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occurs when there is a low level of oxygen in your blood. Oxygen is needed to keep your organs and tissues alive. Long-term hypoxemia can become life threatening if it is not treated.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Feeling of not being able to catch your breath
  • Frequent headaches
  • Severe sleepiness
  • Severe mood changes or irritability

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have fainting spells with activity.
  • You have chest pain.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your symptoms do not change or become worse with treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for hypoxemia

will depend on how severe your hypoxemia is. You may need oxygen therapy for activity, such as exercise. You may need oxygen only when you sleep. Your healthcare provider may have you use oxygen all the time if you have severe hypoxemia. He may order pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) if your hypoxemia is related to certain conditions, such as COPD. PR consists of exercise training and nutrition and disease education. You will learn ways to conserve (save) your energy and develop a breathing action plan. PR also offers counseling and support groups.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.