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Hyperventilation (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care for Hyperventilation

If a person is experiencing signs and symptoms of hyperventilation syndrome, he our she should seek urgent medical attention to test for serious causes of overbreathing.

The person should get urgent medical attention if he or she is experiencing signs and symptoms of hyperventilation syndrome because more serious causes of overbreathing might be present.

Hyperventilation Diagnosis

The doctor will rapidly examine the patient, especially breathing and circulation. If the doctor does not find anything immediately life-threatening, the doctor will ask about medical history and do a physical exam.

Certain tests may be ordered to explore other causes of the patient's signs and symptoms. These tests are often ordered because the only way to confirm a person has hyperventilation syndrome is to eliminate other causes. The patient may have an IV started and may be hooked up to a monitor during the evaluation. The doctor may order these tests:

If the doctor suspects the patient may have a condition more serious than hyperventilation syndrome, the doctor may recommend that hospitalization for further tests and observation. Life-threatening conditions associated with rapid or deep breathing include:

  • Heart problems
  • Lung problems
  • Nervous system problems
  • Drug reactions and poisons
  • Infection
  • Pregnancy
  • Liver disorders

Hyperventilation Home Remedies

If a person has signs and symptoms of hyperventilation syndrome, a visit to a hospital's emergency department will determine whether or not he or she is having other, more worrisome causes of these symptoms. Home care for hyperventilation syndrome is only for people who have been told by their doctors that they have hyperventilation syndrome.

  • If a person has been diagnosed with hyperventilation syndrome, the doctor may instruct the patient to briefly try certain breathing and relaxation exercises. This may work to stop an attack.
  • Breathing into a paper bag is no longer recommended.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/8/2016
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