What is anoxia?
Anoxia is an extreme form of hypoxia (low levels of oxygen in the blood) in which there is a complete lack of oxygen supply to the body as a whole or to a specific organ or tissue region. Anoxia can result from inadequate amounts of oxygen in the air, such as at high altitudes, from an inability of your blood to load and carry oxygen to tissues and organs, from the inability of the heart to pump and distribute the oxygenated blood adequately, or from respiratory failure that prevents the blood from picking up oxygen in the lungs.
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Anoxia can affect any tissue or organ in your body and is always serious. However, cerebral anoxia, or a lack of oxygen supply to the brain, is particularly threatening because brain cells begin to die within several minutes of oxygen deprivation.
Anoxia may occur in anyone, but it is more likely to occur in babies during birth and older people who are at higher risk of heart attacks or strokes.
Symptoms of localized anoxia depend on the part of the body that is affected. Symptoms of generalized anoxia reflect the lack of oxygen to the brain and rapidly progress to unconsciousness and coma.
Anoxia is a serious condition that should always be treated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, are experiencing any of the symptoms of anoxia, such as altered thought processes, dizziness, breathing difficulties, or confusion.
What are the symptoms of anoxia?
Symptoms of anoxia are serious and will begin to appear within minutes. Milder symptoms could indicate a hypoxic event that could lead to anoxia and should be immediately treated in an emergency setting.
Common milder symptoms of anoxiaMost symptoms of anoxia are severe. However, anoxia typically begins with milder symptoms including:
- Bluish colorat... Read more about anoxiasymptoms
What causes anoxia?
Anoxia may be caused by a number of environmental factors or by underlying diseases or conditions.
Environmental factors that cause anoxiaAnoxia may be caused by a lack of oxygen or the presence of other chemicals in the air that affect the ability of your blood to load oxygen. These environmental effects may be caused by factors including:
- Carbon mo... Read more about anoxiacauses
How is anoxia treated?
The treatment of anoxia depends on its severity and the amount of damage to the tissue or organ that experienced the anoxia.