Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this blog post are my own that i developed myself with all of my education and training in the medical field, I am not and do not claim to be a doctor, my references are listed at the end of this post. As always this blog is just to share my opinions and is not meant to be taken as official medical advice, check with your doctor before making any medical decision.
Hypoxia defined- Hypoxia is a condition or state in which the supply of oxygen is insufficient for normal life functions; hypoxemia is a condition or state where there is a low arterial oxygen supply — in some publications these terms are used interchangeably.(https://www.medicinenet.com/hypoxia_and_hypoxemia/article.htm)
The supply of oxygen is reduced not sufficient to maintain homeostasis(balance- this is the place we are when everything is working properly and we are healthy, this is the goal to be in homeostasis all the time).
What are the signs and symptoms of hypoxia?
- changes in the color of a persons skin(red, white, blue)
- fast heart rate(tachycardia)
- rapid breathing(tachypnea)
- shortness of breath
- slow heart rate(bradycardia)
If you are experiencing symptoms/ signs of hypoxia you need to get immediate medical attention so not to causes any long-term damage due to the lack or reduced amount of oxygen traveling through your bodt
How is hypoxia treated?
- oxygen therapy, either with a mask or a nasal canula and sometimes medications are needed, if it is anemia causing it blood transfusion may be needed
What are the causes of Hypoxia? How does hypoxia happen?
- Lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, COPD, emphysema, pneumonia, pulmonary edema
- Strong pain medications that block or slow down breathing rate
- Heart problems (congestive heart failure)
- Anemia- RBC’s carry oxygen through the body anemia is lack or absence of blood cells and could be RBCs so if you dont have as many RBCs to carry the oxygen through the body you may experience hypoxia
- Cyanide poisoning
How can you prevent hypoxia?
- eat a balanced diet
- stay active and physically fit
- get plenty of rest
- take prescribed meds properly
- keep a rescue inhaler handy at all times if you are an asthmatic
Now that we know what hypoxia is, what the signs and symptoms of hypoxia are and what causes hypoxia and even how hypoxia is treated lets go over what hypoxia is not.
During this covid-19 pandemic there are some who think that wearing masks will cause a person to develop hypoxia and this is just not a proven fact. I cannot say that if the person suffers from restrictive lung or obstructive lung disease or Congestive heart failure and wears a mask that it would not negatively affect them but for the regular person who does not have any of those pre-existing conditions wearing a protective face covering will not cause that person to get hypoxia there has to be other factors that play into that.
Do not be scared to wear a mask, when you first put a mask on yes it is more difficult to breath and feels like you are suffocating, take a breath and try to breathe through your nose this helps with that feeling, also try putting the mask on at home while sitting in a cool calm room wear the mask for a few minutes while seated then get up and walk around, I know that the more you have the mask on the more you get use to it and are able to tolerate it for longer periods of time.