How Can Obesity Cause Lower Resting SPO2 Levels In The Body?

Obesity can be cause of low resting SPO2 levels and hence leading to health complications. Know how this condition occurs.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalUpdated at: May 20, 2021 18:02 IST
How Can Obesity Cause Lower Resting SPO2 Levels In The Body?

Keeping all your health parameters in place is the foremost thing everyone around the world wishes today. It is crucial to look after the saturation level of oxygen in your blood which is commonly referred as SPO2 level present in your body. The interesting part is that our body has different saturation level of oxygen when we are active and it differs when we are resting. If you must have observed, your heart rate and breathing slows down a bit when you are at a resting stage. This is quite common and totally healthy, but due to some health conditions these parameters can cost your health heavily. Obesity has been referred as a cause of low resting saturation level which can be harmful for the health.

What Is Lower Resting Blood Oxygen Level?

To understand this concept we need to take it in steps. Dr. Harsh Anand, Senior Physician from BNK Hospital, Varanasi will help us understand the relation of blood oxygen with obesity. He tells that blood oxygen level is amount of oxygen which gets circulated in the blood. While we rest this circulation rate gets a bit slow according to the need of the body. This slow rate of oxygen saturation while resting is called resting blood oxygen level. 


In case of an obese person, respiratory functions are less efficient as compared to a healthy person. Due to this extra weight around his chest, it makes lungs push harder for oxygen, this results in inadequate amount of oxygen levels in different parts of body such as heart, brain and other organs. While resting the already reduced oxygen levels decreases further leading to numerous health conditions and even death. This makes obesity a cause of lower resting blood oxygen level. In medical terms this concept is called Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome.

Factors Affecting Resting Blood Oxygen Level (SPO2)

There is no specific cause other than obesity and long term health condition. Some of the factors which occur in Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome are-

  • Having a BMI over 30
  • Your brains inability to control breathing efficiently
  • Improper function of respiratory system
  • Inadequate circulation of oxygen to different parts of body
  • Chronically low oxygen levels resulting in functional change in body

Also Read- Here's Everything You Should Know About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

What Are Symptoms For Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome?

When your resting oxygen saturation level goes below the normal levels due to obesity it can cause you certain types of uneasiness which can be the probable symptoms to get yourself checked. The symptoms are-

  • •Feeling breathlessness
  • •Having lack of energy
  • •Dizziness or fatigued during day
  • •Swelling or bluish colour finger/toes
  • •Morning headaches due to high level of carbon dioxide in blood
  • •Depression and feeling sad
  • •Loss of interest in activities your enjoy
  • •Suicidal thoughts
  • •High blood pressure
  • •Obstructive sleep apnoea


Effects of Low Resting Blood Oxygen Levels 

Low resting blood oxygen levels can cause certain problems in the body due to insufficient circulation of oxygen. The stress of body weight is put on the joints which causes osteoarthritis. This occurs due to damage of cartilage and bone in the joints due to excessive pressure of weight of the body. It can cause harm to joints because of fat cells and adipose tissue thus resulting in long term inflammation or damage.

It can also lead to heart attacks, high blood pressure and adverse health conditions which might not be easy to recover. High blood pressure is common in obese people which also tend to increase risk of other chronic diseases.

Also Read- How Can COVID-19 Make The Interstitial Lung Infection Worse?

What Are The Complications of Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome?

Complications are related to effects of this condition which are-

  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • High blood pressure
  • Fluid build-up in legs
  • Secondary erythrocytosis 
  • Abnormal amount of red blood cells in the body



Obesity is a cause of many severe health conditions and this COVID pandemic can lead to further severe conditions. Right now since oxygen levels play a vital part in the COVID infection, it is important to take care of our health and certain parameters related to it. Resting oxygen saturation level is considerably lower than normal SPO2 level when we are active but obesity can further cause insufficient oxygen in lungs. This can result to lower resting SPO2 level which can result to death. Therefore to avoid such condition and other complications which come along with obesity, one must exercise regularly and eat healthy food.

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