The longer we experience the coronavirus, the more understanding we develop on how it works and how it affects people. Yet, there are still some things about a COVID-19 infection that are still confusing doctors, and here's one of them.
It's called "happy hypoxia", and doctors can't really explain why it's occurring in COVID-19 patients. Firstly, happy hypoxia is when a patient has extreme respiratory complications, yet is showing no physical signs that their oxygen levels are low. Essentially, the patient looks completely fine, but inside their body is waging war against the COVID-19 infection.
Manchester Royal Infirmary Dr. Jonathan Bannard-Smith recently spoke to The Guardian, and said "It's intriguing to see so many people coming in, quite how hypoxic they are. We're seeing oxygen saturations that are very low, and they're unaware of that. We wouldn't usually see this phenomenon in influenza or community-acquired pneumonia. It's very much more profound and an example of very abnormal physiology going on before our eyes."
Usually, a normal and healthy person's blood oxygen levels are meant to be around 95%, but the patients that are coming into hospitals are reporting blood oxygen levels of 50% to 80%. A normal patient that didn't have COVID-19 would normally lose consciousness if their blood oxygen levels dropped below 75%.
Dr. Mike Charlesworth, an anesthetist at Wythenshawe hospital in Manchester, said, "With pneumonia or a pulmonary embolism, they wouldn't be sat up in bed talking to you. We just don't understand it. We don't know if it's causing organ damage that we're not able to detect. We don't understand if the body's compensating."
If you are interested in reading more about this phenomenon, check out this link here.
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