Anoxia occurs when oxygen is absent or depleted and unable to properly reach organs or tissue. Anoxia has been shown to cause brain damage that can have lasting consequences like amnesia. Anoxia typically refers to complete oxygen deprivation while partial deprivation is called hypoxia (although occasionally these terms are used interchangeably). Anoxia can be caused by a variety of situations like asthma, medical conditions that affect the lungs or respiratory system, smoke inhalation, or strangulation.

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