Brain hypoxia occurs when the brain has been deprived of oxygen to a point where the brain cells may either be damaged or destroyed altogether. Lack of oxygen to the brain is a major contributor to brain injury, and sometimes leads to debilitating brain damage or death. Your brain needs a constant uninterrupted flow of oxygen to remain healthy. See Healthline. When deprived of oxygen, even for a relatively short period of time, brain damage can occur. Your brain cells begin to die off after about 1 minute without oxygen. After 3 minutes, the brain may be seriously injured, and after 10 to 15 minutes, recovery is very unlikely.
Common Causes of Brain Hypoxia
Some well known causes of brain hypoxia are drowning, choking; suffocation due to the inhalation of carbon monoxide or smoke; the period suffered during a cardiac arrest.
Some medical conditions may also cause brain hypoxia due to inherent breathing difficulties such as asthma; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); pneumonia; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) or bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in premature babies; and cystic fibrosis. (See NHLBI) These conditions will require ongoing medical attention, and must be monitored very closely by your physician. With the exception of pneumonia, these conditions are lifelong illness, not curable, and may be terminal with respect to the life expectancy of the person afflicted with the disease.
Some brain injuries are caused by conditions that are within our control, such as the brain hypoxia caused by our involvement in high impact sports like boxing, football and hockey. These sports, by their very nature are not without certain risks for brain injuries. Swimming, although considered a sport not likely to result in a brain injury, can cause brain hypoxia because the swimmer must hold his or her breath underwater for long periods of time.
Look for auto accidents to be high on the list of events that lead to brain hypoxia when the injured person’s head is impacted during the accident. For senior citizens, slips and falls are a major culprit for brain hypoxia leading to brain damage in this ever growing segment of our society.
Symptoms of Brain Hypoxia
Brain hypoxia symptoms range from mild to severe. There are mild symptoms of brain hypoxia, such as a temporary memory loss or difficulty in paying attention, problems making decisions, or difficulty in body movement. More severe symptoms may include seizures, comas, difficulty in breathing, and possibly death.
If you feel you have suffered an event that may have caused brain hypoxia, it is very important that you seek medical help immediately. Sometimes early diagnosis and treatment can mean the difference between healing without long term side effects or prolonged suffering because the injury was not caught and treated in time.
To consult with an experienced brain injury attorney on this issue, or if you or a loved one is suffering from a brain injury or a brain trauma due to the actions of another, contact Levin & Perconti at (312) 332-2872 for a free consultation.