Slightly low blood oxygen after stair running, is it normal?
I'm a hypochondriac and 30 years old. I'm more or less in good shape although I haven't performed any regular exercise other than walking the last 3 months. I used to do weight training regularly but I was getting close to finishing my Ph.D. so I stopped lately.
Anyway, because I'm a hypochondriac, I actually own a pulse oximeter even though no doctor actually recommended one to me. I sometimes get panic attacks, even during exercise sometimes, so I wanted to buy one and make sure that I'm not starving of oxygen, only feeling that I'm starving of oxygen during panic attacks. So I keep it with me when I go to exercising on the street as well. These days I'm trying some stair running even though I haven't done regular cardio in a year except walking. I can run maybe 60 steps of stairs in double steps (skipping one step) but then I get winded. The other day I tried one, and after making it to the top, I felt winded for almost 2 minutes. Although I haven't stopped walking or climbing stairs regularly during those 2 minutes. Unfortunately I didn't have my pulse ox with me so I couldn't measure my oxygen.
Today I climbed a steep street, like a 15 minute climb and a quite steep one, and during the climb I measured my pulse ox. Now, these finger oxymeters can't do decent measurements while you are on the move, so I was stopping on the way and measuring my pulse ox and then kept climbing.
Most of the time, the pulse ox reads 99-98% the moment I put it on after stopping the climb. But when I wait there standing, it drops to 95ish and then climbs again to 98ish and then I start climbing again. One time I saw it drop to 92% and then climb immediately to 99%.
Is this a cause for concern? I don't know how much my pulse ox is exactly during the climb due to inaccuracies of the meters but when I stop on the way and measure, it starts reading at really high, and then it drops slightly for a few seconds and then picks up again to the top. How low a pulse ox is normal during this kind of activity? My heart rate was 155-160 during this climb and my resting heart rate is 60-65.
Re: Slightly low blood oxygen after stair running, is it normal?
Many models of pulse oximeter do not read correctly while you are moving. Other light sources can also interfere with them, as can a temporary loss of circulation to your hand. I would assume this is a measurement error, since I don't think it's possible for your actual level to jump up and down that fast, anyway.
A heart rate of 155-160 and feeling somewhat winded sounds normal for someone running up many flights of stairs. Now, if you start feeling majorly winded after walking up one flight of stairs, that you'd want to get checked out.