Implications of Low Oxygen

Hypoxemia is condition referring to low oxygen level. For a human body to function well, there is a need for constant flow of enough oxygen in the cells and tissues. People who do not have enough oxygen have difficulty with breathing. However, shortness of breath can be caused by a variety factors and thus, it is best for one to see a doctor who will determine if you have low oxygen.

A basic tool used to determine oxygen amount is the pulse oximeter. This is a common device in hospitals. It is clipped on a patient's finger or on the earlobe. The main work of the device is to measure the saturation of oxygen in the blood. Nonetheless, the device is often used to estimate the amount of oxygen in the blood. A normal pulse reading should be between 95-100 percent. Anything below 90 percent is considered as low.

Causes of low oxygen

A number of things can cause low amounts of oxygen. Some of the common suspects include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, airway obstruction, interstitial lung disease, emphysema, anaemia, shock, sleep apnoea, blood clot in the lungs, and heart conditions.


1. Secondary Polycythemia

Secondary polycythemia can occur when one has low oxygen levels. Due to the low levels, the bone marrow reacts by pumping extra red blood cells into the blood stream in an effort to increase the oxygen level. However, the condition normally leads to headaches, visual problems and fatigue.

2. Pulmo

High altitude is among the many causes that lead to low oxygen level. With such a condition, the right side of the heart is usually forced to work harder leading to pulmonary hypertension. Over time, the muscles used in the pumping of the blood get to weaken due to excess pressure and give way to a condition referred to as cor pulmonale. Fatigue, chest discomfort, swelling of feet and ankles are just some of the signs that come with the condition.

3. Cyanosis

Good skin colour and pigmentation are as a result of enough oxygen in the body. Nonetheless, low levels of oxygen cause skin around the fingernails and mouth to change to a bluish colour. This condition is among the primary symptoms of low oxygen levels.


Oxygen treatment is used when treating the condition. The use of portable oxygen tanks makes it possible for one to receive treatment from home. Other than using portable oxygen tanks, the best way to approach the condition is to treat the underlying cause.


If nothing is done, a person with low oxygen levels can develop fatal cardiac or pulmonary complications that may be life threatening.

There are simple things that you can indulge in that will help you cope with the condition. Exercising is a simple way to cope with the condition. Though you may experience difficulty in breathing at the start, you will have an easy time once you have regular exercises.

You also need to stop smoking and avoid passive smoke, especially if you are diagnosed with a lung condition. Note that second-hand smoke causes more harm.

Clair O'Hara is writing on behalf of Pure O2, specialists in Portable Oxygen.

Article Source: Clair_O'Hara

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