Anoxia is a condition in which there is an absence of oxygen supply to an organ’s tissues, leading to cell death. Hypoxia refers to a decrease in oxygen supply rather than a complete absence, and is less severe.
Cerebral hypoxia or anoxia, occurs when there is not enough oxygen available for brain cells to function properly. Your brain cells require large amounts of oxygen, thus they are especially vulnerable to hypoxia and anoxia oxygen deprivation. Without oxygen, brain cells die.
Some of your brain cells will actually start dying within 5 minutes in an anoxic or hypoxic environment. As a result, brain hypoxia can cause severe brain damage rapidly.
There are numerous causes for creating a cerebral, or otherwise,hypoxic and anoxic cellular situations. Some states for causing you chronic/acute hypoxia and acute anoxia:
- heart attack
- sleep apnea
- head trauma
- high altitudes
- cardiac arrest
- drug overdose
- lung diseases
- severe asthma
- whooping cough
- smoke inhalation
- pulmonary edema
- pulmonary embolism
- significant blood loss
- chemical pneumonitis
- overdose of anesthesia
- very low blood pressure
- pulmonary hypertension
- acute pancreatitis ~ rarely
- carbon monoxide poisoning
- obesity hypoventilation syndrome
- inhalant abuse ~ displaces air in your lungs
The symptoms of cerebral brain hypoxia and anoxia vary according to which regions of your brain are affected. In mild cases, hypoxia causes only:
- memory loss
- poor judgment
- uncoordinated movement
Severe cases of anoxia result in a state of complete unawareness and unresponsiveness, or coma. Only blood pressure and heart function are maintained. If this persists, brain death is inevitable.
In brain death, there is no measurable activity in the brain. But blood pressure and heart function are preserved. A coma may be reversible with varying levels of healthy function return.
When hypoxia lasts for long periods, it can cause:
Knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be very helpful.