As humans, we need oxygen to breathe. Too much oxygen can also cause a problem, but what happens to you when you don’t have enough oxygen in your body? Hypoxemia, in medical terms, occurs when your body lacks the correct amount of oxygen in order to function properly. Think you or someone you know might be showing symptoms of hypoxemia? Read on to find out.
Shortness of Breath
If you do not have enough oxygen in your blood, this could be one of the first symptoms to appear. When you do not have enough oxygen in your body, it can make it hard to breathe, which leads to shortness of breath. Dr. Steven Wahls tells Medical News Today, the most common causes of dyspnea (shortness of breath) are asthma, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Shortness of breath can also occur in those who have anxiety or those who are stressed.
When an adequate amount of oxygen does not flow to your brain, it can cause you to become dizzy and possibly disoriented. People who have been diagnosed with hypoxemia may find that they are constantly dizzy since the red blood cells in the body are not carrying as much oxygen as normal. Lack of oxygen is often found in those who have anemia.
It can be pretty confusing and disorienting when sudden symptoms of dizziness, shortness of breath and rapid heart rates suddenly pop out of nowhere. When you do not have enough oxygen in the brain you may not be able to think clearly. Inogen.com states “As hypoxemia progresses, so will the confusion.”
Restlessness and not being able to concentrate (along with anxiety) may be a sign that you do not have enough oxygen in the body. It may be difficult to rest, relax or concentrate, and can eventually progress to agitation, as found in a 2015 textbook titled Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Care.
Rapid Heart Rate
Your heart may be working overtime to compensate for the low levels of oxygen, Inogen writes. Live Science states that the responsibility of the heart is to pump blood throughout the body as well as supplying oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from the body. When your body alerts itself that it does not have a lot of oxygen, your heart will work overtime to try and dish out more oxygen to stabilize the body.