Symptoms and Signs of Hyperventilation Syndrome Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

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Medically Reviewed on 3/25/2019

Doctor's Notes on Hyperventilation Syndrome Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Hyperventilation is a medical term that refers to overbreathing. In this case, ventilation through the lungs exceeds the metabolic demand on the body. Hyperventilation is normal after strenuous exercise. Many cases of acute, or sudden, hyperventilation come on when experiencing panic, anxiety, or emotional condition. Hyperventilation, can also be caused by a range of medical conditions, including heart attack, anemia, congestive heart failure, fever, sepsis, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), among others. 

Symptoms and signs of hyperventilation include dizziness and lightheadedness. Other associated symptoms can include a sense of unsteadiness, chest pain or discomfort, rapid heart rate, and a tingling sensation around the mouth and in the fingertips or toes. It is also common to experience shortness of breath, or the feeling that you cannot take in enough air.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.