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Causes of Carbon Dioxide Poisoning

Hypercapnia or Hypercarbia Causes


Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas found in air and many household products.

Ben Mills

Carbon dioxide intoxication and carbon dioxide poisoning, also known as hypercapnia or hypercarbia, is caused by having too high of a concentration of carbon dioxide in the body. This may be caused by a biochemical problem, but most often is associated with prolonged exposure to elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the air. Certain activities and conditions may predispose you to carbon dioxide poisoning.

Causes of Hypercapnia

  • lung disease
  • unconsciousness
  • hypoventilation
  • initial effect of oxygen when administered to someone suffering from sleep apnea
  • breathing volcanic gas or gas from a geothermal vent
  • rebreathing exhaled air (e.g., from breathing air in a bag, sleeping in a sealed tent, sleeping with a blanket over one's head)
  • scuba diving, from skip breathing, improper air filtration or from taking fewer breaths, possibly as a result of the increased difficulty of breathing
  • breathing in confined spaces or areas with poor air circulation, such as a sealed room, a mine, a tunnel, a cargo hold, etc.

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