KCU Logo

Respiratory Adaptations in Health and Disease:
Forms of Hypoxia


Created by Diane R. Karius, Ph.D.

As you know by this point, hypoxia refers to low oxygen.  However, we really haven't described where the oxygen is low with this term.  Strictly speaking, the term hypoxia refers to inadequate oxygen available for use by the tissuesAnoxia then refers to the total absence of oxygen being delivered to the tissue.  Hypoxemia is the proper term for low oxygen content in the blood.  The animation (below) will describe the different forms of hypoxia and there is a written description below the animation.

    If you think about hypoxia, you might realize that there are several way in which the tissue could experience inadequate oxygen availability  - only some of which we've talked about in the respiratory section.  Physiologists have defined four forms of hypoxia: