Oxygen is the most important gaseous constituent in the atmosphere. Animals, plants and human beings can survive only in the presence of oxygen. Human beings inhale oxygen and exhale carbon-dioxide. The main source of oxygen in the atmosphere are plants and trees. Oxygen in our body helps in the process of generating energy in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate, or ATP. This energy reaches every single cell of the body and helps in its survival. This reflects that the lack of oxygen content in the body can be very dangerous. Oxygen deficiency in the body can also be referred as hypoxia.
Oxygen is transported to various parts of the body with the help of blood. Hemoglobin is the oxygen carrier in blood. Hypoxia can be divided into five types namely hypoxic, histotoxic, anemic, stagnant and hypemic. Hypoxic is related to the oxygen deficiency in the entire body. This may be caused due to high altitude, improper ventilation, sleep apnea, etc.
Histotoxic hypoxia is associated with the cells inability to utilize the oxygen provided by the blood. Anemic hypoxia is the lack of oxygenated blood content. Stagnant hypoxia is when there is some kind of obstruction in the flow of blood which hinders the blood to reach the related parts of the body. Hypemic hypoxia is caused due to the inability of the blood to transport oxygen to different parts of the body which is usually caused due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
There are many causes of low oxygen content in the body. The major concern is how to avoid these causes. But before moving to the symptoms and the treatments, following are some of the causes of hypoxia.
- High altitude is one of the most prominent causes of low oxygen in the body.
- Sleep apnea is also a cause of low oxygen level. People with sleep apnea need to take proper measures to overcome it, like the usage of CPAP machines, etc.
- Obstruction in the airways which may include compression of windpipe.
- Any type of chemical poisoning or the intake of poisonous gases may lead to low oxygen level. Sulfur dioxide poisoning, metal poisoning and carbon monoxide poisoning are some of them.
- Pollution can also contribute to the low amount of oxygen content in the body to a great extend.
- Diseases related to lungs, heart, respiratory tract etc. may also cause oxygen deficiency in the body. Heart diseases are the major cause behind oxygen deficiency at birth.
- Injuries may sometime restrict the flow of blood in some parts of the body which in turn may lower the oxygen content in that part.
- Sometimes complications in general anesthesia may also result in hypoxia.
- Anemia can also lead to insufficient supply of oxygen.
- Poor ventilation in the house or workplace can also be a cause of oxygen deficiency.
Hypoxia symptoms can sometimes become fatal and may even result in death. These symptoms if noticed in time can be very helpful for the treatment of oxygen deficiency. Following are some of the symptoms which can help you get the cause treated on time.
- Decolorization of the skin or nail
- Shortness of breath
- Headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue etc.
- Oxygen deficiency in the brain may cause loss of memory, impaired coordination, inability to pay attention, etc.
- In sever cases the patient may slip to coma.
The treatment for low oxygen totally depends upon its cause. As soon as the cause is diagnosed it is very important to start with the correct treatment. Oxygen therapy is recommended in many hypoxia cases. CPAP machine is considered to be very helpful for people who are affected with sleep apnea. If the problem is related to the blood then blood transfusion and purification methods are useful. Proper ventilation and fresh air is always the best way to overcome the problems related of oxygen deficiency in the body.
If you observe any symptoms related to oxygen deficiency, then consult a doctor immediately. Delayed treatment may even result in death or may cause irreversible damage to the body. So, take care of yourself and get this condition treated as soon as possible to avoid further complications.