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What is hyperventilation?

Hyperventilation is when your breathing 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.

What other symptoms might I 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

How is hyperventilation diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider will do a physical exam. He will ask you about your symptoms and your health. You may need any of the following treatments:

  • Stress management: Learn about the stressors that cause you to hyperventilate. Find other ways to manage your response to stress. Deep breathing, relaxing muscles, or meditation may help you. Do not use the home remedy of breathing into a paper bag. This can be very dangerous, because it may cause a lack of oxygen.
  • Counseling: You may need help to manage the stress or anxiety that is causing your hyperventilation. Your healthcare provider may suggest that you see a counselor to talk about how you are feeling.
  • Antianxiety medicine: This medicine may be given to decrease anxiety and help you feel calm and relaxed.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

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

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have a seizure.
  • You feel like you are going to faint.
  • You have chest pain.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

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

Learn more about Hyperventilation

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