Hyperventilation symptoms

What are symptoms of hyperventilation? What is hyperventilation and how to treat and prevent hyperventilation?

What is hyperventilation?

Hyperventilation literally means increased breathing. People breathe faster and deeper than normal when hyperventilating. Each time you breathe, you get oxygen that your body needs at that moment for various processes. With this physical processes occurs carbon dioxide, which we exhale again. If you breathe too fast or too deep, there will be an excess of oxygen and too much carbon dioxide is exhaled. This leaves not enough carbon dioxide in the blood and that upsets the body's processes. This gives a variety of symptoms, although not serious, but can be very unpleasant. Hyperventilation usually occurs under psychological pressure, stress or overexertion. It has nothing to do with heart or lung disorders and although it is very annoying, it is not dangerous.

Hyperventilation symptoms

What are symptoms you can get with hyperventilation? One can get a cramped feeling, palpitations, tingling hands and feet, sweat, or get a tight feeling in the breast area. A hyperventilation attack could cause a stomach ache, diarrhea, headache or feeling like you have the flu. If you have an attack of acute hyperventilation, can be very scary, because you can get the feeling that you are suffocating. Symptoms can be that the muscles of the arms and calves are cramping up, resulting in involuntary and uncontrolled movements. If you do not understand what is going on, you can panic. So the breathing and the attack become even more severe.

Hyperventilation prevention

To avoid hyperventilation, it is wise to check when an attack occurs. What were you doing at that moment or what happened at that time? You will learn to recognize the associated symptoms that way and you can take action to prevent an attack.

Hyperventilation breathing exercises

It is wise to do breathing exercises if you ever had a hyperventilation attack. Breathing with your belly is the best way of breathing. This is usually less deep than the chest breathing. This is something not everyone does automatically, so you will have to do it consciously. With a good belly breathing your chest may hardly go up and down.

Keeping your breathing under control

By consciously breathing is easier to keep your breath under control, what can prevent a panic attack during a hyperventilation. In reality this is quite disappointing, because the symptoms like heart palpitations and chest pressure are very scary. Then a plastic or paper bag can help. You keep it in front of your nose and mouth during a attack. The carbon dioxide that you exhale will then go into the bag and will be inhaled again, so that it can come back in the blood again. Then the symptoms of hyperventilation are often gone again.


Nowadays many pharmacists carry an inhaler device, what is very simple but very effective against hyperventilating. It is small and therefore very easy to carry with you and also easy to clean under a faucet. 

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