Condition in which tissues are starved of oxygen. The extreme is anoxia (absence of oxygen). There are four types: hypoxemic, from low blood oxygen content (e.g., in altitude sickness); anemic, from low blood oxygen-carrying capacity (e.g., in carbon monoxide poisoning); distributive, from low blood flow (e.g., generally in shock or locally in atherosclerosis); and histotoxic, from poisoning (e.g., with cyanide) that keeps cells from using oxygen. If not reversed quickly, hypoxia can lead to necrosis (tissue death), as in heart attack.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on hypoxia, visit Britannica.com.

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