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Hyperventilation Overview

Hyperventilation is breathing in excess of what the body needs. This is sometimes called overbreathing. Rapid or deep breathing is sometimes seen in very serious conditions such as infection, bleeding, or heart attack.

Hyperventilation syndrome is more specific and relates to an overbreathing pattern that happens under certain conditions. This overbreathing results in a group of symptoms.

Although hyperventilation syndrome may seem very similar to panic attacks, the two disorders are different.

  • People with panic disorder often have emotional complaints (for example, fear of death or closed-in spaces) that accompany attacks.
  • If a person has hyperventilation syndrome, however, he or she will have certain symptoms without these emotional complaints (although the person still may be anxious).

Hyperventilation Causes

The cause or causes of hyperventilation syndrome are unknown. Certain conditions or situations produce overbreathing in some people.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/12/2014
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Hyperventilation Syndrome »

Hyperventilation syndrome (HVS) represents a relatively common ED presentation that is readily recognized by most clinicians.

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