Hypoxemia is a medical term that refers to below-normal levels of oxygen in the blood. The low blood oxygen levels of hypoxemia can cause hypoxia, which refers to below-normal levels of oxygen in tissue or organs. Hypoxemia is a serious condition. When there is a shortage of oxygen in the body, organs such as the brain and liver can become damaged in a short amount of time.
Hypoxemia can be caused by a lack of oxygen in the air you are breathing (such as at high altitudes), or by an illness that affects your breathing or circulation. Some common causes of hypoxemia include:
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
- Congenital heart defects or disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD)
- Interstitial lung disease
- Medications that depress breathing
- Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
- Pulmonary edema
- Pulmonary embolism
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Sleep apnea
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If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of hypoxemia, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.
Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat hypoxemia.