Happy hypoxia refers to the condition where the patient has low oxygen saturation, but does not feel any symptoms of low saturation. As a result, they do not get alarmed until the disease has progressed and there is severe damage to the lungs.
Younger patients often experience happy hypoxia in which they do not feel any breathlessness or related symptoms till oxygen saturation levels fall below 80. Usually symptoms are experienced when oxygen levels fall below 90 saturation.But in cases of happy hypoxia patients get alarmed late.
In a healthy person, the normal oxygen saturation is above 95%, but in certain patients suffering from COVID-19, the levels drop as low as 40%.In this case, there is a high likelihood of failure of vital organs like the kidneys, brain and heart. What’s alarming in the case of happy hypoxia in that no external signs are visible.This means that in the initial stages of COVID-19, the patient appears to be happy and healthy but on the inside, his lungs are in poor condition.
Along with common symptoms like cough, sore throat, fever and headache some more symptoms can be added with happy hypoxia which are as follows –
• Colour of lips changes to blue
• Changes in the colour of skin
• Sweating profusely even when not performing any exercise or sternous work
Patient suffering from happy hypoxia are able to walk and talk with ease.Their blood pressure, pulse readings also come in the normal range, even though their oxygen levels might have dipped well below 80% in most cases.
The primary cause of happy hypoxia is widespread clotting that occurs in the network of small blood vessels in the lungs.This is largely caused by an inflammatory reaction in the body, triggered by COVID-19. The infection causes cellular protein reactions that lead to blood clots, thereby preventing cells and tissues in the lungs to get enough oxygen supply.
You need to keep checking your blood oxygen levels at regular intervals.If it drops below 90%,immediate medical oxygen is required as oxygen starvation can impact vital organs severely.
If oxygen saturation falls below 94%, the person should seek urgent medical advise. Doctors advise proning for home-isolation patients as an immediate remedy.
However, if the oxygen level drops below 90%, such cases require hospitalisation as patients need medical oxygen supplement or ventilator support.
This is a serious condition among COVID-19 patients. Up to 30% of COVID-19 patients need hospitalisation have had happy hypoxia.In some cases of happy hypoxia, oxygen saturation had dropped to 20-30%. This has been a major cause of deaths among COVID-19 patients in hospitals.
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