by Alan Lindemann, M.D.
A few weeks ago Dr. Lindemann created a video to suggest how people could monitor their blood oxygen levels without waiting until they were short of breath before contacting their physicians, and hence get medical care before their COVID symptoms were severe.
In that video, he explained that shortness of breath is not an indication of too little oxygen in the blood, which is a common assumption. Shortness of breath is caused by too much carbon dioxide in the blood, not too little oxygen. BUT, if you find your blood oxygen levels dropping with a pulse oximeter, even if you’re not short of breath, you have a clear sign you need to see your physician.
But what about those who don’t have access to a pulse oximeter. There will be signs, but they are often very subtle. Dr. Lindemann’s most recent video suggests what physical signs indicate your oxygen levels may be low even though you may not be short of breath.
Diane Haugen has a book review of Michel Accad’s Moving Mountains on The Treating Physician.