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A 31-year-old member asked:

If mild hypoxia stimulates respiration, why does severe hypoxia depresses the same?

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Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 46 years experience
Hypoxia: Oxygen is required for tissues to burn their fuel, just like a fire burning a log. The human system can compensate for mild low o2 by breathing faster, equal to u blowing on the fire to help it burn. If the o2 is so low breathing faster doesn't get enough or the body becomes exhausted in the effort, the metabolism shuts down, equal to the fire going out.

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Last updated May 6, 2012

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