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How Many Minutes Without Oxygen Can Permanent Brain Damage Occur
Anoxia occurs when a person’s body or brain stops getting oxygen. The loss of oxygen to the body or brain can be extremely harmful and even life-threatening.In this article, we look at the most common causes and symptoms of anoxia, as well as how the effects of anoxia are treated.Anoxia is an extreme form of hypoxia. Hypoxia occurs when one part of a person’s body, such as the brain, can only obtain a reduced amount of oxygen. Anoxia occurs when the body does not get any oxygen. This may result in a hypoxic-anoxic injury.A lack of oxygen can cause severe damage or even death, so anyone who suspects they may have hypoxia should seek medical attention immediately.It only takes around 4 minutes without oxygen for the brain to become permanently damaged.A lack of oxygen in the brain causes brain cells to die and can increase the likelihood of brain damage or death.Signs and symptoms following mild anoxia include:mood swings or changes in personality or judgmentdifficulty speaking, slurred speech, or forgetting wordsweaknessfeeling dizzy or disorientatedan inability to concentratememory lossa headachedifficulty walkingproblems with coordinationThe longer a person is without oxygen, the more apparent the symptoms will become. Experiencing anoxia for several minutes can cause:loss of consciousnesscollapsing or passing outseizureshallucinationsIt is important to note that the symptoms of anoxia may not be immediately apparent because the brain can compensate for diminished oxygen for a few minutes before any symptoms appear.The initial symptoms may be mild, or a person may ignore them at first. However, immediate medical attention is vital for cases of anoxia.Some of the different types of anoxia are:Anemic anoxiaAnemic anoxia takes place where there is not enough hemoglobin in a person’s blood, or the hemoglobin present has become ineffective.Hemoglobin carries oxygen around the body via the blood. If the hemoglobin is unable to deliver enough oxygen to the organs, they may eventually stop functioning correctly.Toxic anoxiaToxic anoxia stops the blood from carrying oxygen around the body effectively. It can occur after a person ingests, absorbs, or inhales certain toxins or other harmful chemicals, such as carbon monoxide.Stagnant anoxiaStagnant anoxia happens when a person’s blood does not reach the brain or other parts of the body that require blood to function correctly. This is also known as a hypoxicischemic injury. Cardiovascular problems, such as a stroke or heart failure, are often the cause of stagnant anoxia.Anoxic anoxiaAnoxic anoxia can happen when there is not enough oxygen available to ensure the body functions properly. This may occur if a person is at a high altitude, where there is limited oxygen in the air.Share on PinterestOxygen levels are low at high altitudes, which may cause altitude sickness or anoxia.There are a variety of situations that could lead to anoxia, including:cardiac or respiratory arrestchoking, suffocation, or strangulationa drug overdosecarbon monoxide or smoke inhalationblood loss causing the blood pressure to dropirregular heartbeat or damaged heart muscles being unable to pump enough blood and oxygen to the brainother cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke, or heart failurean acute asthma attacka severe electric shockexposure to certain toxic chemicals and poisoninghigh altitudes where oxygen levels are lownear drowninga reaction to general anesthesiainadequate oxygen supply or cardiac arrest while under general anesthesiapneumonialow hemoglobin levels in the bloodsickle cell anemia or thalassemiaIf a person presents with anoxia symptoms, a doctor is likely to perform several tests to try to determine the cause and give an accurate diagnosis.These tests include:blood testsa magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scana functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scana computed tomography (CT) scan to produce images of the brainan electroencephalogram (EEG) to test a person’s electrical brain activityShare on PinterestPhysical therapy may be required to rehabilitate someone who has experienced anoxia.The types of treatment available will depend on the cause of anoxia and how long the person was deprived of oxygen.The priority for a doctor will be to try and get a person’s oxygen levels back to normal. This could include performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or using a ventilator to help increase a person’s oxygen levels.The faster a person receives treatment, and the sooner oxygen levels can return to normal, the better a person’s chances are of making a full recovery. Immediate treatment can also reduce the likelihood of further complications.Treatment for complications of anoxia may include:physical therapy to help a person regain control over their motor functionsspeech therapy to help a person recover the ability to speak or swallowcounseling or psychotherapy to help adjust to any life changesoccupational therapy to help a person adapt to new routinesrecreational therapy can help a person stay involved in the community and continue to learn new thingsTreatment may take place at a rehabilitation center that specializes in helping people with brain injuries recover, cope, and adjust to new routines.The effectiveness of any treatment for anoxia is dependent on a variety of factors, including:agehow long the brain was deprived of oxygenthe presence and length of a comaYounger people tend to recover faster than those over the age of 50. Good improvement and progress during the first month of treatment may suggest a more favorable outcome, but it can be over a year before it is possible to determine how a person will recover.Hypoxic-anoxic brain injuries are very serious and can cause severe and permanent damage.Being aware of the symptoms of hypoxia and anoxia and seeking immediate medical care is crucial. A quick medical response can help reduce complications and determine the speed and success of recovery.While some people make a complete recovery, there are many treatment options for those who need support after a brain injury to help them rehabilitate, including physical, mental, and occupational therapy.
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