Hyperventilation

Hyperventilation Symptoms & Signs

Medical Author:

Related
Symptoms & Signs

Hyperventilation refers to overbreathing, in which ventilation exceeds the metabolic demand, and its related physiological consequences. Excessive breathing can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness, shortness of breath, a sense of unsteadiness, muscle spasms in the hands and feet, and a tingling feeling around the mouth and fingertips. All of these symptoms are the result of abnormally low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood caused by overbreathing.

The term hyperventilation syndrome (HVS) is sometimes used to describe the effects of hyperventilation observed in an emergency department setting. Many acute (sudden onset) cases of hyperventilation arise from panic, anxiety, and other emotional conditions. Hyperventilation, particularly chronic hyperventilation (that persists over time), can also be due to a range of medical conditions.

The opposite of hyperventilation is termed hypoventilation (underventilation).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/1/2012

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.

REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Causes of Hyperventilation
    • Anemia Anemia is the condition of having less than the normal number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin...learn more »
    • Anxiety Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Anxiety Article
      • Generalized anxiety disorder facts
      • What is anxiety?
      • What are the types of anxiety disorders?
      • What are anxiety symptoms and signs?
      • What is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)?
      • How common is generalized anxiety disorder?
      • Are other mental health diagnoses associated with generalized anxiety disorder?
      • What are causes and risk factors for generalized anxiety disorder?
      • How do health-care professionals diagnose generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)?
      • What types of specialists treat generalized anxiety disorder?
      • What is the treatment for anxiety?
      • What are the side effects of anxiety medications?
      • What are complications of generalized anxiety disorder?
      • Is it possible to prevent anxiety?
      • What is the prognosis of generalized anxiety disorder?
      • Are there support groups for those with generalized anxiety disorder?
      • Where can people find additional information on generalized anxiety disorder?
    • Asthma Asthma is a condition in which hyperreactive airways constrict and result in symptoms like wheezing, coughing, and shortness of...learn more »
      In This Article
      Asthma Article
      • What is asthma?
      • What causes asthma?
      • What are the different types of asthma?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of asthma?
      • How is asthma diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for asthma?
      • What is an asthma action plan?
      • What is the prognosis for asthma?
      • Can asthma be prevented?
    • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Congestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease,...learn more »
    • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung condition caused by smoking tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke,...learn more »
      In This Article
      COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Article
      • COPD facts
      • What is the definition of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
      • What causes COPD?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of COPD?
      • What increases your risk for developing COPD?
      • What are the four stages of COPD?
      • What other diseases or conditions contribute to COPD?
      • What kind of doctor treats COPD?
      • When to Seek Medical Care for COPD
      • How is COPD diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for COPD?
      • What lifestyle changes (diet, exercise) and home remedies and care are recommended for people with COPD?
      • What medications treat COPD?
      • What other supplemental therapies help treat COPD complications and symptoms?
      • What surgery is available to treat COPD?
      • Can COPD be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis for a person with COPD?
    • Costochondritis Costochondritis is inflammation of the cartilage where the ribs attach to the sternum. Tietze syndrome affects the same region of...learn more »
      In This Article
      Costochondritis Article
      • What is costochondritis?
      • What causes costochondritis?
      • What are symptoms of costochondritis, and what is Tietze's syndrome?
      • How are costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome?
      • What is the prognosis for costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome?
      • Can costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome be prevented?
    • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in the deep veins, and can be caused by broken bones, trauma to a limb, immobility,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Article
      • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) facts
      • What is deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
      • What are the causes of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
      • What are the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
      • When should I seek medical care for deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
      • What kind of doctor treats DVT?
      • How is deep vein thrombosis diagnosed (DVT)?
      • What is the treatment for deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
      • What medications treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
      • Surgery for deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
      • What are the complications of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
      • Can deep vein thrombosis (DVT) be prevented?
    • Fever Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not...learn more »
      In This Article
      Fever Article
      • Fever facts
      • What is a fever?
      • What causes a fever?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of a fever?
      • How is a fever diagnosed?
      • How should someone take a temperature for fever?
      • What is the treatment for a fever?
      • When should someone seek medical care for a fever?
      • What kind of doctors treat a fever?
      • What are complications of a fever?
      • What is the prognosis for a fever?
      • Is it possible to prevent a fever?
      • Where can people find more information about fevers?
    • Fitness Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of disease. Regular exercise can also reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety....learn more »
      In This Article
      Fitness Article
      • The importance of physical activity and fitness
      • Why should I be active?
      • Can everyone benefit from physical activity?
      • What are the recommendations for increasing fitness for youth, adults, and seniors?
      • How do I get started with a fitness plan?
      • When is a medical evaluation necessary?
      • How can I make physical activity a part of my life?
      • What are the components of physical fitness?
      • Fitness terms
    • Heart Attack Heart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack...learn more »
      In This Article
      Heart Attack Article
      • Heart attack facts
      • What is a heart attack?
      • What causes a heart attack?
      • What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
      • What are the complications of a heart attack?
      • What are the risk factors for atherosclerosis and heart attack?
      • How is a heart attack diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for heart attack?
