The condition where the brain is unable to receive an essential amount of oxygen is known as brain hypoxia. However, when the oxygen supply to the brain is completely cut off then it is known as brain anoxia. The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen to work effectively so if there is a lack of oxygen then it results in a medical emergency. There are many cases which can result in complete lack of oxygen supply to the brain such as suffocation, stroke, cardiac arrest, choking, carbon monoxide poisoning, brain injuries like concussion, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, overdosage of drugs, pneumonia, respiratory arrest, strangulation, extremely low blood pressure i.e. hypotension or fainting.
Mild symptoms include improper motor functions, memory loss, lack of focus and attention, poor judgment while in severe cases it can lead to seizures, coma or brain death. Brain cells start dying off after 5-6 minutes if there is a complete lack of oxygen. If the brain is completely dead then the brain stops its activity. Te pupils inside the eyes avoid responding to the light or sound and the person is unable to breathe without the life-saving machines. Even if the brain is dead, the heart keeps on pumping the blood to the entire body.
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Complete lack of oxygen supply can be experienced by any of us, but it is more commonly seen in people who play specific sports like scuba diving, boxing, mountain climbing, swimming or football. These sports enthusiasts are engaged in activities where they are at high risk of suffering from head injuries or injury to the windpipe. People suffering from certain medical disorders are also at a high risk of suffering from a lack of oxygen supply to the brain such as ALS, hypotension, heart disorders, asthma, muscle diseases. People working in certain professions are also at high risk of suffering from lack of oxygen to the brain, such as those who are exposed to excess carbon monoxide at the jobs or intense smoke.
The complete lack of oxygen supply to the brain is diagnosed by the doctors through medical history, physical examination and certain tests like brain angiogram, blood tests, CT scan of head, Chest X-ray of lungs, Echocardiogram of heart, ECG for measuring the electrical activity of the heart, EEG for measuring the electrical activity of the brain and MRI of the hand.
Lack of oxygen supply to the brain is a type of medical emergency that needs an immediate treatment protocol. The brain must immediately receive the oxygen supply so that it functions properly and is prevented against complications and brain death. Treatment of brain anoxia varies from person to person but in most cases, basic life support systems are usually needed. A ventilator is usually required for breathing in such patients. Other treatment modalities include blood transfusions, medications, fluids to restore heart rate and blood pressure.
The human brain comprises of 2% of the entire body weight and is the vital organ which consumes most of the oxygen throughout the body. Lack of oxygen supply to the brain for 40-180 seconds can result in loss of consciousness. After one minute the brain cells start dying and after 3 minutes the neurons undergo extensive damage after which the brain suffers from long-term damage. After 5 minutes of lack of oxygen supply, the brain becomes dead. After 15 minutes of lack of oxygen supply, the survival of the person becomes impossible. The inadequate supply of oxygen can cause stroke, swelling and leads to the crushing of the brain from outside. Lack of oxygen supply can cause cerebral hemorrhage leading to internal bleeding in the brain and ultimately death.
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Team Doctor ASKY!