‘Happy Hypoxia’ among younger patients contributes to increased Covid-19 cases, says Health Ministry

PETALING JAYA: One of the factors contributing to the increased number of severe Covid-19 cases is "Happy Hypoxia", especially among younger patients, says the Health Ministry.

It said that the number of Category 4 and 5 Covid-19 patients admitted into hospital increased by 35%.

"One of the factors is Happy Hypoxia among younger patients who do not realise they are experiencing a decrease in oxygen levels until the situation becomes more serious," it said in a tweet on Friday (June 18).

Happy Hypoxia is when a Covid-19 patient has a very low level of oxygen as shown on the monitor, but appears to be breathing more or less normally.

In a series of videos on the Health Ministry's Facebook page on Thursday (June 17), it said that among the symptoms of the condition or when oxygen levels were less than 91% included breathing difficulties, headaches, dizziness, skin turns bluish, and cold palms.

Dr Mohd Noor Akmal who is attached to the ministry said that the young who were healthy were most at risk for the condition.

He said the condition occurred when there was an infection in the lungs.

"The Covid-19 virus causes infection in the tissues of the lungs, causing damage to it. Teenagers, young people, and the healthy do not display any symptoms because they have high immunity... what they don't realise is that the oxygen levels in the blood decreases because of lung damage. This is termed Happy Hypoxia," he said.

All individuals diagnosed with Covid-19 are categorised into five stages.

In the first stage, patients are asymptomatic, while those in the second stage display mild symptoms but have no pneumonia.

In the third stage, patients display symptoms and have pneumonia, while those in the fourth stage have symptoms, pneumonia and require supplemental oxygen.

For those in the fifth stage, they are diagnosed as critically ill and need to be intubated, as well as to be put on a ventilator.

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Covid-19 , Health Ministry , Happy Hypoxia


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