"Hypoxia and its Causes" is a brilliant example of a paper on the respiratory system. Johanna Peaks suffers from low oxygen concentration in her body (hypoxia) because of low amounts of oxygen in the air. The concentration of oxygen in the air usually reduces at high altitudes. When there is inadequate oxygen, anaerobic respiration takes place in the body. As a result, lactic acid accumulates in the muscles leading to muscle cramps and a reduced body pH. It is these muscle cramps that cause the hyperactivity in Johanna Peaks’ muscles. The body takes several steps to return everything to normal. These include hyperventilation (profound breaths are taken additionally faster to fill the alveolar) and an increased number of red blood cells (RBCs). RBCs have hemoglobin, a compound that transports oxygen around the body.
An increased number of red blood cells take in as much oxygen as required by the body. The hyperventilation provoked by hypoxia leads to a rise in the pH of blood in the arteries (Roades and Bell, 2008). This rise in pH of arterial blood is measured in terms of reduced PCO2 and is referred to as hypocapnia. Roades and Bell suggest that the body uses two mechanisms to achieve the ventilator acclimatization (2008). The first mechanism involves chemoreceptors while the second one involves the renal system. The chemoreceptor model suggests that the CSF pH becomes alkaline when hypoxia motivates ventilation. Passage of the bicarbonate ions outside the CSF restores its pH thereby increasing the blood pH (Roades & Bell, 2008). It also suggests that throughout hypoxia, carotid bodies raise their sensitivity to arterial oxygen, raising the blood pH further.
ReferencesThe control of ventilation. (2008). In Roades, R. A. & Bell, D. R. (Eds.) Medical physiology: The principles for clinical medicine (pp. 374-390). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.