Oxygen deprivation injuries in Michigan typically fall into one of two categories: anoxia or hypoxia. Though their names sound similar, they are slightly different from one another. According to the Shepherd Center, anoxia occurs when the brain is not getting any oxygen at all, while hypoxia results from an oxygen supply to the brain that is insufficient.
There are several types of anoxia, each with slightly different causes. When anoxia occurs, it is important to work fast to help the patient. After approximately four minutes of complete oxygen deprivation, brain cells start to die.
Healthline explains that this type of anoxia can occur because something prevents the lungs from functioning properly. This may be due to a chronic lung disease like COPD, or it can occur due to drowning, suffocation or choking in which something disrupts the flow of air.
Anoxic anoxia can also occur when there is not enough oxygen in the environment to breathe. This may happen to mountain climbers at high altitudes where the air is thinner.
Some chemicals or toxins affect the blood, making it less effective at transporting oxygen throughout the body. When the body takes in these chemicals or toxins, toxic anoxia results. One of the most common types of toxic anoxia is carbon monoxide poisoning.
Sometimes there is enough air in the atmosphere to breathe and the lungs are functioning normally but the blood does not have enough hemoglobin to transport oxygen to body tissues. The term for this is anemic anoxia.
The most common cause of stagnant anoxia is a cardiovascular event, like a stroke or a heart attack. Events such as these prevent the blood from traveling to the area of the body that needs it. Another term for stagnant anoxia is hypoxic-ischemic injury.
The first step in treating anoxia is often putting the patient on a respirator or performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. These efforts may help to restore normal oxygen levels.