What is Hypoxia?
Hypoxia is a serious condition that needs immediate medical treatment. This article deals with the causes of hypoxia and the nutritional support that can be given to overcome the complications.
Hypoxia is a very dangerous condition, which mainly occurs when our body does not get the required amount of oxygen. Due to lack of adequate oxygen, our important body organs like brain, liver, kidney get damaged within a few minutes of the start of the symptoms. As blood is not able to carry enough oxygen to the organs, it can cause damage to the organs. This condition is also called as hypoxemia.
Symptoms of Hypoxia
Symptoms of hypoxia vary from person to person. However, the most common symptoms that are seen before a person has hypoxia attack are:
- Change in skin color. The color may be different and may range from blue skin to cherry red skin
- Slow or fast heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive sweating and wheezing
- Excessive cough
What are the Causes of Hypoxia?
The two major causes of hypoxia, at the tissue level, include low blood flow to the tissue or low oxygen content in blood or hypoxemia.1 Reduced oxygen tension can occur at higher altitudes, which can cause hypoxia. Conditions like congenital heart disorders, which cause shunting, too can cause hypoxia.
Other causes of hypoxia include airway obstruction due to impaction of a foreign body or laryngeal edema or pulmonary conditions. One of the common causes of hypoxia in adults and kids is a severe asthma attack. During an asthma attack, the airways become narrow, making it difficult to get enough oxygen into the lungs.
Hypoxia may also occur due to a damaged lung. Various types of lungs disease such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), bronchitis, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, emphysema, etc. are also responsible for hypoxia. Anemia is also one of the major causes of hypoxia. Another important condition that can cause hypoxia is cyanide poisoning, which is a chemical used to make plastic products.
Nutritional Support To Help Overcome the Complications of Hypoxia
It is necessary to know what nutritional support can be given to overcome the complications of hypoxia.
When a person has a hypoxic attack, it is necessary to provide more oxygen to the person to save a life. The best way to meet this is to provide oxygen therapy as soon as possible. Oxygen therapy may include a mechanical device that supplies an adequate amount of oxygen to the lungs of the patient. This oxygen supplementation increases the oxygen level in the blood, thereby reduces the shortness of breath. Some times, oxygen tanks and oxygen concentrators are used in oxygen therapy. The oxygen tank can supply oxygen immediately through the nasal tube to the patient. It actually uses compressed oxygen stored in a portable tank. However, an oxygen concentrator is more useful for people who need oxygen therapy very often.
Additionally, a nutritional supplement can reduce metabolic carbon dioxide in the body and improve the oxygen level of. So, it is recommended to consume foods that help increase the blood oxygen level like meat, fish, citrus fruit and vegetables, salmon, avocados, berries, ripe banana, carrots, garlic, sweet apples, pineapples, watermelon, etc.
Thus, if you observe any type of symptoms of hypoxia, it is advisable to seek medical help, make arrangements for appropriate oxygen supplementation. This is a very serious condition and any negligence or delay can be fatal. Hence, be careful in such a situation and follow a medical expert’s guidance. It is advisable to keep the person away from environmental triggers like air pollution, secondhand smoke, chemical or smoking, and dust.
As the causes of hypoxia are known, it is best to take appropriate precautions in conditions that increase the risk of hypoxia. Timely treatment and adopting the necessary lifestyle changes can make a difference. Nutritional support can be given to overcome complications of hypoxia and also to maintain good health, as a preventive measure.