Health Care

Hypoxemia (Low Blood Oxygen) Symptoms

By Malvika Kashyap

June 6, 2022

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When your blood oxygen levels are low, you have hypoxemia.  The organs and tissues of your body don't get enough oxygen to function correctly when this happens.

Hypoxemia is most commonly caused by a problem with gas exchange in the lungs, although it can also be caused by other factors.

For an arterial blood gas test, values between 75 and 100 mm Hg are considered normal. Hypoxemia is defined as a drop in blood pressure below 75 millimetres of mercury.

Its symptoms include shortness of breath, rapid breathing,  rapid heartbeat, coughing or wheezing, headache, confusion or disorientation, and a blue colour of the skin, lips, or fingernails.

In babies with congenital cardiac abnormalities or illness, hypoxemia can occur. In fact, infants are screened for congenital cardiac abnormalities by monitoring oxygen levels in their blood.

Your doctor will undertake a physical examination during which they will assess your heart and lungs to determine hypoxemia.  They may also examine your skin, fingernails, and lips for colour.


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