Oxygen is essential for human life. However, some humans simply don’t get enough. When low oxygen occurs it’s known as hypoxemia (or hypoxia), a detrimental condition that deprives the bodily tissues, including the brain and other vital organs of what they need to function properly. Hypoxemia most typically occurs due to a sudden injury or an underlying health condition (i.e., COPD, cystic fibrosis, etc.), which unleashes an array of negative side effects. The best treatment for low oxygen is short or long term oxygen therapy, which can deliver oxygen rich gas via an oxygen concentrator volume unit as directed by a doctor.
The tell tale symptoms of low oxygen include the following:
1. Skin color changes
While hypoxemia can present quite differently from patient to patient, the lack of blood oxygen will often cause a change in skin color (known as cyanosis). For instance, some patients notice a subtle bluish tint to the lips, earlobes, or nail beds while others see a visible cherry red color to the skin’s surface.
2. Rapid heart rate
Rapid breathing and an even faster heart beat is also common to those experiencing low oxygen levels. This anxious, racing feeling accompanied often by heart palpitations is usually a sign that your body is working extra hard to get the oxygen it’s lacking.
3. Fatigue or tiredness
Unexplained fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest is often a sign of an underlying health condition. Low oxygen causes fatigue when the lungs are unable to take in adequate oxygen to fuel the bodily cells with energy. Muscle weakness, loss of strength, and stamina will often occur with low oxygen over a longer period of time.
4. Chronic cough
Patients who suffer from chronic cough also tend to have low body oxygen levels. A chronic cough is often the result of low C02 and hyperventilation, which triggers the urge to cough and just further reduces oxygen levels in the body.
Dizzy spells are often a sign that oxygen levels have deceased. Patients may feel sudden lightheadedness come on following exercise or if they standing up from sitting. You may notice black spots in your vision, known as “tracers” due to inadequate oxygen.
6. Chest tightness and shortness of breath
Shortness of breath often accompanied by a tightness in the chest often indicates low oxygen. Any breathing difficulties should be brought to the attention of a medical professional as soon as possible.
In addition to lightheadedness, low oxygen levels will often cause chronic and unexplained headaches in addition to bouts of dizziness, memory loss, and general confusion when the blood doesn’t properly eliminate toxins. This leads to a widening of the blood vessels and the onset of a headache.