What is Brain Hypoxia?
Brain hypoxia is the condition in which brain cells aren’t receiving the oxygen they need. This is a deeply serious condition because neurons (nerve cells) need a constant supply of oxygen. Otherwise, problems arise almost instantly, partly because the brain controls pretty much everything in the body.
The disruption of the supply of oxygen can be partial or total. Partial deprivation is called hypoxic while complete deprivation is called anoxic. As one would expect, the less oxygen reaching the brain, the more serious the resulting symptoms and problems are likely to be, and the more difficult brain damage treatment is apt to be.
What Prevents the Brain from Getting Enough Oxygen?
Unfortunately, many things can interfere with the supply of oxygen to the brain, some situational, some resulting from an underlying illness. Potential causes of hypoxia brain damage include the following:
Inhalation of smoke or carbon monoxide
An adverse reaction to anesthesia during surgery
Traveling to heights above 8,000 feet
Traumatic brain injury, often abbreviated as TBI
Severe asthma attacks
Hypotension, which is abnormally low blood pressure
Risk Assessment for Brain Hypoxia
Some people are at greater risk of developing this condition and the problems that result than others. Here are some of the most significant risk factors:
Some sports are more prone to give participants head injuries and thus brain injury. Boxing and football are examples. Mountain climbers and divers who hold their breaths for extended periods may also experience oxygen deprivation.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Brain Hypoxia?
A doctor considers the patient’s medical history, current symptoms, and recent activities. There will almost certainly be a physical examination and tests, and these are likely to include blood tests to determine the amount of oxygen in the blood, an MRI and CT scan to provide images of the interior of the head, an echocardiogram to provide an image of the heart, an electrocardiogram to assess the heart’s electrical activity, and an electroencephalogram (EEG) to check electrical activity in the brain and look for abnormalities. These will help the doctor assess the need for brain damage treatment and other forms of intervention for particular patients.
What Are the Symptoms of Brain Hypoxia?
Milder symptoms include temporary memory loss, attention deficits, reduced mobility, difficulty speaking, visual distortion, and impaired judgment. The most severe symptoms include seizures, coma, and brain death.
How Do Doctors Treat Brain Hypoxia?
The primary objective of treatment is to restore the supply of oxygen to the brain as fast as humanly possible.
Beyond this, hypoxia treatment options depend on the cause, symptoms, and severity of the specific patient’s condition. If, for example, a patient is experiencing trouble breathing at a high altitude, one would get him or her back to a lower altitude quickly. A patient with severe respiratory problems might require a ventilator. Medication to regulate blood rate and control heart rate and/or seizures can also be part of treatment, as can blood products and fluids provided via an intravenous tube.
Medically induced cooling (therapeutic hypothermia) is also a possibility. Proponents of this intervention maintain that it helps protect the brain and speeds recovery by reducing oxygen and energy requirements. It can, however, lead to increased risk of infection and interfere with blood clotting.
Whatever the precise form treatment takes, the sooner the patient receives it, the lower the chance of brain damage.
Prognosis for Recovery
Those recovering from brain hypoxia may experience problems for a significant period of time afterward. Such problems include muscle spasms, amnesia, insomnia, and hallucinations. As noted above, swift intervention is important. People whose brains have suffered oxygen deprivation for 8 hours or longer tend to have a significantly lower prognosis, as do people over 50 years of age.
Brain Hypoxia and Stem Cells
As you’ve surely gathered from the above information, brain injury resulting from brain hypoxia is a profoundly serious matter. Currently, neuroscience offers no completely effective brain damage cure. Additionally, treatment can often be complex, expensive, and impose a considerable burden on family, friends, and caregivers. But stem cell therapy like that offered at NSI Stem Cell Institutes may soon provide an exciting new therapy option to combine with existing hypoxia treatment options.
Dr. Feng Lin, Director of Research at Research at Bio-Matrix Scientific Group Inc. (BMSN) and Entest Medical Inc., has spearheaded a great deal of clinical study on stem cell use, and he has said the following: “In my opinion, stem cells could possess the capacity for self-renewal and differentiation into diverse cell types such as neural cells. We could be looking at an exciting and potential cure for traumatic brain injury patients.”
When stem cell therapy for brain injury becomes available, you can be sure that, as a cutting-edge FDA-compliant medical clinic, NSI will be at the forefront of providing it just as we currently provide therapy for conditions as diverse as lupus, hair loss, and rheumatoid arthritis.