Respiratory Depression inducing Drugs Pharmacology Cheat Sheet

Hypoventilation is a condition that arises when air entering the alveoli, small air sacs in the lungs that are the site of respiratory gas exchange, is reduced. This causes levels of oxygen to decrease and the levels of carbon dioxide to increase. Hypoventilation may occur when breathing is too slow or shallow and is usually a consequence of other medical conditions, such as obesity.


Let’s look a little closer at the most common causes of hypoventilation.

Causes of Hypoventilation
There are multiple medical conditions that can cause hypoventilation. In other words, hypoventilation is usually secondary to other medical problems.
Some common causes of hypoventilation include:

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and bronchitis
Chest wall deformities
Central respiratory drive depression, which can be caused by alcohol and certain drugs, such as narcotics
Neuromuscular disorders
Myxedema (severe hypothyroidism)

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