QUESTION: May wearing a mask cause a drop in the blood oxygen level?
ANSWER (typical): No.
The No answer is connected to recent mask experiments. Unfortunately, the media reporting those experiments do not have their descriptions in sufficient detail which makes it hard to evaluate the validity of the claims. All that we are assured of is that there is no noticeable drop in oxygen concentration in the blood [REFERENCES].
Perhaps some analysis may be helpful in a search for a correlation between wearing face masks and a possible adaptation in the body’s oxygen supply necessitated by their effects.
Oxygen is the most significant component supporting life on the shortest time scale. The human body’s priority is providing the life-critical organs with oxygen, the brain being a priority one organ – cut it sharply supply and the entire body catastrophically fails within seconds. Limit it to an appreciable degree, and the body will begin to shut down, starting from the brain losing control.
Therefore, as soon as your lungs start receiving air with reduced oxygen concentration, the body immediately shifts into an emergency mode using multiple mechanisms for keeping SpO2 at its normal level, around 98%. The first line of defense is increasing the heartbeat rate and frequency and depth of breathing. If this assumption is correct, the experiments must confirm it.
In case the experiments indicate no changes in the above three body’s defensive measures, the red cells must come into play and start working harder in getting enough O2 molecules for delivering to the brain. And obviously, there is a limit to how far this defense mechanism will go.
Thorough experiments must have the protocols that include careful monitoring of all body’s vital signs at rest prior to the experiment, and then to look for any changes in response to putting on masks. The results would answer the question substantively, perhaps replacing the definite No with a qualified No.
In normal circumstances this adaptation will be sufficient to respond to temporary oxygen deprivation like when during mountain climbing at high elevations, being in an airplane, or in small rooms full of people. Those are transitory situations, and the adaption is also temporary.
More substantial adaptation occurs when the deprivation is prolonged, for example in people that live in the mountains at high altitudes. One of the adaptations observed is the enlargement of the chest to accommodate the increased lungs.
Note that adaptation per se is not a negative phenomenon: it is a vital self-preservation mechanism of any living organism. Yet, any noticeable changes in a complex organism may have unpredictable, and possibly negative side effects…