Topics: Brain Injury, Hypoxia, Causes of Hypoxia, Hypoxia Treatment

Understanding Hypoxia After A Brain Injury

When the brain is deprived of oxygen in a brain injury, a condition called Hypoxia will develop, which can cause brain damage, as well as several other side effects. It is no secret that the brain, and the entire body for that matter, rely on oxygen to perform its most basic functions. There are several causes of Hypoxia which can lead to lifelong disabilities, such as Hemiplegia. We will uncover the causes and side effects of Hypoxia and Hemiplegia below.

What is Hypoxia?

Medical illustration of brain 2

While several kinds of Hypoxia can occur to the body, Cerebral Hypoxia is one of the most dangerous, as it strictly affects the brain. There are myriad ways the brain can be deprived of oxygen in everyday life, which leads to Hypoxia. Sufferers of a Hypoxia can have lifelong disabilities, as it can cause Hemiplegia, which refers to paralysis on one side of the body. 

People who suffer a stroke, for example, will commonly have Hypoxia and then have Hemiplegia as a result. Having a stroke usually leads to oxygen deprivation of the brain (Hypoxia), which can lead to paralysis on one side of the body, which Hemiplegia.

Common Causes of Hypoxia


The brain is highly sensitive, and any lack of oxygen after 5 minutes can lead to brain cell death. Some of the most common causes of Hypoxia are choking, breathing in smoke during a fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, high altitudes, and people with spinal cord injuries or ALS (severe paralysis). Having paralyzed chest wall muscles that affect breathing can lead to Hypoxia over time, as the person does not receive enough oxygen to their due to paralysis.

A variety of accidents can cause Hypoxia as well. Anything that deprives the brain of oxygen is susceptible. For people, who experience a heart attack or a stroke, Hypoxia is a common side effect, as breathing is affected when the heart stops beating or when the brain is injured. Drowning, drug overdoses, accidents, and injuries to a newborn before they are born, such as cerebral palsy, can also cause Hypoxia. 

While some children are born with Hemiplegia, it is most commonly caused by a stroke even in children by a blood clot to the brain. Children can also develop Hemiplegia from an accident or some kind of damage to the brain, whether it is an infection or a tumor. For adults, they too can develop Hemiplegia from an accident, a brain infection or a tumor.

How Hypoxia/Hemiplegia Affect the Body

Oxygen Deprivation

Since Hypoxia is deprivation of oxygen to the brain, which can cause Hemiplegia, several additional side effects can occur from Hypoxia as well. One of the most common is Dyslexia. Unfortunately, learning disabilities are a common side effect of Hemiplegia, as well as also affecting concentration and emotional and behavioral problems. Vision and speech can also be affected by Hemiplegia. Also, epilepsy can develop as a result of Hemiplegia, which is a disorder that causes seizures.

Mobility and sensation can also be affected, which can cause muscle stiffness and weakness on the side of the body that is paralyzed, as well as difficulty balancing and walking. Fine motor skills in the hand are also common and a fist of the hand can occur on the side of the body paralyzed. Some developmental delays might be present as well.

Treating Hypoxia and Hemiplegia


Unfortunately, Hemiplegia, which is caused by Hypoxia, is irreversible. For children who have epilepsy as a result of Hemiplegia, the best treatment available for this condition is anti-epilepsy drugs. If the drugs do not work, surgery is sometimes considered. For adults who have Hemiplegia due to Hypoxia, physical therapy and speech therapy can be used together to return as much ability to the person as possible. 

Therapy can also help re-train the brain after acquiring Hemiplegia. Learning how to mentally cope with the side-effects of these issues is very important as well. Regular visits with a psychologist can help a person with Hemiplegia learn how to live in peace with the side-effects.

If you feel you acquired Hypoxia due to medical negligence, please contact us. The lifelong effects of Hemiplegia can be expensive. Sufferers deserve proper financial compensation to properly deal with the lifelong side-effects.

Brain Injury Association of Florida, Inc.

Vincent Dolan

Written by Vincent Dolan

A the Director of Public Affairs at Vincent has had the opportunity to speak with thousands of individuals (and families) during every step of the recovery process. Vincent has combined his legal and marketing expertise to create the single largest resource for those impacted by a spinal cord or other catastrophic injury. While gathering and sharing these resources Vincent also spends time answering the hotline which allows him to better understand what families are going through. Vincent is actively involved in supporting various non profits within the SCI community, and is always open to helping in whatever way he can. Vincent also works with our sponsors Swope, Rodante P.A. to ensure families have every opportunity to obtain the resources which improve the quality of life for individuals after a spinal cord injury.

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