Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Impact of Low Oxygen Levels in the Human Body

Having low oxygen levels in your blood is a very dangerous situation. Your entire body depends on oxygen to function. This means that if your body is deprived of oxygen every part of your body will be suffer. The outward implications may not look severe, but there could be major damage happening internally. Your vital organs suffer the longer your oxygen levels stay down and if you don't get an adequate supply of oxygen soon you could cause permanent damage to your organs.

A major risk with low oxygen levels is brain damage. The brain, like your other internal organs, requires oxygen to function properly. Without a good supply of oxygen the brain cells start to die causing symptoms such as confusion and memory loss. Severe brain damage caused by low oxygen levels in the body can cause major health problems such as seizures, unconsciousness and may eventually lead to death if not treated in time.

How do you know when you're oxygen deprived? Generally it's not difficult to figure out if you're being oxygen deprived or not. Simple shortness of breath is a very early indicator, but other symptoms include being lightheaded, nauseous, fatigued or getting a headache. Signs of severe low oxygen levels are blue skin, diminishing consciousness and seizures. If you believe you or someone else is severely oxygen deprived get them medical attention immediately and, if available, supply them with oxygen from an oxygen tank.

There are many different reasons that a person would have low oxygen levels in their blood. First, choking, drowning and suffocating are very common and sudden ways to develop severe low oxygen levels in your blood. With the airway clogged, restricted or covered by an object you can no longer take the breaths you need to take. These hazards are sometimes unavoidable, but you should take care when eating your food or swimming. Always chew your food well before swallowing and never put foreign objects in your mouth unless they are absolutely necessary. In addition, make sure you never swim in water that is too deep or choppy for your swimming ability and swim with other strong swimmers whenever possible.

Second, being at high altitudes can cause low oxygen levels. The air is thinner in high altitudes than at sea level which means there is not as much oxygen to breathe. Mountain climbers most likely have experienced low oxygen at some point in their lives because of the high altitudes they climb. Having a sufficient oxygen supply for your climb is important especially for very high mountains.

Finally, sleep apnea, respiratory illnesses and other illnesses can cause low oxygen levels. If you have sleep apnea or another illness which causes breathing problems you should consult your doctor immediately for treatment options and you should invest in an emergency supply of oxygen.

With every breath of fresh air you supply your body with a vital element needed to keep your body functioning properly. As you enjoy a bite of an apple to supply your body with food or enjoy a refreshing sip of water to keep your body hydrated you should remember to take a second to enjoy a deep breath of fresh air to stave off any worries of low oxygen levels.

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