Independent measurement of oxygen levels in the blood can save you from death during the coronavirus

Recently The New York Times published an article the emergency physician Richard Levitan, in which he shares his observations on pneumonia caused by a coronavirus. He spent 10 days watching different patients with confirmed COVID-19 and came to a rather disturbing conclusions: it appears that many patients are without symptoms carry the virus started to get sick with bilateral pneumonia lungs long before felt any discomfort or had problems with breathing. As a result, when the pneumonia was at its peak and was beginning to make itself felt — it was too late. Such patients should be connected to artificial lung ventilation (ALV), which is sorely lacking around the world. But even a ventilator at this stage may not help and the patient dies. It’s all in the level of oxygen in the blood. Measure it at home, it is important to know how to do it and be prepared to be proactive.

In his publication Levitan saysthat during those 10 days, he met with completely different patients. One of them was a man with a stab wound in the shoulder, which “enlighten” the x-rays for fear of a lung collapse, and found COVID-pneumonia. The other patients did a CT scan after injury from a fall and by chance again found COVID-pneumonia. Approximately the same picture was observed in elderly patients, unconscious or patients with diabetes. And what most of all surprised the doctors, so the lack of complaints of breathing problems,such pneumonia and the level of oxygen is significantly below normal they just could not appear.

The contents

The level of oxygen in the blood with the coronavirus

COVID-pneumonia - pneumonia caused by a novel coronavirus COVID-19

Practice shows that COVID-pneumonia causes the form of oxygen deficiency. In this state, the level of oxygen in the blood drops below normal values. But the problem is that to identify such a condition can be very difficult. Under normal pneumonia begins shortness of breath, chest discomfort or pain when breathing. The occurrence of these symptoms a patient goes to doctors who can quickly diagnose the disease and begin treatment. In the case of COVID-pneumonia similar no symptoms and the disease progresses rapidly.

Normal level of saturation of oxygen in the blood is considered the rate of 94% - 100%. The critical condition is recorded when the values of 50% - 60%

Most patients early on have felt some other symptoms: cough, fever, fatigue or upset stomach. No breathing problems were not. And upon the occurrence of such problems, they immediately went to doctors who diagnosed COVID-pneumonia, which continues more than one day. In the case of normal pneumonia patients intoniruet in very difficult conditions. They may be in shock, in anmental state, publishing wheezing. In the acute stages, a person may be unconscious or painfully stretch all your muscles for breath. But patients with COVID-pneumonia can have a critically low rate of oxygen in the blood and still talk on the phone. But why is this happening?

How dangerous is pneumonia in the coronavirus

I will not go into medical terms and try to explain in simple language. COVID-pneumonia causes inflammation, which leads to the destruction of the alveoli (little bubble structure) in the lungs and lower oxygen levels in the blood. While the lungs continue to maintain its elasticity and remove carbon dioxide. No accumulation of carbon dioxide our body does not feel shortness of breath. To increase the level of oxygen in the blood, the person starts to breathe faster and deeper without even realizing it. As a result, this reaction causes more inflammation and pneumonia is aggravated to such an extent that the level of oxygen in the blood begins to fall even more. Thus the sick person injures their lungs breathing heavier. In 20% of cases after that comes the second stage of damage, when fluid accumulates in the lungs, and they lose their elasticity, the level of carbon dioxide increases and the person begins to suffocate. In this moment sick COVID-pneumonia and start to go to the doctors, but the level of oxygen in the blood approaching to a critical point and sometimes the rescue can only connect to the ventilator. Such cases explain the cases of sudden death of a patient who does not feel short of breath until the last moment.

And here we come to the main. If people knew about the level of oxygen in the blood or always able to control it — it definitely would have saved many lives. It turns out that such a device is for home use. It’s called “pulse oximeter” and is able to track the pulse and the oxygen level in the blood. Using it is very simple. The device is put on the tip of your finger, click the button and a few seconds you see the result on his screen. Such devices are often used by doctors to determine the coronavirus at an early stage and to take appropriate action.

Of course, conducting tests at home and getting results, you need to understand that the final conclusion can only give the specialist. Sometimes we can get values slightly deviated from the norm after illness, chronic diseases or as a consequence of the characteristics of the organism. However, if you have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, or have accompanying symptoms, such as cough, fever, weakness, etc. to measure the level of oxygen in the blood will not be excess.

How do the instruments for measuring oxygen in the blood

Pulse oximeter is a device for non-invasive (no skin puncture) pulse and level of oxygen in the blood. The principle of operation is quite simple. First the hemoglobin in our blood, for two different beam refracts light of different wavelengths depending on the oxygen availability. And secondly, the light passing through our tissue begins to throb with each heart beat. Therefore, the flowing light of the two wavelengths and fixing special sensor refraction and the frequency of pulsation, the pulse oximeter can detect our pulse and blood saturation of oxygen. To measure just a few seconds.

In the vast App Store and Google Play you can find many apps for iPhone or Android phones that can measure heart rate and oxygen levels in the blood. With pulse there are no questions, everything is quite simple: a bright flash illuminates your finger and the camera detects the pulsation of blood with each heart beat. But to measure the level of oxygen in the blood such programs we advise you not to. For them, a conventional camera is not enough, need special rays and a sensor that fixes them. The use of such programs can inspire panic, since the results show is actually from the ceiling.

How much are the pulse oximeters

It is not sad, but the prices have increased dramatically after the start of the pandemic coronavirus. Not to say that they are impossibly money, but a few months ago they could be bought in 2-3 times cheaper. A cursory study of the proposals showed that today in Russia varies from 5 000 to 10 000 and they are in stock. Needless headlong start to buy them is an open question. If you sit at home and you have absolutely no symptoms, you can not particularly in a hurry. If something is troubling you described above, and the risk and visit the hospital in this difficult time, no desire, maybe it makes sense to study several options home pulse oximetry.

Can fitness bracelets or smart watches to measure the level of oxygen in the blood

Yes, you can! And that’s great news. There are bracelets from well-known companies that can be trusted. For example bracelets that support the measurement of oxygen levels in the blood have with Huawei, HONOR, Samsung, Xiaomi and many other manufacturers is smaller. The cost of such fitness bracelets start from 1,500 rubles at a price accessible to everyone.

But Apple with their Apple Watch still lingers. It was reported that even the first clock generation had the necessary sensors for such measurements, but so far Apple this feature is not included at the program level. According to recent reports we get the long-awaited feature already this year with the release of iOS 14 this fall.