Hypoxemia means that you don't have enough oxygen in your blood. It's a result of diseases that affect your heart or lungs. These include heart failure, COPD, and pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs). Being at high altitudes can also lead to hypoxemia.
Oxygen gets into your blood through your lungs. Your blood carries the oxygen to all parts of your body. When you have too little oxygen in your blood, your body doesn't get enough of it. With too little oxygen, your heart and other parts of your body don't work very well.
In addition to the symptoms of whatever is causing your hypoxemia, you may:
Your doctor will do tests to find out how much oxygen is in your blood. He or she will look for the cause of your hypoxemia and treat that problem. For example, if you have heart failure, you may need medicines that help your heart pump better.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: March 25, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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