An inadequate supply of oxygen to the tissues. Temporary hypoxia may result from strenuous exercise. More serious causes include impaired breathing (see respiratory failure), ischaemia, and severe anaemia. A rare cause is carbon monoxide poisoning. Severe, prolonged hypoxia may lead to tissue death. Hypoxia in muscles forces the muscle cells to produce energy anaerobically, which can lead to cramps. Hypoxia in heart muscle may cause angina pectoris. Hypoxia of the brain causes confusion, dizziness, and incoordination, causing unconsciousness and death if persistent. Hypoxia can be assessed by using an oximeter to measure the oxygen concentration of blood in the tissues. Severe hypoxia may require oxygen therapy or artificial ventilation.


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