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Hypoxia can be a dangerous condition: know more about it

Patients with low blood oxygen levels may experience symptoms like shortness of breath and chest pain. Shutterstock

Our body functions on adequate oxygen supply. Imagine what if a part of the body doesn't get oxygen. Read on to know more about hypoxia.

Written by Editorial Team |Published : October 7, 2019 4:22 PM IST

Three researchers are recently awarded with Noble prize for their research on Hypoxia. Researchers William G Kaelin, Sir Peter Ratcliffe and Gregg L Semenza get 9m Swedish krona prize in the field of medicine for their work on 'how cells adapt to oxygen availability.' They shared this year's Nobel prize in physiology (or medicine) for discovering how body cells use available oxygen to burn fuel and help it grow and maintain new tissues. William Kaelin Jr at Harvard University, Sir Peter Ratcliffe at Oxford University and the Francis Crick Institute in London, and Gregg Semenza at Johns Hopkins University won the prestigious award.

While this makes the industry grateful for their knowledge and work that can benefit the people greatly, is this condition often discussed? What is Hypoxia and how can it dangerous for the survival? Brain depends on the blood to bring in constant oxygen supply for it to perform its functions efficiently. Any disruption to any part of the body that's responsible for the oxygen supply to the brain can lead to the condition of hypoxia. If the oxygen deprivation continues for long, it may be fatal or result in permanent brain damage. Experts say that people who survive this condition may also face aftermaths for as long as they live. There could be four ways in which this could happen: no blood supply to the brain, low blood supply to the brain, no blood oxygen and low blood oxygen.

Causes of hypoxia

It could happen for various reasons:

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  • Travelling to higher altitudes, specially during poor health. It could instantly drop the oxygen level in body.
  • Strangulation or choking
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning; smoke inhalation
  • Severe cases of Asthma; even some allergies could cause hypoxia
  • Low blood pressure, heart attack or stroke

How to deal with hypoxia

To avoid this condition, make sure you don't get stuck in claustrophobic situation or cramped places. Don't cover your mouth or choke even in a prank. Therefore, make sure to breathe even while exercising, try to not to hyperventilate. Treat diseases like prolonged cough and cold which prevent a person from breathing normally.

However, the it happens to someone in front of you, make sure you call for help immediately. With hypoxia, there's no scope or time to wait or give aid at home. In case, the person falls unconscious or suffer a seizure, you must immediately take him to emergency ward. This can result in hypoxia, and the patient isn't even conscious to know what to be done. Thus, medical intervention is required. Till you wait for the help, place ice cold water on the face and eyes of the patient. Make sure it's there till the medical help arrives and the professional asks you to stop.

Aftermath of hypoxia could be depressing and may take a toll on patient's mental health. Make sure to indulge proper therapy after it. Take proper information from the doctor about it to develop a routine to get back to the normal track of living.

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