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What happens if a person's oxygen level is below average?

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Quick Answer

When a person's oxygen level is below average, he could succumb to hypoxia or hypoxemia, says WebMD. The latter consists of low oxygen in the blood and can lead to the former, which is low oxygen in the tissues and organs of the body. Such a condition can lead to damage of these tissues and can be extremely harmful to organs such as the brain or liver. Both conditions are sometimes referred to as hypoxia.

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Full Answer

Hypoxia causes a range of symptoms, reports WebMD. Among these, the following are most common: the skin can change color and turn from shades of blue to cherry red; the person experiences disorientation, shortness of breath and sweating; and the heart rate increases. If an individual suspects there is a lack of oxygen in his blood, he should consult a health care professional immediately.

Treatment for low oxygen in the blood involves immediately restoring oxygen to crucial parts of the body, explains WebMD. During an incident of hypoxia, the airwaves are restricted, decreasing oxygen intake. Most patients simply need their normal levels restored through either an oxygen tank or intravenous medication. Steroids shrink inflammation of the lungs if that is the factor inhibiting oxygen intake capacity.

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