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When Can A Lack Of Oxygen Make You Feel Really Happy?

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Kath Senior answered
One of the first symptoms of the brain being starved of oxygen is feeling ridiculously happy. It is one of the signs that climbers at high altitudes look out for because it is a warning sign that things are getting dangerous.

In some situations, and high altitude is an important one, oxygen leves can fall but carbon dioxide levels do not increase. This stops breathing rate increasing in response to raised carbon dioxide, which normally flushes carbon dioxide out of the lungs. Extra oxygen is taken in to replace it.

If this increase in breathing rate does not happen, not enough oxygen enters the blood and one of the first organs to suffer is the brain. Hence, the feeling of strange happiness. It is accompanied by poor judgement and problems with the senses. People monitoring climbers or deep sea divers act quickly when someone starts giggling and making mistakes – it seems funny, but the next stage, which can follow very quickly, is unconsciousness and death.

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