Happy Hypoxia

Happy Hypoxia

Happy hypoxia is a condition where blood oxygen levels are low but the patient continues with their daily activities without being aware of it. According to medical experts, non-regular monitoring of oxygen saturation levels could result in organs shutting down and the condition can become life-threatening. 

Youngsters may not realise the steep drop in oxygen levels in the blood because of their high immunity and general health.Covid-19 is primarily a respiratory illness, and a severe case can reduce the lungs’ capacity to absorb oxygen. In these cases, the oxygen levels in blood can decline to as little as 40 percent and the patient would need immediate oxygen support and in critical cases, ventilators as well.

Happy Hypoxia Caught You Unawared:

“Happy hypoxia is a very important stage in the Covid-19 illness. Hypoxia is a condition of low oxygen level in the body. Happy hypoxia patients can have extremely low oxygen levels, as low as 40 per cent (the normal being above 94 per cent), but feel fine despite that,” says Dr Padegal. In some cases, the lung problems of a person with Covid progresses in a way that isn’t immediately apparent. Patients tend to focus more on other symptoms and, as the body fights these symptoms, the lack of adequate oxygen starts to show its face in the form of happy hypoxia. In other cases, people are unable to detect that they are breathing faster and their oxygen continues to fall down, their body adjusts to the lower levels, just like it does when you travel to a high-altitude destination. However, the adjustment is short lived and soon graver problems present themselves.

30%  Hospitalisation Patients Have Happy Hypoxia:

Speaking to India Today, Dr Rajkamal Choudhry, associate professor at the Department of Medicine of the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Bhagalpur in Bihar said that in some Covid-19 patients experiencing happy hypoxia, oxygen levels have dropped to 20-30 percent. He estimated that 30 percent of India's covid-19 patients who require hospitalisation have happy hypoxia, which could prove fatal.

How to Identify Happy Hypoxia:

Besides having the covid-19 symptoms, if a person has happy hypoxia, they might experience ‘change of the colour of lips from natural tone to blue, skin discolouration to red or purple tone or profuse sweating even when not doing arduous physical work could be a symptom of happy hypoxia’, states the India Today report.

Even while portraying only minor symptoms of COVID-19, such as cough, sore throat, fever, headaches, without any perceivable breathing difficulty, it is advised to continuously measure blood oxygen levels using a pulse oximeter.