What Are the Symptoms of Low Oxygen?

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Symptoms of low oxygen levels in the blood include rapid breathing, fast heart rate, confusion, shortness of breath and changes in the skin color, which can range from blue to cherry red, according to WebMD. Body tissues require a certain amount of oxygen for the body to function properly, notes Mayo Clinic.

Low oxygen in the blood, called hypoxemia, is a common cause of hypoxia, a condition in which an insufficient amount of oxygen reaches the body tissues, states WebMD. Patients with symptoms of hypoxemia need to see a doctor to check their oxygen levels.

Asthma is a common cause of a drop in oxygen levels in the blood, causing the airways to narrow, preventing the lungs from receiving enough oxygen. Other causes include heart problems, cyanide poisoning, a low red blood cell count and lung diseases such as pulmonary edema, emphysema, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Coughing uses oxygen, causing the symptoms to worsen, details WebMD.

Brain injury and carbon monoxide poisoning are common causes of a drop in oxygen levels in the brain, and they cause adverse effects because brain cells require an uninterrupted flow of oxygen for their functions. Typical signs of brain hypoxia include coma, seizures, a reduced ability to move the body and temporary memory loss, details Healthline.