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Happy Hypoxia

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

This is a new term doing rounds due to corona pandemic, week by week doctors are finding new ways of how covid 19 is affecting the human body. One of these is Happy Hypoxia or Silent Hypoxia.

Normal blood oxygen saturation is between 95 to 100 %. Low oxygen levels in the body, also known as hypoxia, one develops shortness of breath when the Spo2 levels drop, this is one of the most common symptom noted in covid 19 infection.

But increasingly, patients are presenting with "silent" or "happy hypoxia" . With Spo2 levels even when below 90%,they are able to breath normally. No shortening of breath, no fast or shallow breathing.

Patients are unaware their bodies are deprived of oxygen and while they should be gasping for air, but instead appear to be perfectly normal and comfortable. This is especially bewildering to physicians as it defies basic biology.

Early detection of hypoxia with the help of a simple tool called pulse oximeter can make a difference.

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