What are the signs of Hypoxia?

April 7, 2010

Hypoxia simply means a deficiency in oxygen. The deficiency of oxygen in a specific part of the body is called hypoxia. It is a disease where there is an overall shortage of oxygen in the body's vital organs (particularly the brain) and tissues. The signs of hypoxia are very subtle and often go unrecognized. Signs and symptoms of hypoxia include:

Signs of Hypoxia

  • Poor coordination
  • Rapid breathing
  • Poor judgment
  • Cyanosis ( the skin turns blue in color)
  • Lassitude/ Lethargy

Symptoms of Hypoxia

  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Muscle and mental fatigue
  • Headache
  • Air Hunger
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Euphoria
  • Tingling
  • Visual Impairment

It is important to remember that one does not have to experience all the signs and symptoms listed above. They do not always occur in the order given either. The symptoms depend on the severity of the disease and how fast it progresses. For instance, when hypoxia occurs rapidly or is severe, the symptoms are coma, seizure, a change in consciousness levels, priapism and death could occur eventually. Whereas in altitude sickness when hypoxia occurs gradually the symptoms include nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches, and a euphoric feeling as well.

  • Hypoxic hypoxia - this occurs when there is defective oxygenation of the blood present in the lungs
  • Stagnant hypoxia or ischemic hypoxia - this is due to slow peripheral circulation and can occur after congestive heart failure
  • Anemic hypoxia - A lesser concentration of hemoglobin gives rise to this kind of hypoxia
  • Anoxia - This is when there is no oxygen in the tissues or arterial blood or in inspired gases. This is also known as severe hypoxia.
  • Altitude sickness - This is the result of less oxygen in the tissue and blood at high altitudes. The effects are due to this reason.
  • Asphyxiation, suffocation - This occurs when breathing stops due to oxygen deprivation.

There are several ways of treating hypoxia but they depend on the severity of the disease. It is vital to start treatment once hypoxia has been diagnosed as the disease escalates rapidly. Equipment is not always needed to deal with it. Essential life saving methods need to be carried out at times. The breathing rate must be kept stable always. Intravenous fluids could be administered to treat the condition. One could also administer medicines that are used to prevent blood pressure from rising and strokes

Submitted by N on April 7, 2010 at 02:52

Read more questions in Medical Tests