When coronavirus people may not feel the deadly lack of oxygen

При коронавирусе люди могут не ощущать смертельно опасной нехватки кислорода

Their oxygen saturation may be very low, the level of carbon dioxide is high, but they perceive [it] not: without the effort of walking, talking, making phone calls.

The researchers found that some people with the disease coronavirus begin to suffer from an acute shortage of oxygen, which can be deadly, but not feel it.

The main symptoms COVID-19 (particularly when severe) include low oxygen saturation in the blood because of lung disease and shortness of breath that occurs in response to hypoxia and the associated increase in carbon dioxide, reports medikforum. According to doctors, once the partial pressure of oxygen falls below 60 mm Hg, the sensors in the carotid arteries send an alarm signal to the respiratory center (the brain stem), which is associated with the nerves in the chest – as a result, breathing becomes more frequent, the person suffocates.

But it was discovered that some people have such an alarm system is not working. Their oxygen saturation may be very low, the level of carbon dioxide is high, but they perceive [it] not: without the effort of walking, talking, making phone calls.

This phenomenon leads doctors to a standstill. “This quiet hypoxemia is extremely confusing health care workers, because it contradicts basic biology” – talking about the revealed phenomenon of coronavirus scientists at the University of Chicago Loyola.

They cite as an example the case of 74-year-old patient whose oxygen partial pressure was only 34 mm Hg, and oxygen saturation in the blood dropped to 62 percent, which is considered a deadly life-threatening condition. Nevertheless, the patient claimed to have not experienced any choking and felt pretty good.

How can this be explained? Scientists see the influence of several factors. One of them is the age – in people over 65 years more likely to develop such tacit hypoxemia.

Another factor may be fever. Increased body temperature changes the behavior of oxygen when dissolved: oxygen saturation in the blood decreases and the partial pressure remains unchanged. This shift can cause significant pre-breathing without affecting the sensors of the carotid artery, because they only respond to partial pressure, experts say.

Also anomalies can contribute to existing chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes) – they are, according to the researchers, weaken respiratory reaction.

The study of annulotomy will continue.

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