Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hyperventilation is rapid or deep breathing that can occur with anxiety or panic. It is also called overbreathing, and may leave you feeling breathless. Dr. Edward Hill discusses this condition in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Hyperventilation means breathing faster and more deeply than normal due to anxiety or stress. Breathing too quickly causes the carbon dioxide levels in the blood to fall quickly. Hyperventilation is usually caused by anxiety, but injury or illness can also be the cause.

The victim feels there is not enough air getting into the lungs and may complain of light-headedness. Feeling the need for more air, the victim breathes faster and makes the symptoms worse.

These symptoms may accompany hyperventilation:

Rapid breathing

Difficulty getting a deep, satisfying breath


Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet and around the mouth

Muscle twitching, and

Convulsions or fainting

Rapid breathing, shortness of breath or light-headedness may also be signs of other, more serious conditions.

Hyperventilation may also be linked to emotional problems, such as panic attacks.

Hyperventilation symptoms usually occur because too much carbon dioxide is given off during rapid breathing. Slowing down the victims breathing will restore the normal balance in the blood and the symptoms should disappear.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.