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hypoxia vs. hypoxemia

hypoxia vs. hypoxemia: What’s the difference?

Hypoxia is a very low level of oxygen. It’s used in two different contexts: the oxygen level of bodily tissue or of an environment (like a swamp). Hypoxemia specifically refers to an insufficient amount of oxygen in the blood. Hypo- means “low”; ox- refers to oxygen; and the -emia in hypoxemia indicates a blood condition (like it does in anemia).

[ hahy-pok-see-uh ]
  1. a very low level of oxygen, as in an organic environment: The fish have developed a tolerance to the hypoxia of the swamp.
  2. an abnormally low amount of oxygen in the body tissues: Premature newborns are routinely placed in incubators to treat or prevent hypoxia.
[ hahy-pok-see-mee-uh ]
  1. inadequate oxygenation of the blood: A mild case of hypoxemia may be treatable with supplemental oxygen therapy alone.

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