Anoxia arises if the brain or body is fully deprived of oxygen supply. The condition is usually due to hypoxia where a region of the body does not receive adequate oxygen. If the body is impaired from insufficient oxygen, it is known as hypoxic-anoxic injury.
Remember that anoxia can be detrimental to the brain. In just 4-5 minutes without oxygen, the brain is permanently impaired. Without oxygen, the brain cells die and most of the functions controlled by the brain are affected. If the lack of oxygen continues, the more likely for lasting complications including death to occur.
What are the indications?
The indications of anoxia might not be evident initially. The brain can last for only a few minutes without oxygen prior the manifestation of the symptoms. At certain times, the symptoms might be delayed and can take several days or weeks to arise.
Initially, the evident signs of anoxia might include:
- Memory loss
- Changes to mood and personality
- Changes in judgement
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty walking or moving the legs or arms normally
- Difficulty with concentration
- Feeling dizzy or disoriented
- Unusual headaches
The other signs might become noticeable once the brain has been deprived of oxygen for more than 4-5 minutes such as:
- Passing out or abrupt loss of consciousness
Management of anoxia
The treatment for anoxia is based on the length of time the brain or other parts of the body has been deprived of oxygen.
In case the brain does not receive adequate oxygen for a few minutes or more, some mental and physical functions might weaken. Essentially, the doctor will try to restore the oxygen levels in the brain and body to normal using cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or putting him/her under a ventilator to supply enough oxygen.
The doctor will also treat other symptoms such as seizures to prevent disrupting with the recovery. If prompt care was started, the possibility of complications from occurring or ending up with lasting symptoms is lessened.
In case a heart condition is responsible for anoxia, the doctor will manage these conditions or refer the individual to a specialist for further treatment. Remember that the loss of oxygen supply to the brain can result to lasting damage or even loss of ability to talk, walk or perform basic functions.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on anoxia is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs of this condition by taking a standard first aid course with Mississauga First Aid.