Problems in Oxygen transport
When a person travels quickly from sea level to elevations above 8000ft, where the atmospheric pressure and partial pressure of oxygen are lowered, the individualresponds with symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS)–headache, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness due to poor binding of O2 with haemoglobin. When the person moves on a long–term basis to mountains from sea level is body begins to make respiratory and haematopoietic adjustments. To overcome this situation kidneys accelerate production of the hormone erythropoietin, which stimulates the bone marrow to produce more RBCs.
When a person descends deep into the sea, the pressure in the surrounding water increases which causes the lungs to decrease in volume. This decrease in volume increases the partial pressure of the gases within the lungs. This effect can be beneficial, because it tends to drive additional oxygen into the circulation, but this benefit also has a risk, the increased pressure can also drive nitrogen gas into the circulation. This increase in blood nitrogen content can lead to a condition called nitrogen narcosis. When the diver ascends to the surface too quickly a condition called ‘bends’ or decompression sickness occurs and nitrogen comes out of solution while still in the blood forming bubbles. Small bubbles in the blood are not harmful, but large bubbles can lodge in small capillaries, blocking blood flow or can press on nerve endings. Decompression sickness is associated with pain in joints and muscles and neurological problems including stroke. The risk of nitrogen narcosis and bends is common in scuba divers.
During carbon–dioxide poisoning, the demand for oxygen increases. As the O2 level in the blood decreases it leads to suffocation and the skin turns bluish black.