Hypoxemia

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Hypoxemia is an abnormally low level of oxygen in the blood. Its often caused by respiratory disorders. Dr. Edward Hill discusses hypoxemia in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Hypoxemia is a below-normal level of oxygen in your blood, specifically in the arteries. Hypoxemia is a sign of a problem related to breathing or circulation, and may result in various symptoms, such as shortness of breath.

Hypoxemia is determined by measuring the oxygen level in a blood sample taken from an artery. It can also be estimated by using a pulse oximeter.

Normal arterial oxygen is approximately 75 to 100 millimeters of mercury. Values under 60 usually indicate the need for supplemental oxygen. Normal pulse oximeter readings usually range from 95 to 100 percent. Values under 90 are considered low.

When your blood oxygen falls below a certain level, you might experience shortness of breath, headache, and confusion or restlessness.

See your doctor as soon as possible if you have:

Shortness of breath after slight exertion or when youre at rest

Shortness of breath that gets worse when you are physically active

Abrupt awakenings with shortness of breath or a feeling that youre choking these may be symptoms of sleep apnea

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.