Hypoxia and hypoxemia are both conditions that are directly related to the supply of oxygen in the human body. Both the conditions are extremely dangerous, and immediate action is necessary whenever a person is affected by any or both of these conditions.
When a human body is not able to receive a sufficient amount of oxygen, the person could get hypoxia or hypoxemia. Without the sufficient flow of oxygen to the vital organs of the human body, the organs such as the brain, heart, liver will stop functioning within a matter of minutes of the symptoms showing.
Hypoxia is the low amount of oxygen in the tissues, which is caused by the low amount of oxygen in the blood, known as hypoxemia. Since hypoxemia causes hypoxia, both the conditions are usually described as one word, that is, hypoxia.
Causes Of Hypoxia
The following mentioned are the causes of hypoxia in the human body-
- Severe asthma attack: During a severe Asthma Attack Symptoms, the airways narrow down, this makes it harder for the lungs to receive the oxygen.
- Lung diseases: Lung Diseases can also be a contributing factor for a person to develop hypoxia as they cause a hindrance in the proper functioning of the lungs.
- Drugs/medicines: There are many such drugs and medicines which can contribute towards hypoxia as they hold back breath.
- Heart problems: Having heart problems can also cause hypoxia as it is the heart which sends the oxygenated blood to other organs of the human body.
- Anemia: Being anemic can also cause hypoxia as it affects the red blood cells which carry the oxygen within the human body.
- Cyanide poisoning: Cyanide poisoning can also cause hypoxia as it increases the level of toxicity in the human body.
Symptoms Of Hypoxia
The symptoms of hypoxia vary from person to person. However, below mentioned are a few common symptoms of hypoxia-
- Change in the color of the skin: Changes in the color of skin are common symptoms of hypoxia and can range from blue to cherry red.
- Confusion: Since the level of oxygen going to the brain is very less, the brain function decreases, often making the affected person confused.
- Cough: Since the airways get narrow with the supply of less oxygen, a person ends of coughing much more. However, this results in the person losing more oxygen as coughing takes up more oxygen.
- Fast heart rate: Since oxygen is important for the heart to function properly. Less amount of oxygen can cause a fast heart rate. However, this can also result in a slow heart rate as well
- Rapid breathing: With less oxygen, the body will require the person to keep on taking short breaths to compensate for the less amount of oxygen.
- Shortness of breath: The lesser amount of oxygen, the more the organs will have to be work hard. This effort from the organs can result in the shortness of breath.
- Sweating: When the oxygen levels in the body are low, the organs go in overdrive. A lot of effort is exerted by and in the body. Thus, a person with hypoxia may end up sweating profusely.
- Wheezing: Wheezing is an also common symptom of hypoxia and is caused due to the malfunction in the lungs.
The first and foremost thing one will have to do when hypoxia symptoms show up is to rush to the hospital immediately or call for medical help. This is the first step towards hypoxia treatment.
What to expect at the hospital?
- You will be given oxygen manually with the help of a mask that covers the nose and the mouth or through a small plug into the nose for the same purpose.
- The above mentioned is usually enough to bring the oxygen levels up in a human’s body.
- However, if the above treatment does not work, the doctor will ask you to inhale from an inhaler or an asthma mask.
- If the above procedure also does not work, the doctor may try and give you medicine by putting an IV through your arm.
In the most severe cases, the patent will have to carry a small oxygen cylinder around with them as they will constantly be required to wear the plug-in or mask to make the breathing easier.
As mentioned above, hypoxia and hypoxemia are very serious conditions. If not given immediate Care, these conditions can cause the death of a person. Therefore, be vigilant to look out for such symptoms as are mentioned above and also have a look at the causes to ensure yourself of the risk factors of such conditions. Always remember that Everything Health begins with taking care of yourself.