What is Hypoxia: Meaning, Causes, Types and Treatment

Hypoxia is a state of inadequate blood in arteries leading to low oxygenation in the body tissues.

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Carbon monoxide poisoning, Strangulation or smothering, low blood pressure, smoke inhalation, reaching and climbing to high altitudes, extreme cases of asthma are some of the reasons behind Hypoxia. In addition, oxygen deprivation victims have the least ability to talk, and infants and children may not identify or comprehend the indication of oxygen deprivation.

Following are the causes of Hypoxia:

  1. Reduced blood supply to the brain: This situation can occur when a single blood vessel is blocked or partially hindered, which most of the time gets the same with the stroke issue. It often affects a particular region of the brain, meddling with the functions led by that region. 
  2. No blood supply to the brain: This happens when the blood vessels that supply the brain with blood are entirely hindered in its process, which is extremely rare and generally fatal. 
  3. No blood oxygen: When the body does not hold the capacity to intake oxygen, or the heart or lungs can’t properly send the blood with oxygen, the brain and all other organs endure Hypoxia resulting in a rapidly fatal situation.
  4. Insufficient blood oxygen: Mostly due to illnesses, namely emphysema or a heart attack, the human body can’t correctly oxygenate blood as the brain receives less oxygen than it requires to operate properly.

Types of Hypoxia

  1. Hypoxic Hypoxia: The tissues do not have adequate oxygen because of its inadequacy in the blood flowing to the tissues. It is caused by inadequate breathing and other related causes.
  2. Stagnant Hypoxia: It is circulatory hypoxia that is caused by insufficient blood flow. Its outcome includes less oxygen that is available to the tissues.
  3. Anaemic Hypoxia: There is reduced haemoglobin outcome in a reduced capacity of the blood to transport oxygen that is breathed in. Hence, a diminished supply of oxygen exists in the tissues.
  4. Metabolic Hypoxia: It takes place when there is a higher demand for oxygen by the tissues than generally. Oxygen may have an intake process, carried and used properly by the tissues, but it is still not sufficient due to a condition that contains metabolism. Example: sepsis infection.

How to treat Hypoxia?

One should take consultation from the medical professional. The professional would test the oxygen levels where doctors use Pulse oximetry which is painless and noninvasive. According to a professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Loyola University Medical Center, Dr Martin J. Tobin, “A pulse oximeter is remarkably accurate when oxygen readings are high, it markedly exaggerates the severity of low levels of oxygen when readings are low.”

Other breathing tests comprise a needle to take a blood sample from the person’s artery to check the oxygen levels in the blood, breathing into tubes associated with computers or other machines.

“In some instances, the patient is comfortable and using a phone at a point when the physician is about to insert a breathing [endotracheal] tube and connect the patient to a mechanical ventilator, which, while potentially lifesaving, carries its own set of risks,” Dr Tobin added.

An inhaler or asthma medicine by mouth may enable the person to breathe the medicine into the lungs. One should do deep breathing exercises, mild exercises like walking or yoga. They should quit smoking and eat a healthy diet, including drinking adequate water.