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Is confusion a symptom of low oxygen level?

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Quick Answer

Confusion is a symptom of low oxygen levels in the body, according to WebMD. Other symptoms can include changes in skin color, coughing, a faster heart rate and sweating. Rapid breathing, shortness of breath and wheezing are also common.

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Full Answer

Low levels of oxygen in the body can cause two distinct complications, notes WebMD. The condition known as hypoxia is a result of low oxygen levels in the tissues of a patient's body. When enough oxygen does not reach body tissue, the blood stream is unable to facilitate the oxygen's transportation. The term "hypoxemia" refers to low oxygen in the blood stream, but medical professionals sometimes use "hypoxia" to describe both conditions.

Treatment of hypoxia and hypoxemia does require a hospital visit, so a medical professional can assess a patient's needs and design a health care plan accordingly. For most people, an oxygen tank that disseminates the necessary oxygen through a small plug in the patient's nose, or through a mask that covers the patient's nose and mouth, is enough to bring oxygen levels up to normal. Other individuals may require an inhaler or asthma medication by mouth to make breathing easier, explains WebMD. If inflammation is present in the lungs, a patient may require steroid drugs for a period of time to improve lung function.

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