An abnormally low level of oxygen in the blood negatively impacts the body in the form of hypoxia, a potentially deadly condition.
Just a 5% drop in blood oxygenation is considered “abnormal” but a 15% reduction will cause noticeable symptoms. These include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and cognitive impairment. Even surgeons can suffer low O2 and associated symptoms merely from wearing a surgical mask. But can hypoxia have more serious side effects?
Air travelers, mountaineers, and climbers are known to suffer an increase in blood clotting issues, namely venous thromboembolisms (VTE) like pulmonary embolism or deep-vein thrombosis. The cause of VTE at altitude is usually inadequate oxygen. High-altitude travel advisories for mile-high cities abound. And blood clots are not a minor affliction; VTE kills 300,000 people a year.
At sea level the air we breathe is 21% oxygen. High altitude where pilots can suffer ill…
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