After the second wave of Covid-19 infection, people have become more prone to a number of severe lung infections, and one of them is Happy Hypoxia. In this condition, a person's oxygen levels in the blood drop drastically but the patient stays normal, happy and comfortable without any pressure for the initial few hours. In happy hypoxia, a person might not have dyspnea or breathlessness while developing. By the time the body starts triggering some signs, internal body damage starts occurring. Generally, in a healthy human being, the normal oxygen levels are considered above 95%. Prolonged or recurring decrease in blood oxygen levels can prove to be life threatening if left untreated. And, some Covid patients might have blood oxygen levels lower than 60%.
Normally, if the oxygen levels decrease, the patient feels uncomfortable and stressed. Alongside, other symptoms include rapid heartbeat and respiratory rate. However, this does not happen in all the Covid positive patients as soon as there is a drop in the oxygen level. Therefore, patients suffering from Happy Hypoxia might not be able to self-diagnose this condition in the initial phase. In such cases, if there is no immediate medical intervention, there is a huge risk of the failure of organs such as the kidneys, heart and brain. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Hirenappa Udnur, Consultant- Pulmonologist, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal (A unit of Manipal Hospitals), about the risk factors, symptoms, treatment and prevention of happy hypoxia.
Happy hypoxia symptoms
To know about the blood oxygen levels, doctors use blood gas analysis at hospitals. But, in such challenging times during home quarantine, happy hypoxia is not easily noticeable as it does not show any warning signs. It is important to keep a self-check on the oxygen levels using an Oximeter, at regular intervals of time. But, here are some other symptoms of this condition:
- Colour of the lips or palms can turn blue
- Sweating a lot even after being engaged in very little physical activity
- Shortness of breath
- Slow heart rate
Happy hypoxia risk factors
There can be a number of factors behind the rapid drop in blood oxygen levels. In some patients, secondary kidney diseases or lung aspiration can also become a cause for this condition. In certain Covid positive cases, it can cause an inflammatory reaction in the body which can result in blood clotting, in the blood vessels of the heart or lungs. This obstructs the oxygen from reaching the tissues and cells of the lungs.
Happy hypoxia diagnosis
It is important to consult a doctor immediately, if you notice a drop in the blood oxygen levels and they go below 95% while checking using an oximeter. The doctor would conduct a complete physical exam of the lungs and heart to diagnose the condition, and may even check your skin if it has turned blue because of less supply of oxygen. The doctor would also want to check oxygen levels with a pulse oximeter or an arterial blood gas test. This is done by taking a blood sample from the artery. Lastly, the doctor might also check the blood oxygen levels by fitting breathing tubes connected to a machine.
Happy hypoxia treatment
Raising of blood oxygen levels is basically the fundamental principle in treating the condition of Happy Hypoxia. In case of covid patients, the virus slowly replicates and goes down the throat to the lungs causing pneumonia. In case the infection involves airway in the lungs, doctors generally give medications via inhalers in order to improve the condition. This treats the underlying conditions that can cause Happy Hypoxia.
Doctors often prescribe oxygen therapy, providing people with extra oxygen, generally through a tube known as 'Cannula' in case of severe cases. The next best option is to provide them with machine support for breathing in case a person is not responding to other treatments or of it is getting fatal. The time required by a person for oxygen therapy differs from case to case. The patient can receive oxygen at home, in a hospital or even with a portable machine while they travel depending on the seriousness of the situation.
Happy hypoxia complications
If the oxygen levels in the blood are decreasing rapidly, then the body would stop transporting the right amount of supply of oxygen to all the tissues and organs. This can result in the failure of important organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys and can also prove to be fatal, if there is no immediate medical attention given.
Happy hypoxia prevention
The best way to prevent this condition is by monitoring the blood oxygen levels with a pulse oximeter at regular intervals of time. However, make sure to do this even if the patient is not experiencing any distress or discomfort. Consuming a healthy diet and being physically active are also two important aspects to prevent this condition. It is essential to know about one’s asthma triggers, to prepare themselves and find ways to prevent them. Patients who use inhalers can talk to their doctor and take additional medication to prevent any triggering.
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