What are the consequences of lack of oxygen?
Q: Are there any specific tests or facility available to check whether a persons lungs, heart and brain is starving of sufficient quantity of oxygen supply? What are the consequences of inadequate supply of oxygen to lungs, heart and brain?
A:Lack of oxygen can lead to either acute or chronic (i.e. irreversible) damage to vital organs. Giving supplemental oxygen at the rate of 2-6 litres / minute could lead to some immediate improvement such as relief of breathlessness, but it may take several days of oxygen administration to produce significant measurable differences in performance. Lack of tissue oxygen in vital organs is due to lung disease, heart failure, anaemia or circulatory problems such as blocked arteries. Of course, another cause would be insufficient oxygen in the air, such as occurs in high mountains. Standard medical tests will make the diagnosis; these include chest x-ray, ECG, blood tests and arterial blood gas. More complex tests may be indicated, eg CAT scans of the brain, echocardiography of the heart, exercise or pulmonary function tests. Such investigations can help in deciding if any major organ is not receiving adequate oxygen delivery.