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Asphyxia or asphyxiation (from Greek a-, "without" and σφύξις sphyxis, "heartbeat") is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from being unable to breathe normally. An example of asphyxia is choking. Asphyxia causes generalized hypoxia, which primarily affects the tissues and organs.


Oxygen deficiency

The body creates the need to breathe from the excess carbon dioxide in the lungs; the body has no way to detect the absence of oxygen. Many gases, though non-toxic, are classified as simple asphyxiants in their pure form or in high concentrations for this very reason.

One form of asphyxiation is from entering a low oxygen atmosphere or an inert atmosphere, such as in a food oil tank that has a covering blanket of nitrogen or argon to shield the oil from atmospheric oxygen, thus absence of sufficient oxygen to sustain life, people act normally but with no warning they simply feel dizzy and then black out in a matter of seconds as the remaining oxygen in the blood stream is consumed. Oxygen deficient atmospheres are the basis for many single and multiple deaths occurring; the deceased will be observed lying prone in the bottom of a tank, and then the observer will rush in to rescue them, and succumb to the same effect, hence the need to vent or purge the inert gases from all tanks before entry.[citation needed]

The use of simple asphyxiant gases, such as the inhalation of pure helium for entertainment purposes, has resulted in death and brain injury from oxygen deficiency.[1]

Other causes are:

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