The unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 has continued to surprise doctors and medical health professionals across the world with its novelty. And now, a new symptom has allegedly been showing up in patients that has the medical community concerned.
A condition dubbed as "silent" hypoxia by doctors has been killing a number of patients of coronavirus. Hypoxia is a state when the body experiences dangerously low levels of blood oxygen. A patient with such low levels of oxygen in their blood would typically show signs of breathlessness. Since COVID-19 affects the lungs and the respiratory system, it is common for patients to experience hypoxia.
In case of silent hypoxia, however, the patient does not experience or display any of the symptoms of oxygen loss such as gasping due to constriction of breathing. They are alert and don't feel weakened. The symptom is raising concerns about patients who come to the hospital or other doctors with symptoms that are much more acute that they seem to be upon initial inspection.
"One of the presentations of COVID may be silent hypoxia, when people are unaware they are deprived of oxygen and yet they are functioning," Philadelphia based Dr. Hussein Kiliddar told ABC.
Doctors are now referring to such patients as "silent hypoxics" or "happy hpoxics" and such instances are anecdotally being reported across the United States, the report said.
Hypoxia may not be imminently life-threatening but could lead to severe complications amid patients of coronavirus if not given timely treatment, causing higher mortality rates.
As of Thursday, there were over 3.2 million confirmed and active cases pf coronavirus across the world with the global death toll crossing 2.2 lakh.