Signs of hypercapnia and treatment

1 Causes of the disease

The increased level of carbon dioxide concentration in the human body( not only in the blood, but also in the tissues) can be caused by various factors. Usually they are conventionally divided into external and internal.

Exogenous hypercapnia is caused by inhaled air, which is saturated with carbon dioxide. When the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air is more than 5%, inhalation of a person causes signs of poisoning. Usually, the head begins to spin, nausea appears, the intensity of breathing increases, the sweat becomes secreted. Sometimes a person loses consciousness. All this is a sign of hypercapnia.

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This condition can be triggered in several cases. First, hypercapnia is manifested in people who have used a broken or defective breathing apparatus that has a closed cycle. Secondly, the reason can be a finding in the pressure chamber, which poorly ventilates the air, but at the same time several people are located in it simultaneously. Thirdly, hypercapnia appears in a person who used scuba, but at the same time his balloon was clogged. By the way, if you swim with a normal breathing tube, then with exhalation it can accumulate old air, which contains a large amount of carbon dioxide. In this case, the swimmer will breathe just this air, which will lead to the appearance of hypercapnia symptoms. If you hold your breath for a long time while swimming underwater, a similar problem may occur. Many people, when swimming under water, try to save air, because of what a long time do not exhale. This is exactly the mistake that leads to carbon dioxide poisoning and headaches.

If you use compressors with poor filters in a stuffy room that is poorly ventilated, then such symptoms will appear. Also, the cause may be an allergy to anything, so it is necessary to find out what triggers a similar reaction of the body. If during anesthesia there are problems with the operation of the respiratory apparatus, then also the first symptoms of hypercapnia appear.

As for the endogenous type of the disease, it is provoked by internal factors. Usually this is due to respiratory failure, and almost always this condition is combined with hypoxia - a phenomenon in which the body lacks oxygen.

2 Symptoms of pathology

Symptoms of this pathology are unstable. If the patient has a chronic form of hypercapnia, but at the same time the concentration of carbon dioxide in the body at a moderate level, then the changes will be observed quite rarely. This is due to the fact that this phenomenon develops gradually, so that the whole body has time to get used to it. However, despite this, there is a permanent excitement, but then it always gives way to a depressed mood. Headaches are felt, but not particularly intense. There is nausea, fatigue, blood pressure is constantly reduced.

If the patient has an acute form of gas poisoning, the patient will experience severe dyspnea. And it will bother, even when a person is at rest. On light nausea, the matter does not stop, so that the patient suffers and attacks of vomiting. There is dizziness, the intensity of sweating increases, there are problems with vision. The skin begins to turn blue. The main sign of hypercapnia is a depressed state, which gradually develops into depression. And the depression will increase as the concentration of carbon dioxide in the human body increases. Gradually, it becomes more difficult for a person to concentrate, so attention, memory and other cognitive functions suffer. Consciousness is confused. There is a constant drowsiness. A person can lose consciousness.


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One of the most serious complications of hypercapnia is a coma. It develops when a person gradually changes from inhaling air with a large amount of carbon dioxide to air that is rich in oxygen. In this case, hypoxia can become very deep( this is called oxygen starvation).In the future, such a complication can lead to a lethal outcome.

With regard to performance, then with hypercapnia, it remains, but it can change. Completely working capacity a person will not lose if there is a month to breathe air, in which the concentration of carbon dioxide is 1%.The same applies when several days breathe air with a gas concentration of about 2-3%.If the level rises to 5%, then the person will not lose their work capacity in just a few hours. The 6% mark is critical. At the same time a person's condition starts to deteriorate sharply, so that the work capacity is violated. If there is approximately 10% of carbon dioxide in the air, then the condition will deteriorate sharply after 15 minutes. If the mark reaches 15%, then the person is only a couple of minutes. A fatal level is 30%, and the lethal outcome will come in a few hours.

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3 How the treatment of the disease passes

Definition of hypercapnia is carried out by external signs.

Once this condition is detected, it is urgently needed to begin treatment. It is carried out by means of pure oxygen. As soon as the patient has symptoms of an acute form of hypercapnia with exogenous origin( that is, an external cause), the person must be quickly removed from the room where the atmosphere has an elevated carbon dioxide concentration index. It is necessary to conduct restoration measures to stabilize the air gas composition. The patient should breathe a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen, with the last element should be up to 40%.If the patient falls into a coma, then only artificial ventilation can lead him. In medicine, even cases are known where a person was in a coma for several days for this reason, and then, with the help of intensive therapy, he was finally taken out of this state.

If the patient has hypercapnia due to internal factors, then the disease is endogenous. Usually pathology occurs against the background of pulmonary insufficiency, which has acquired a chronic form. Endogenous hypercapnia in this case will take place only after the primary disease is cured. It is necessary to clearly choose therapy depending on the ailment. Once the underlying ailment is eliminated, hypercapnia will stop torturing a person, and the condition will stabilize.

In order to control seizures of hypo- and hypercapnia, a device such as a capnograph is actively used in medicine. It is an analyzer of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air, which people breathe out. Carbon dioxide differs in diffusion properties, so that in air, which a person exhales, there will be practically as much of this component as there is in a person's blood. In addition, the partial pressure of carbon dioxide upon exhalation is a very important parameter for determining the work of the whole organism.

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