• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Hypoxia – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Oxygen is an essential element for the sound functioning of the various organs of your body. Lowers levels of oxygen can put you at risk of several life-threatening health conditions. That is why it is generally recommended to keep your house well ventilated by using various types of hypoxia like house ventilation options, opening the window at night, and spending more time amid nature.

In medical terminology, hypoxia means low oxygen. The condition occurs when sufficient quantities of oxygen are unable to reach the tissues of your body. People are often confused between hypoxia vs hypoxemia. Whereas hypoxia refers to a lack of oxygen supply to your organs’ various tissues, hypoxemia refers to a general low level of oxygen present in your blood.

There are different types of hypoxia, like anemic hypoxia, circulatory hypoxia, and histotoxic hypoxia. Each comes with its own set of complications.

What Causes Hypoxia?

anemia health hypoxia

A woman with a hand on head, Credits: Pixabay


Hypoxia can be caused due to various factors. It can be due to underlying medical conditions like asthma and heart diseases. On the other hand, it can develop due to certain non-medical reasons.

  1. Lung conditions

  2. Heart conditions

  3. High altitude sickness

  4. Anemia

  5. Hypoventilation

1.  Lung Conditions

oxygen lungs hypoxia

An image of lungs, Credits: Pixabay


Illnesses like asthma, pneumonia, lung cancer can make it difficult for the lungs to receive oxygen. It can make it difficult for the person to breathe.

2.  Heart Conditions

heart disease hypoxia

A man with a hand on chest, Credits: Pixabay


Heart conditions like Edema, which results in tissue swelling due to heart failure can cause hypoxia by restricting the amount of oxygen flow to the organ. Clots in arteries due to heart attacks can also limit the supply of blood that contains oxygen to the tissues.

3.  High Altitude Sickness

oxygen altitude hypoxia

A person wearing an oxygen mask at a high altitude, Credits: Pixabay


At high altitudes, it becomes very difficult for your tissues to receive adequate oxygen. Hence altitude sickness can make you prone to types of hypoxia. That is why flights over 10,000 feet are recommended supplemental oxygen.

4.  Anemia

anemia hypoxia

A woman with hand on head, Credits: Pixabay


Low levels of haemoglobin during anemia negatively affect the ability of blood to carry oxygen. It results in a reduced oxygen supply to the various tissues.

5.  Hypoventilation

oxygen hypoxia

Oral oxygen administration, Credits: Pixabay


Hypoventilation can occur in various ways. Sometimes the brain forgets to order the lungs to breathe, for example, in the case of a stroke or anesthesia. Other times airway obstruction makes it difficult for you to breathe. It can also happen if you’re drowning or suffering from cardiac arrest.

What are the Symptoms of Hypoxia?

Symptoms vary greatly, but the most common ones include:

  1. Skin changes color from blue to red.

  2. Dizziness and difficulty in breathing.

  3. Confusion and restlessness.

  4. Low heart rating

  5. Sweating and wheezing

Can Hypoxia Be Treated?

oxygen treatment hypoxia

A woman wearing oxygen mask, Credits: Pixabay


As mentioned before, hypoxia can be caused due to a wide variety of non-medical issues. It involves different types of treatment. But the first line of treatment always involves administering more oxygen to the patient so that they can breathe naturally. Alternately, medicine, or drugs are also given by the doctor to bring back the oxygen levels. Mechanical ventilation is used for severe cases.

The condition types of hypoxia makes us realize the importance of fresh air and oxygen for our body. Anyone who has suffered from it or is susceptible to developing it should ensure that they have well-ventilated surroundings. You can open the window while sleeping at night and try sleeping with the window open with a baby if you have one to ensure that fresh air and oxygen is always circulating in your room.

Additionally, eating a well-balanced diet and engaging in light physical activity daily will also go a long way in helping you to stay protected from hypoxia.

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