Hypoxia Definition Manifestations Causes
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101- Hypoxia Definition Manifestations Causes Treatment Hypoxia Hypoxemia

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Hypoxia Definition Manifestations Causes

Treatment of Hypoxia Hypoxemia How to treat hypoxemia? Better understand the lack of oxygen and how to fight against hypoxemia

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By Ezekiel Honvou

Oxygen in the Living: Hypoxia Definition Manifestations Causes

No life without oxygen. You live because you breathe. Man, animals and plants must breathe in order to live. Breathing is bringing oxygen to your body through inspiration. Indeed, oxygen (O2 molecule in chemistry) is brought to the body via the air we breathe. Once in the lungs, it passes into the bloodstream and attaches to red blood cells (in particular: to hemoglobin) in order to be transported throughout the body. Cells and tissues need oxygen to live and to purify themselves.

The oxygen is thus delivered to the muscles, the brain, the heart. The oxygen-depleted blood then returns to the lungs, and then carbon dioxide (CO2) is expelled from the body through exhalation. Breathing is a process of life. We breathe in the O2 and we breathe out the CO2

Definition Treatment Hypoxia Hypoxemia

We speak of hypoxia when the amount of oxygen supplied to organs and muscles by the blood is insufficient.

What are the causes of hypoxia?

There are 3 main causes of hypoxia:

An insufficient level of oxygen in the air (for example: in the event of high altitude): this is an intake hypoxia,
Respiratory failure (for example: in case of perforation of the lung) affecting the passage of oxygen in the blood,
A lack of oxygen transport by the red blood cells: this is called hypoxemia.

Is Hypoxia serious? Opinion of Doctor Olivier-Jacques Bocrie-Jeantet, general practitioner

Yes if it lasts because the lack of oxygen can kill if it lasts. Indeed, an organ deprived of oxygen is doomed to die quickly within a few minutes of deprivation. In addition, when it is a vital organ like the heart, brain, kidneys, the risk is very high.

There are obviously several stages of hypoxia. The lack of oxygen can have serious consequences when it is the heart or the brain which is deprived of oxygen (for example: in the event of myocardial infarction or cerebrovascular accident): in the absence of catch under load, this can lead to cardiopulmonary arrest, therefore to coma and death, explains Dr. Olivier-Jacques Bocrie-Jeantet, general practitioner. However, there are mild hypoxias: muscle cramps, for example.


Hypoxia: what are the symptoms and treatments?

Hypoxia can in particular be linked to:

  • A myocardial infarction: we also speak of “heart attack”,
  • A cerebrovascular accident (stroke),
  • Chest pain
  • A muscle cramp,
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Heart failure: this disease (which can be acute or chronic) is the heart’s inability to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs,
  • Respiratory failure: this disease (which can also be acute or chronic) is the inability of the respiratory system to absorb enough oxygen (O2) and properly eliminate carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Fatigue, dizziness, pneumonia
  • A blood clot,
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning,
  • Hypotension
  • Severe anemia: the decrease in the number of red blood cells does not allow the organs to obtain sufficient oxygen,
  • Thalassemia: this blood disease (also called “Mediterranean anemia”) is characterized by abnormal hemoglobin. Red blood cells are therefore unable to properly transport oxygen to organs.

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What are the signs of hypoxia? Hypoxia Definition Manifestations Causes

Hypoxia (i.e. insufficient oxygen supply in the body) is characterized by:

increased heart rate: there is heart palpitations or tachycardia,
feeling of suffocation with hyperventilation: the person “seeks his air”,
dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, irritability
Sudden fatigue
cyanotic skin: a bluish coloration of the lips is observed in particular.

Treatment Hypoxia Hypoxemia: Hypoxia in Altitude, Mountain sickness

At altitude, the depletion of oxygen in the air may be responsible for intake hypoxia. We then speak of “mountain sickness”: this pathology manifests itself via headaches, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, unusual weakness, irritability, even (in most severe cases) mental confusion and loss of balance that lead to coma.

Rest assured: “mountain sickness” is extremely rare below an altitude of 2440 meters … Before any performance at altitude (in mountaineering, for example), athletes must also pass a “test of hypoxia resistance “intended to assess their ability to adapt to altitude.

Treatment Hypoxia Hypoxemia: what treatment?

The diagnosis of hypoxia first involves a clinical examination and then a blood test to measure the blood level of oxygen and the blood level of CO2. It test is called a “blood gas”; the sample is taken from the radial artery of the wrist. Oxygen intake is a medical emergency

The management of hypoxia is obviously based on the treatment of the cause (myocardial infarction, stroke, anemia, etc.) then on the administration of oxygen in high doses – via an oxygen mask or a nasal probe, by example.

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