How do doctors treat hypoxemia?

Treatment for hypoxemia aims to raise the levels of oxygen in the blood. Doctors can use medications to treat underlying conditions that cause hypoxemia. These medications are often given through an inhaler that enables you to breathe the medicine into your lungs.

In more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe oxygen therapy. People typically receive extra oxygen through a device called a cannula (tube) that is clipped to the outside of the nose, or through a breathing mask. The location and amount of time people receive oxygen therapy is based on individual needs. You may receive oxygen at home, with a portable machine while you travel, or in the hospital.

What are the complications or side effects of hypoxemia?

If your blood does not have enough oxygen, it cannot deliver enough oxygen to the organs and tissues that need it. This situation can be fatal if severe in the short term and can affect the heart or brain if it persists over a long period of time.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy