Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sleep apnea and hypoxia

Lack of oxygen from sleep apnea can be the cause of many ailments such as high blood pressure, heart disease and vascular disease which could be life threatening. The constant interruption of breathing due to blockage in the back of throat is the culprit, slows down the intake of oxygen. There is also a condition called hypoxic tumors that are caused by the lack of oxygen. According to an article in the San Francisco Gate Dr. Jin Zhou “believes that both hypoxic tumor and sleep apnea may possibly share the same causes, thus need same solutions.”

What is hypoxia?

The condition of hypoxia is when there is a shortage of oxygen going to parts of the body or the whole body itself. (Anoxia is when there isn’t any oxygen). The symptoms of hypoxia are light headedness, nausea, headaches and fatigue among other things. If you are climbing a mountain or doing anything to increase your elevation than you will probably experience some hypoxia. If the ascend is gradual than the symptoms will also be gradual.

Other causes of hypoxia are …

  • Smoke inhalation  
  • Paralysis of throat muscles 
  • Choking 
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning 
  • Pressure on the windpipe

 According to the National Institute of Health treatment should include

• Breathing assistance (mechanical ventilation)

• Controlling the heart rate and rhythm

• Fluids, blood products, or medications to raise blood pressure if it is low

• Medications including phenytoin, phenobarbital, valproic acid, or general anesthetics to calm seizures

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