment, my pulmonary capacity is about 30% of normal. I also suffer shortness of breath and use supplemental oxygen when sleeping. My normal resting O2 level is 97% but with exertion, it can fall into the high 80s. When it does, I sit down and breathe deeply until I can breathe normally. For place of mind, I use the O2 sensor on my watch to check my levels. 

If your dad is on 24/7 oxygen, his levels should not fall unless he is up and about without his O2 supply. If he is on O2 while moving and experiencing a drop to the low 80s, he’ll need an evaluation from a pulmonologist to increase his supply levels. With levels dropping to the low 80s while using supplemental O2, you should minimize his activity until he is evaluated by a physician.

Stay the course.


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