Hyperventilation is a condition where breaths provide more oxygen than 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 is related to the condition of overbreathing that occurs in certain diseases. Overbreathing leads to the manifestation of a number of symptoms.

Although the syndrome may closely resemble panic attacks, the two conditions are different.
People with panic disorder often have emotional complaints such as a fear of death or of enclosed spaces that accompany panic attacks.

If a person has hyperventilation syndrome, they will develop some symptoms but no emotional complaints, although a person may still be distressed by their condition.

What are the symptoms?

There are two forms of the syndrome – acute and chronic, and the chronic form is difficult to diagnose. And the acute form occurs suddenly and more intense symptoms develop.

Those affected by this form of the syndrome may feel pain in the stomach and chest, as well as have emotional complaints.

Hyperventilation syndrome most often results in breathing in excessive amounts of air. And this leads to the following abdominal manifestations:

• Swelling;
• Belching;
• Passing large amounts of gas;
• Sensation of pressure in the abdomen;

Also, anxiety from the increased movement of air through the mouth can lead to dryness in it.
Changes in the exchange of gases in the body can also occur from overbreathing.< /p>

Hyperventilation syndrome leads to a decrease in carbon dioxide levels in the blood. A low concentration of carbon dioxide reduces blood flow to the brain, which can lead to the following nervous and emotional symptoms:

• Weakness;
• Fainting;
• Dizziness;
• Confusion;
• Agitation;
• Person feels as if he is going out of his body;
• Hallucinations;
• A person feels as if he cannot breathe.

Overbreathing can also cause blood calcium levels to drop, which can lead to the following appearances of negative nervous system changes:
Stiffness and numbness – usually on both hands or around the mouth;
Spasms or cramps of the muscles of the arms and legs;
Muscle twitches;
To make sure that you are not having a heart attack, but just hyperventilating, you should consider the following:
• Usually with hyperventilation, the symptoms last longer – an hour and more as opposed to a few minutes in a heart attack;
• Hyperventilation syndrome usually occurs in younger people;
• In overbreathing, the condition of the affected improves with aerobic exercise;
• The pain caused by the syndrome is not relieved by heart medication.

In very rare cases of hyperventilation, low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood can cause the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart to spasm. But if a person already has heart disease, this spasm can be enough to trigger a heart attack.

Treatment of hyperventilation

If signs or symptoms of hyperventilation syndrome occur, emergency medical attention should be sought immediately to rule out more serious conditions such as heart attack or stroke. Self-medication is permissible only with proven overbreathing.

In such cases, the doctor usually instructs the patient to try some breathing and relaxation exercises to control the hyperventilation attacks. Most often, these exercises are effective and prevent attacks.

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