Identify These Warning Signs Of Hypoxia

Posted on: 21 July 2023

If you have a family member or friend who has heart or lung issues, it's important to be aware of changes in their health that could be life threatening. Many people with these issues can develop hypoxia, which is a condition in which the body's tissues aren't receiving enough oxygenated blood. Hypoxia is a serious condition, and ignoring it or failing to react properly to it can severely jeopardize the person's health. If you notice these indicators of hypoxia in someone you know, they need to visit an emergency room right away.

Fast Breathing And Heart Rate

It's common for a case of hypoxia to cause the person to breathe quickly and have an accelerated heart rate. You might notice that the person seems out of breath and is obviously breathing quickly. Ask them if they know why this is the case. Perhaps they've just run up the stairs and are temporarily out of breath, but it's also possible that they could be dealing with hypoxia. If they complain that they feel as though their heart is racing, and you touch their wrist and notice a significantly accelerated pulse, these can be hypoxia warning signs.

State Of Confusion

Hypoxia can also cause someone to be in a state of confusion. You might notice that they're saying things that don't make sense, losing their train of thought when they speak, or struggling to answer simple questions. Often, this state can be alarming to the person with hypoxia and those around them, particularly if this situation has not occurred in the past. It's important to stay calm, understand that a state of confusion is a common warning sign of hypoxia, and arrange emergency care.


People who develop hypoxia will often act in an agitated manner. This is another change in behavior that can be upsetting, particularly if the person tends to usually have a calm demeanor. They may have trouble sitting still, and if someone recommends that they relax because of their fast breathing and heart rate, they may be unable to and may even be unwilling to do so. This isn't a time to get into a conflict with the person because you're confused by this change in behavior. It's important to understand that this change, as well as any of the other changes above, is likely associated with hypoxia. Call 911 or take the person to a local emergency room as quickly as possible.

Contact an emergency care provider to learn more.