Hyperventilation is breathing excessively more than what the body normally requires. Deep or rapid breathing sometimes occurs in serious conditions such as bleeding or during a heart attack.
As for hyperventilation syndrome, it is more specific and basically relates to an over breathing pattern that occurs under certain conditions.
Causes of hyperventilation
The exact cause or causes of hyperventilation syndrome is still unknown. There are certain situations or conditions that triggers over breathing in some individuals.
Symptoms of hyperventilation
There are two forms of hyperventilation syndrome – sudden and every day. In its every day form, over breathing might be difficult to detect. As for the sudden form, it typically manifests at a rapid phase and results to more intense symptoms. Individuals with this syndrome experience chest, stomach, nervous system and even emotional complaints.
Hyperventilation syndrome can lead to excessive swallowing of air. This results to these abdominal symptoms:
- Sensation of pressure in the abdomen
- Passing out excess gas
Additionally, anxiety with the increased movement of air via the mouth can cause the dry mouth feeling.
There are also chemical changes that take place when an individual is over breathing. The level of carbon dioxide in the blood decreases. This diminished level of carbon dioxide minimizes the flow of blood to the brain, resulting to several emotional and nervous system symptoms:
- Feeling of inability to breathe
- Feeling of being outside the body
- Vision of images that are not there
There is also a drop on the calcium levels in the blood, resulting to the following nervous system symptoms.
- Twitching of muscles
- Cramps or spasms of the hands and feet
- Tingling and numbness
Always bear in mind that there are various factors that can cause the chest symptoms. In most cases, the breathing is relaxed. Once the individual starts to over breathe, the lungs will become overly inflated. As a result, the chest muscles will be used to expand the rib cage. Understandably, this added muscle work will feel like shortness of breath and the individual will have a hard time taking a deep breath. Lastly, hyperventilation syndrome can cause the following chest symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tenderness or pain
When to seek medical care
Once an individual is experiencing the signs and symptoms of hyperventilation syndrome, he/she must seek immediate medical care in order to undergo testing for serious causes of over breathing.
Treatment for hyperventilation
In case an individual develops the signs and symptoms of hyperventilation syndrome, it is important to bring him/her to the emergency department at the nearest hospital to ensure that he/she is not experiencing serious causes of the symptoms. As for first aid care for hyperventilation syndrome, it is applicable only to individuals who have been diagnosed with the condition.
An individual who has been diagnosed with the syndrome are instructed by the doctor to try out breathing and relaxation exercises. If a family member or friend is experiencing the symptoms, instruct him/her to perform breathing or relaxation exercises in order to stop an attack from occurring.