Exhale

The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Oxygen and Brain Damage

16 Mar 2015
| Under Lung Disease, Medical, Oxygen Levels | Posted by
| 6 Comments
Oxygen and Brain Damage

Oxygen is essential to a properly functioning body. In fact, the brain requires a constant supply of glucose and oxygen. However, if you have a chronic lung disease such as emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or COPD, having enough blood oxygen can be challenging. Lack of oxygen to the brain can cause brain damage in minutes. When the brain does not receive enough oxygen, cerebral hypoxia can occur. Here’s what you need to know to help you better understand the risks of low oxygen and brain damage.

What is cerebral hypoxia?

Also known as brain hypoxia, cerebral hypoxia is a serious medical condition. The symptoms of cerebral hypoxia can be mild to severe and include poor judgment, decline in cognition, uncoordinated movement, pupils that do not react to light, respiratory failure and complete unawareness and unresponsiveness.

Cerebral hypoxia requires immediate emergency treatment to return the flow of oxygen to the brain. If you suspect cerebral hypoxia, call 911.

What are the risks and causes of low oxygen and brain damage?

The brain uses about 25 percent of your oxygen intake, so avoiding low oxygen and brain damage is important. Because cerebral hypoxia can occur from a lack of oxygen to the brain, it’s important to supply your brain with enough oxygen. Cerebral hypoxia can be caused by smoke inhalation, carbon monoxide poisoning, choking, cardiac arrest, drowning, stroke and other conditions.

Breathing and blood flow to the brain.

Oxygen and Brain Damage

Every time you breathe, gases exchange in your lungs. Beginning with the nose and mouth, the respiratory system is made up of organs and tissues that allow people to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. The airways are the pipes that carry oxygenated air into the lungs and carbon dioxide out. Inside the airways are tiny hairs called cilia, which are coated with sticky mucus to trap germs and other foreign particles to prevent them from entering the airways.

The lungs are linked to blood vessels that deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. The bronchi inside the lungs branch into smaller, thinner tubes called bronchioles, and these tubes end in bunches of tiny round air sacs or alveoli. The alveoli are covered in capillaries. Once inside the air sacs, carbon dioxide moves from the blood and into the air to be exhaled, and oxygen moves from inhaled air into the capillaries. Now, oxygen-rich blood travels to the heart through the pulmonary vein and its branches and on to the rest of the body.

When you have a chronic lung disease, what happens to the oxygen?

Your lungs must inhale oxygen-rich air and exhale carbon dioxide effectively in order for you to receive enough oxygen. The circulatory system moves blood through the lungs where oxygen is absorbed and carried throughout the body. People with chronic lung disease may have trouble breathing, and therefore, absorbing enough oxygen. One of the common symptoms of lung disease is low blood oxygen levels. When your blood oxygen falls below a certain level, the result is called hypoxemia. The symptoms of hypoxemia include extreme shortness of breath, headache, confusion and restlessness.

How can I improve my oxygen levels?

Oxygen and Brain Damage

While there isn’t a cure for chronic lung disease, there are ways you can help your lungs and your body feel better as well as avoid low oxygen and brain damage. Many physicians prescribe supplemental oxygen for people with lung disease. You can monitor your blood oxygen levels with pulse oximeters as well. For some people, pulmonary rehabilitation is helpful in improving lung function. Pulmonary rehab combines exercise, education and support to help people breathe and function at the highest level possible.

Eating foods that are rich in oxygen and consuming enough vitamins and minerals are other ways to increase your oxygen. Gentle forms of exercise like yoga, walking and Tai Chi, as well as relaxation and deep breathing techniques, can help improve your oxygen levels, too.

For some people, cellular therapy has helped them breathe easier by promoting the healing of lung tissue from within the body. Many patients report improved lung function and are able to come off their supplemental oxygen after treatment. We hope you’ve gained more knowledge about oxygen and brain damage to help you stay informed. We’re happy to answer your questions regarding cellular therapy options. If you or a loved one has a chronic lung disease like COPD or pulmonary fibrosis and would like more information, contact us at 888-745-6697.

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months of COPD patients.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.