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Hypoxia - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Of It!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Ankit Kumar Katiyar 91% (293 ratings)
MBBS, MD
General Physician, Lucknow  •  9 years experience
Hypoxia - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Of It!

Oxygen is integral and fundamental to the efficient functioning of your body. It is the substance that produces energy in the body, through the process of cellular respiration. In it, consumed food is broken down and the energy is supplied to the blood and cells. Moreover, less than adequate levels of oxygen in the body leads to pain in muscles due to generation of excessive lactic acid. A lack of oxygen will adversely affect your vital organs, including the brain and liver. The condition is termed hypoxia and can be potentially lethal.

Causes of hypoxia:

This condition can develop due to a number of factors working alone or in combination, like:

• Diseases that heavily impair the lungs, like pneumonia or bronchitis.
Pain medication that is potent enough to interfere with normal breathing.
Asthma attacks.
• Pre-existing heart diseases.
• Anaemia, wherein oxygen-carrying red blood cells are reduced drastically in number.

Symptoms:

These are the symptoms by which you can identify hypoxia occurrence:

• Respiratory problems.
Wheezing and cough.
• Lack of mental clarity.
• The skin can change colour and turn anything from bluish to a deep red.
• Exhaustion and a lack of energy.

The symptoms need to be acted upon very soon to prevent irreversible damage to the patient.

Treating hypoxia:

The underlying principle of all hypoxia treatment is increasing the levels of oxygen in the body. This can be achieved in multiple ways:

• An artificial mask can be used for the purpose. Devices called nasal cannulae are used for the same purpose. These machines either cover the oral and nasal orifice or are inserted under the nose, and are the most widely used for oxygen provision.
• Oral asthma medication can be used. Steroids are the second kind of drugs used in hypoxia treatment to combat secondary infection or lung inflammation.
• You can use an inhaler for which the doses vary according to the severity of your condition.
• Intravenous (IV) injections are used in cases where other methods do not work, and in the most extreme cases (where the situation is nearly lethal), a machine can be used to assist breathing.

Oxygen deficiency in the body, termed hypoxia or hyperoxia in some cases, is a disease which may cause very serious complications if not remedied fast. It is caused by diseases of the respiratory pathway or the heart, and the symptoms are easy to identify. If you think you have this diseases, seek medical help immediately.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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