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Asphyxia is a condition when oxygen levels in the body decrease. This condition can result in decreased consciousness and even threaten the life of the sufferer. Asphyxia can be caused by various things and is generally an emergency so that treatment needs to be done immediately
When you inhale, oxygen from the air enters the lungs through the nose and mouth. Next, oxygen enters small blood vessels or capillaries and is carried by red blood cells to the heart to be distributed throughout the body's tissues. When this process is disturbed, a condition known as asphyxia occurs.
When exposed to asphyxia, a person will experience shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing in or out. This condition then makes the sufferer's body experience a lack of oxygen.
Meanwhile, carbon dioxide, as a waste product of metabolism, also cannot be removed from the body. Both of these conditions are dangerous and have the potential to threaten the life of the sufferer if not immediately treated by a doctor.
Some Causes of Asphyxia
The following are some of the most common causes of asphyxia:
People who are choking can experience blockages in the throat and deeper airways, such as the trachea and bronchi. This condition can cause asphyxia.
In infants, asphyxia may occur due to choking on food or drink. In addition, babies and children often put foreign objects such as toys into their mouths. This can cause them to experience asphyxia due to choking.
Therefore, babies and children need to be supervised at all times so that they do not put food or large items in their mouths.
If the child is under 5 years old, do not give hard-textured food. Also avoid giving snacks that might make him choke, such as nuts or sticky and chewy candy.
If you want to give food to children, make sure the food has been cut into small pieces so that it is easier for the child to swallow.
2. Exposure to smoke or chemicals
Pollution and fumes from combustion, such as burning garbage, factory waste, or motor vehicles, contain a lot of a gas called carbon monoxide. If inhaled too much, this gas can cause asphyxia and poisoning.
When carbon monoxide levels in the blood increase, oxygen will be difficult to distribute to various body tissues, so people who experience carbon monoxide poisoning will experience oxygen deprivation.
In addition to carbon monoxide, there are several other chemicals in smoke that can also cause asphyxia, namely sulfur dioxide, ammonia, chlorine, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon dioxide, for example from dry ice. These chemicals can make the airways irritated and swollen, thus blocking the airway.
Asphyxia can also occur when a person's neck is strangled, either accidentally or intentionally, for example in an attempted suicide. In children and infants, asphyxia due to strangulation can occur when the baby's airway is covered by a pillow during sleep, making it unable to breathe.
Therefore, every parent should be more careful and pay attention to the use of mattresses or cots. Make sure the mattress you use has a flat surface, so the baby doesn't move easily and prevents the baby from being crushed or crushed by the pillow.
4. Certain conditions in newborns
Asphyxia can also occur in newborns and is known as asphyxia neonatorum. This condition is usually caused by entanglement of the umbilical cord, the baby choking on feces or meconium, placental abnormalities, amniotic fluid embolism, or a condition when the baby's neck is pinched by the mother's birth canal.
5. Sexual disorder
Asphyxia can also be caused by a dangerous condition of sexual disorder, generally masochism, known as autoerotic asphyxia. People with this type of asphyxia will usually make it difficult for themselves to breathe intentionally, for example by strangling themselves with a rope while carrying out sexual activities, such as masturbating.
People with autoerotic asphyxia may also ask their sexual partners to strangle them in order to achieve sexual satisfaction or orgasm. The stronger the strangulation is felt, usually the person will feel more satisfied.
In addition to causing the body to lack oxygen, autoerotic asphyxia also causes sufferers to experience serious he alth problems. In some cases, this risky sexual behavior can even result in death.
In addition to the above conditions, asphyxia can also be caused by certain medical conditions, such as:
- Airway obstruction due to a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis
- Diseases or disorders of the respiratory tract, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or tumors that block the airway
- Neural disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and ALS
Whatever the cause, asphyxia is a condition that needs to be watched out for and needs to be treated by a doctor immediately. If you see someone experiencing asphyxia, immediately take the person to the emergency room of the nearest hospital for treatment. If the cause is choking, administer first aid if you can.