Common causes of hypoxemia include a blocked airway, emphysema, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to Mayo Clinic. Congenital heart disease, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary fibrosis and sleep apnea are also causes of hypoxemia.
Hypoxemia occurs when there is low oxygen in the blood. Common symptoms include changes in skin color, confusion, cough, rapid breathing and a high heart rate, states WebMD. Additional symptoms of hypoxemia include shortness of breath, sweating and wheezing.
Severe symptoms of hypoxemia include the inability to communicate, confusion and possible coma, claims MedicineNet. Doctors diagnose hypoxemia by examination and oxygen monitors, oxygen levels in a blood gas sample, and pulmonary function tests.