Brain hypoxia, also called cerebral hypoxia, is decreased oxygen in the brain. You are at risk for this condition if you are drowning, choking, suffocating, or in cardiac arrest. Brain injury and carbon monoxide poisoning are other possible causes of brain hypoxia. The condition can be serious because brain cells need an uninterrupted flow of oxygen to function properly.
A variety of medical conditions and events that interrupt or stop the flow of oxygen to your brain can cause hypoxia. Stroke, cardiac arrest, and irregular heartbeats can prevent both oxygen and nutrients from travelling to the brain.
Other possible causes of oxygen depletion include:
You are at risk for brain hypoxia if you are in situations that might cause it. If your job or regular activities are linked to the causes, your risk is greater.
Brain hypoxia symptoms range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms include:
Severe symptoms include:
Brain hypoxia requires immediate treatment to restore the flow of oxygen to your brain. The exact course of treatment depends on the cause and severity of your condition. For a mild case caused by mountain climbing, for example, you would immediately return to a lower altitude. In more severe cases, you need emergency care that places you on a respirator (breathing machine).
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