Patrice has taught multiple subjects including Health & Science & has a Master's degree in Education.
Definition of Hypoventilation
Jason and I have been best friends for over 15 years. He has been obese throughout our friendship, and on numerous occasions, I have attempted to encourage him to exercise and eat a healthy diet. However, he currently weighs 290 pounds, and he is only 5 feet 10 inches tall. I am really concerned about Jason because he often has trouble breathing. According to his doctor, his breathing problems are caused by obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS), a breathing condition that affects some obese people. Since the doctor indicated OHS can be fatal and recommended weight loss as a critical part of his treatment, I will continue to work hard to help my best friend conquer this disorder.
Hypoventilation is a condition that arises when air entering the alveoli, small air sacs in the lungs that are the site of respiratory gas exchange, is reduced. This causes levels of oxygen to decrease and the levels of carbon dioxide to increase. Hypoventilation may occur when breathing is too slow or shallow and is usually a consequence of other medical conditions, such as obesity. Let's look a little closer at the most common causes of hypoventilation.
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- 0:00 Definition of Hypoventilation
- 1:14 Causes of Hypoventilation
- 1:46 Symptoms of Hypoventilation
- 2:23 Treatment of Hypoventilation
- 3:03 Lesson Summary
Causes of Hypoventilation
There are multiple medical conditions that can cause hypoventilation. In other words, hypoventilation is usually secondary to other medical problems. Some common causes of hypoventilation include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and bronchitis
- Chest wall deformities
- Central respiratory drive depression, which can be caused by alcohol and certain drugs, such as narcotics
- Neuromuscular disorders
- Myxedema (severe hypothyroidism)
Symptoms of Hypoventilation
Hypoventilation is a serious medical condition that can become life threatening. Some symptoms of hypoventilation include stomach problems, headaches, heart problems, faintness, and poor sleep. Issues with sleep commonly occur due to frequent awakenings or sleeping throughout the day.
An arterial blood gas test can be given to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood to determine if these symptoms are actually being caused by hypoventilation. Additionally, an overnight sleep study might to necessary to determine if the sleeping issues caused by this condition have the potential to become nocturnal hypoventilation, which can be deadly.
Treatment of Hypoventilation
Since hypoventilation is usually the result of another medical issue, it is very important to treat this underlying cause. For example, bronchodilators, such as albuterol, are used for treating patients with COPD. Weight loss is highly recommended for those with obesity hypoventilation syndrome. Why? Because it enhances physiology and gas exchange. Also, since alcohol and certain drugs can lead to hypoventilation, patients should avoid these substances. Surgery or ventilation may also be necessary in some cases. As with any medical condition, it is critical to consult a doctor for the best treatment option for hypoventilation.
Hypoventilation occurs when air entering the alveoli of the lungs is reduced. It causes improper gas exchange -the levels of oxygen decrease and the levels of carbon dioxide increase in the blood and levels of carbon dioxide increase. Hypoventilation can happen when breathing is too slow or too shallow.
Hypoventilation is usually secondary to other conditions, meaning other conditions lead to it. Some of these include COPD, chest wall deformities, central respiratory drive depression, obesity, neuromuscular disorders, myxedema, and trauma. Hypoventilation can be life threatening, and its symptoms include stomach problems, headaches, heart problems, faintness, and poor sleep.
Treatments of hypoventilation consist of treating the underlying condition and include bronchodilators, ventilation, surgery, avoidance of alcohol and illicit drugs, and weight loss.
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What Is Hypoventilation? - Definition, Causes & Symptoms
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