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Hyperventilation

AMBULATORY CARE:

Hyperventilation

is breathing that is faster than normal. Hyperventilation may be caused by anxiety, stress, or panic. Other causes include medicines, imbalances in the chemicals in your body, and too much caffeine.

Other signs or symptoms you might have with hyperventilation:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or feeling faint
  • Numbness and tingling around the mouth, hands, and feet
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

  • You have a seizure.
  • You have chest pain.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You feel like you are going to faint.

Call your doctor or therapist if:

  • Your symptoms do not get better, or they get worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

may include a medicine change if any medicine is causing you to hyperventilate. You may need to have a chemical imbalance treated. The following may be used to treat or manage hyperventilation:

  • Therapy may help you manage the stress or anxiety that is causing your hyperventilation. A therapist can help you learn about the stressors that cause you to hyperventilate. He or she can help you find other ways to manage your response to stress, such as deep breathing, relaxing muscles, or meditation. Do not use the home remedy of breathing into a paper bag. This can cause a dangerous lack of oxygen.
  • Antianxiety medicine may help you feel calm and relaxed.

Follow up with your doctor or therapist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Hyperventilation (Ambulatory Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.