The main symptoms of oxygen deprivation include change in attention, uncoordinated movements, poor judgement, fast heart rate, cough, changes in the color of the skin, complete unresponsiveness, no response of the eye pupils to light and no breathing. Brain cell death occurs less than 5 minutes after the oxygen supply disappears, which may result in severe brain damage and even death.
Oxygen deprivation is a condition also known as hypoxia; it occurs when the brain no longer receives enough oxygen. Some of the causes of oxygen deprivation include smoke inhalation, choking, carbon monoxide poisoning, high altitudes, pressure on the trachea and strangulation. Mild cerebral hypoxia has symptoms that are not extremely visible and the brain may continue to function. In case of severe cerebral hypoxia, the brain stops functioning and the person is no longer responsive. Oxygen deprivation is an emergency condition and it needs immediate attention. The cause of hypoxia determines the type of treatment required. This often includes breathing assistance and oxygen, medications to calm seizures and controlling the heart rate and rhythm. Possible complications include the loss of consciousness for various periods of time, which may sometimes lead to a prolonged vegetative state, clots in the veins and lung infections. As hypoxia is usually unexpected, there is little to be done for prevention.