Hypoxemia occurs when the blood does not get enough oxygen. This can lead to another condition known as hypoxia, which means having low oxygen in one’s tissues. And when these 2 medical situations happen, irreversible damage can befall on the body’s organs just within minutes after the symptoms start.
What Causes Hypoxemia?
There are several medical conditions that can lead to the lack of oxygen in the blood, such as in the case of a severe asthma attack. During this condition, the airways narrow, making it more difficult to get oxygen into the lungs. Even the simple act of coughing requires more oxygen, which makes hypoxemia symptoms worse.
Other factors that can cause low oxygen levels in the blood include certain lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia, heart problems, anemia and the intake of strong pain medications that can affect one’s breathing.
Hypoxemia and hypoxia are serious medical issues that need to be addressed and prevented promptly. Thankfully, there are easy ways that you can do to keep the right amount of oxygen in your system:
Watch Out for the Symptoms of Hypozemia
Before anything else, you need to identify the most common hypoxemia symptoms to be able to address it right away. Such symptoms include skin color changes that can range from blue to cherry red, coughing, rapid breathing, shortness of breath, sweating, wheezing, and confusion. In the case of multiple symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention.
Once you arrive in a healthcare facility, your doctor will diagnose hypoxemia by doing a physical assessment. Particularly, he or she may look for subjective cues, such as if the skin, lips, or fingernails have appeared bluish. Then, your healthcare provider will measure oxygen levels through a DS 100a pulse oximeter, which is a painless and noninvasive procedure.
Know your Triggers
For people with asthma, hypoxemia and hypoxia are just around the corner. This is why the best way to prevent the decrease of oxygen in the blood is to steer clear from common asthma triggers. This includes dust mites, pollens, pet dander, molds, and household chemicals.
There are certain ways that you can do to keep your house clear of dust and other allergens as much as possible. An effective tip is to keep your air clean by regularly changing filters on air conditioners and heaters. To stop mold and mildew, installing a dehumidifier in the household can do the trick.
Take your Medications
While the goal of hypoxemia treatment is to raise oxygen levels in the blood, the top priority is to treat the underlying conditions that originally cause hypoxemia. Always make sure to take your medications prescribed by your doctor. These are often given through an inhaler for immediate effect, so make sure to bring your inhaler with you all the time.
If medications don’t work, your doctor may need you to undergo oxygen therapy. To get more oxygen into your system, you’ll have to receive it through a cannula or a small plug in your nose or through a breathing mask that covers the nose and mouth. For most people, this should be an adequate treatment to get your oxygen back to normal levels.
Switch to healthier lifestyle Habits
Returning from treatment, you can take certain steps to prevent hypoxemia from happening again. To maintain healthy blood oxygen levels, you can start practicing deep breathing exercises as well as mild exercise routines like walking or yoga. Of course, you’ll need to pair regular physical activity with eating a healthy diet and drinking lots of water. These steps may be simple, but they can go a long way in the betterment of one’s health.
Don’t wait until hypoxemia gets the best of you. Today is the best time to start taking control over your health by taking these tips.