Definition Of Respiratory Depression
Respiratory depression, medically known as hypoventilation is a breathing disorder characterized by slow and ineffective breathing. During a normal breathing cycle, you inhale O2 (oxygen) into your lungs while your blood carries the oxygen around your body, delivering it to your tissues. Your blood then takes the CO2, (carbon dioxide) a waste product, back to your lungs. The carbon dioxide exits your body when you exhale.
During the respiratory depression, the body can’t adequately remove carbon dioxide and this is crucial since it can lead to poor use of oxygen by lungs. The result is a higher level of carbon dioxide and too little oxygen available to the body.
NB: Hypoventilation is different from hyperventilation. Hyperventilation is when you breathe too quickly, lowering levels of cO2 in the blood.
Symptoms of Hypoventilation vary. Mild or moderate symptoms may include: tiredness, daytime sleepiness, shortness of breath, slow and shallow breathing, depression, etc
Causes Of Respiratory Depression
Possible causes of hypoventilation include:
neuromuscular diseases, which causes weakening of muscles that control breathing,
chest wall deformities which interfere with the ability to inhale and exhale properly
severe obesity causes the body to work harder to breathe.
brain injury interferes with the brain’s ability to control basic functions like breathing
obstructive sleep apnea etc