Why Respiratory Depression Is the Most Vulnerable Disease

What is respiratory depression?

Sometimes we refer hypoventilation as a shallow, slow breathing rate. There are several causes of respiratory depression, out of which few are very serious than compared to others. The brain controls the respiratory drives. Hence, any problem related to the central nervous system, which also includes the brain, can cause respiratory depression.

In mild cases, symptoms are not always noticeable. However, in the rest of the issues, affected people may have shallow and retarded breathing.

Depending upon the severity of the condition, respiratory machines(mechanical ventilator), oxygen therapy can be an effective treatment for Respiratory depression.

Do not ignore respiratory depression, or else it results in severe complications that may even lead to death.

This happens at the time of gas exchange when oxygen and carbon dioxide are not exchanged efficiently by the lungs. Due to this failure of the lungs in releasing carbon dioxide outside of the body can result in a severe medical complication.

It can also show some side effects. The slow rate of breathing is a common symptom of respiratory depression.

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What causes respiratory depression?

It is challenging to survive without breathing. Respiratory depression occurs, or it can increase the risk in a person because of certain substances and pain medications.

Narcotic pain-medication, Sedative medication, or other elements such as certain illegal drugs and alcohol depress brain function.

Respiratory depression can occur because of certain bad health conditions as well. The causes that commonly included are:

  • Overdose of an opioid or opiate such as tramadol, morphine, or fentanyl.
  • During or after surgery, the use of anesthetics or opioids.
  • Central sleep apnea.
  • Stroke affects the lower part of the brain stem.
  • Overdose of ethanol or poisoning.
  • Overdose of benzodiazepine or poisoning.
  • Liver failure and cirrhosis can occur because of the severe elevation of blood ammonia.
  • At the respiratory center, when a brain tumor presses on the brain stem.
  • Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS)

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Symptoms of Respiratory Depression – 

Respiratory depression symptoms depend on their severe conditions. The symptoms become more explicit in more severe cases. Respiratory depression symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • High respiratory rates
  • Respiratory acidosis

Some people also experience:

  • Slow or shallow breathing with minimal chest movement because of lower breaths per minute.
  • Vomiting can also occur because of this reason. Blood pressure can become high or low.
  • Minor Pin-point pupils
  • Sounds of breath are abnormal, such as lower breathing sound(rhonchi) or a different wheezing or crackling like sound while breathing, termers, apnea.
  • Skin becomes bluish, especially in fingers. Rapid heart rate and seizures are also a part of the symptoms. If we do not meet the treatments, it may lead to heart attack, slower heartbeat, brain hemorrhage, and respiratory arrest.

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Induced Respiratory Depression 

Humans entirely depend on the cardio-respiratory control system for adequate intake of oxygen and removal of carbon dioxide via the lungs.

The chemical or metabolic control of breathing and the behavioral control system controls the ventilation.

During wakefulness and rapid eye movement, the behavioral control system is active. It allows the change of breathing to specific circumstances and requirements such as eating, speaking, reading, surprise, pain, and anxiety.

Several brain areas, including the cortex, limbic system, hypothalamus, are involved in the behavioral control system.

The chemical control system depends on the chemical composition of arterial blood and cerebrospinal fluid pH.

Carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2), and oxygen partial pressure (pO2) and is relied on as a set of chemosensors in the brain stem (Central Chemoreceptors) and the carotid bodies (peripheral chemoreceptors).

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Treatment of Respiratory Depression 

There are many therapies and medications that the doctors use for the treatment of respiratory depression.

Such treatment includes:

  • Oxygen therapy
  • Fluid therapy, either oral or intravenous
  • Bi-level positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines
  • Ventilation
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines

Detoxification is essential, which a person must take if respiratory depression occurs because of overdose.

If respiratory depression occurs due to an overdose of medicine or any symptom, the doctors use drugs that may counter the effects of opioids.

The medication used for this treatment is naloxone (Narcan), Suboxone, methadone, or dolophine.

 Prevention from respiratory depression 

Respiratory depression occurs because of accidents or any other respiratory diseases. It is crucial to take precautions after seeing the symptoms and consult the best-medicated doctors.

In some cases, the patient is irrecoverable, but the rest are recoverable. There are many ways of taking precautions which are given below:

  • We should avoid seductive medicines. If your doctor recommends taking any seductive medication, then take extra caution while having them.
  • We must monitor small children if they are taking any medicines.
  • We should avoid the intake of alcohol.
  • Narcotic medicines are very reactive, so it is imperative to take precautions while having this medicine.
  • If you see or feel any symptoms of Respiratory depression, then it is necessary to consult the doctor and start regular treatment; otherwise, it may be fatal.

Why is it necessary to understand and manage respiratory arrest?

Respiratory arrest is the most common disease, which is the cessation of breathing.

It is essential to understand and manage respiratory arrest as it is the sign which is a life-threatening period. Respiratory arrest usually leads to respiratory failure.

Respiratory diseases are becoming the most common disease because thousands of people die or go in a coma because of the severity of the disease. So, it is necessary to have a healthy diet which is rich in nutrients and low fat. Develop a healthy eating habits with this 10 easy tips

It would help if you avoided the habit of eating junk foods. Homemade food with low fats can keep you fit and healthy.

One can manage Respiratory depression by performing some specialized breathing exercises in early stage. Every person must know and understand the signs of respiratory distress symptoms to take early precautions.

Today, respiratory disease is common among every age group. It is a vulnerable disease that comes with severe pains and suffering.

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