Hypoxia can be a dangerous, even life-threatening state for our cells and tissues. To sustain the life we have an absolute and continual need for the oxygen, necessary to produce energy for our cells' survival and reproduction.
Illness often comes as a direct result of inadequate blood supply to our cells where life is actually occurs. Acute oxygen deficit in damaged tissues may promote the hypoxia which is often caused by severe injuries, chronic diseases, insufficient oxygen available to the lungs, some environmental or toxic factors. The different causes of hypoxia usually determine the type of hypoxia.
Systemic oxygen delivery is the product of CaO2, and cardiac output. Even when CaO2, is normal, tissue oxygenation may be inadequate if cardiac function is impaired. The latter is commonly encountered both in the intensive care unit (as with cardiac failure or the application of excessive positive end-expiratory pressure) and in the ambulatory care setting (as with chronic congestive heart failure).260
JBS Haldane is said to have remarked that a lack of oxygen not only stops the machine but also wrecks the machinery. The correctness of this observation is manifestly apparent with acute, severe hypoxia as encountered in cardiopulmonary arrest or severe hypoxemic acute respiratory failure.260
In the 1960s it was shown that a PO2 of at least 18 mm Hg is necessary to sustain mitochondrial function, and to generate adenosine triphosphate, which is essential for all major cellular biochemical functions. Cellular hypoxia may be defined as a state in which convective or diffusive oxygen transport fails to meet the tissue demand for oxygen and when the rate of adenosine triphosphate synthesis becomes limited by the oxygen supply.
Decreases in oxygen supply set in motion adaptive mechanisms designed to maintain cellular activity at a minimum acceptable level; the failure of these mechanisms results in cellular dysfunction and can lead to irreversible cell damage.260 Learn about Aerobic Cellular Respiration...
Hypoxia types are often determined by specific causes of oxygen deprivation in each individual case. Lack of oxygen may occur in specific area of the body such as brain (cerebral hypoxia), sites of non healing wounds, tumors, or it can affect the body in general. Among the common sub types of hypoxia are the following:
Other terms are also used to describe more sub types of oxygen deprivation. Among them are:
If you prefer to learn more about Hypoxia by reading a well written textbook, we recommend a selection of good books... Providing a detail overview of hypoxia, its symptoms and types, the recommended books address the distinctive problems that lack fo oxygen presents to vulnerable organs such as the kidney, liver, heart and brain.
The symptoms of Hypoxia can differ from person to person and can depend on many factors among which are severity of the condition and underlaying cause of hypoxia. Sometimes its even hard to recognize the symptoms. Awareness of hypoxia and its association to the one of the following symptoms is of great importance:
The effects of oxygen deprivation may range from subtle to deadly, particularly in situations where sound judgment, reasoning and physical coordination are required. The awareness of this is especially important among some professionals like aviators. Often, the person affected will not likely notice the symptoms of hypoxia. As the severity of oxygen dificiency increases the symptoms grow worse increasing associated risks.
One manifestation of hypoxia, particularly important to pilots results from the decreasing amounts of oxygen available on ascent in the atmosphere. This deficiency is known as hypoxic hypoxia or altitude hypoxia.
At sea level the percentage composition of the atmosphere remains the same, approximately 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% inert gases. As one takes off and climbs higher in an unpressurized aircraft, an increasingly greater oxygen deficit will be experienced. Reduced atmospheric pressure results in fewer oxygen molecules per volume in the air. This reduced oxygen supply may eventually result in the symptoms of hypoxia.
The body, however, has several adaptation mechanisms. First, the rate and depth of breathing increase in order to deliver more oxygen to the lungs. Then, the pulse rate increases as the heart pumps blood faster in order to increase the delivery of oxygen to the tissues. There is a limit, however, on how far these adaptations can be taken, and eventually, supplemental oxygen will be required to make up for the deficit.
Studies performed at the FAAS Civil Aeromedical Institute, have shown that pilots flying in unpressurized airplanes at altitudes between 8,000 and 12,000 feet without supplemental oxygen, make more procedural errors than pilots who are well oxygenated. Pilots not receiving oxygen at altitude also made more errors on descent and approach because the effects of hypoxia at altitude have residual impact later on - a sort of hypoxia hangover.
Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) significantly increases the oxygen diffusion driving force, thus increasing oxygen availability to tissues. This helps to correct negative effects of hypoxia and restore normal tissue oxygenation.
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