Over breathing or Hyperventilation

Chest | Pulmonology | Over breathing or Hyperventilation (Symptom)


Hyperventilation is rapid or deep breathing that can occur with anxiety or panic. It is also called over breathing, and can leave a parson feeling short of breath. Excessive breathing may cause dizziness, light-headedness, weakness, difficulty breathing, a feeling of instability, muscle spasms in hands and feet, and a tingling sensation around the mouth and fingertips. All these symptoms are the result of abnormally low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood caused by hyperventilation.

The term hyperventilation syndrome (HVS) is sometimes used to describe the effects of hyperventilation. Many are acute (sudden onset) resulting in panic, anxiety and other emotional disorders. Hyperventilation, particularly chronic hyperventilation (which persists over time), may also be due to a number of medical conditions.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment for hyperventilation is aimed at increasing carbon dioxide levels in the blood, usually by adjusting your breathing rate. In serious cases, medication may be required to treat hyperventilation. Psychological counseling has been shown to benefit patients with anxiety or panic disorders that lead to hyperventilation.