      • What are the risk factors for heart attack in women?
      • What are the symptoms of heart attack in women and how is heart attack diagnosed?
      • How is heart attack in women treated?
      • What about hormone therapy and heart attack in women?
      • What is new in heart attack?
    • Hyperthyroidism Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone resulting from an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include increased...learn more »
      In This Article
      Hyperthyroidism Article
      • Hyperthyroidism definition and facts
      • What is hyperthyroidism?
      • What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?
      • What causes hyperthyroidism?
      • What is graves' disease?
      • What is thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid)?
      • What are other causes of hyperthyroidism?
      • Which types of doctors treat hyperthyroidism?
      • How is hyperthyroidism diagnosed?
      • How is medications treat hyperthyroidism?
      • Medications that treat symptoms of hyperthyroidism
      • Antithyroid drugs for hyperthyroidism
      • Radioactive iodine for hyperthyroidism
      • Surgery for hyperthyroidism
      • What should I do if I think I have hyperthyroidism?
    • Meningitis Encephalitis is a brain inflammation that causes sudden fever, vomiting, headache, light sensitivity, stiff neck and back,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Meningitis Article
      • Encephalitis and meningitis facts
      • What is encephalitis?
      • What causes encephalitis?
      • What are encephalitis symptoms and signs?
      • Is encephalitis contagious?
      • Is it possible to prevent encephalitis? Is there an encphalitis vaccine?
      • What is meningitis?
      • What causes meningitis?
      • What are meningitis symptoms and signs?
      • What is encephalomyelitis?
      • How are encephalitis and meningitis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment of encephalitis and meningitis?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook), and what are the complications for patients with encephalitis or meningitis?
      • Is meningitis contagious?
      • Is it possible to prevent meningitis? Is there a meningitis vaccine?
    • Panic Attacks Panic attacks are sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. These episodes can occur at any time, even during sleep....learn more »
      In This Article
      Panic Attacks Article
      • Panic attack facts
      • What are panic attacks?
      • Are panic attacks serious?
      • What are causes and risk factors for panic attacks?
      • What are panic attack symptoms and signs in adults, teens, and children?
      • How do health-care professionals diagnose panic disorder? What types of doctors treat this condition?
      • What is the treatment for panic attacks? What medications treat panic attacks?
      • What are complications of untreated panic attacks?
      • What is the prognosis for panic disorder?
      • Is it possible to prevent panic attacks?
    • Pleural Effusion Pleural effusion is a buildup of fluid in the chest or on the lungs. There are two types of pleural effusion, trandsudate and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pleural Effusion Article
      • What is pleural effusion?
      • What are the causes of pleural effusion?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of pleural effusion?
      • What are the risk factors for pleural effusion?
      • How is pleural effusion diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for pleural effusion?
      • What are the complications of pleural effusion?
      • Can pleural effusion be prevented?
    • Pneumonia Pneumonia is inflammation of the lungs caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. Symptoms and signs include cough, fever, shortness...learn more »
    • Pneumothorax A pneumothorax is free air in the chest outside the lung, that causes the lung to collapse (collapsed lung). There are two types...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pneumothorax Article
      • Pneumothorax facts
      • What is a pneumothorax?
      • What are the types of pneumothorax?
      • What causes a pneumothorax?
      • Who is at risk for pneumothorax?
      • What is tension pneumothorax?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of pneumothorax?
      • How is pneumothorax diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for pneumothorax?
      • What is the pprognosis of pneumothorax?
    • Pulmonary Edema Pulmonary edema (swelling or fluid in the lungs) can either be caused by cardiogenic causes (congestive heart failure, heart...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pulmonary Edema Article
      • Pulmonary edema facts
      • What is pulmonary edema?
      • What causes pulmonary edema?
      • What are the risk factors for pulmonary edema?
      • What are the symptoms of pulmonary edema?
      • When should I seek medical care for pulmonary edema?
      • How is pulmonary edema diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for pulmonary edema?
      • What are the complications of pulmonary edema?
      • How can pulmonary edema be prevented?
    • Sepsis Sepsis (blood poisoning) is a potentially deadly infection with signs and symptoms that include elevated heart rate, low or high...learn more »
      In This Article
      Sepsis Article
      • Sepsis (blood poisoning) facts
      • What is blood poisoning?
      • What is sepsis?
      • Why are there so many diseases with "sepsis," "septic," "septicemia," or "blood poisoning" in their name?
      • What causes sepsis?
      • What are the risk factors for sepsis?
      • What are sepsis (blood poisoning) symptoms and signs?
      • How do health-care professionals diagnose sepsis?
      • What is the treatment for sepsis?
      • What types of specialists treat sepsis?
      • What is the prognosis with sepsis?
      • What are the complications of sepsis?
      • Is it possible to prevent sepsis (blood poisoning)?
      • What are some additional sources for information on sepsis (blood poisoning)?
    • Shock (Medical) Medical shock is a life-threatening medical condition. There are several types of medical shock, including: septic shock,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Shock (Medical) Article
      • Shock facts
      • What is shock?
      • What are the types of shock?
      • What are the causes of shock?
      • What are the symptoms of shock?
      • When should I seek medical care for shock?
      • What is the treatment for shock?
      • Can shock be prevented?
      • What is the outlook for shock?
    • Stress Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Stress Article
      • Stress facts
      • What is stress?
      • A brief history of stress
      • What are the signs and symptoms of poorly managed stress?
      • Who is most vulnerable to stress? What are the risk factors for stress?
      • Teen stress
      • What is the healthy response to stress?
      • How does the response to stress work?
      • What is the role of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (grouping) in stress?
      • What is the role of the locus coeruleus in stress?
      • How do the connections in the brain work in stress?
      • What do we know about using (activating) and overusing our internal systems that respond to stress?
      • What are the effects of stress on medical and psychological conditions?
      • Conclusions about the effects of stress
      • What can people do for stress management? What are home remedies to combat stress symptoms?
      • What's in the future for stress?
    • Stroke A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding...learn more »
      In This Article
      Stroke Article
      • Stroke facts
      • What is a stroke?
      • What are the different types of stroke?
      • What causes a stroke?
      • What are the risk factors for stroke?
      • What is a transient ischemic attack (TIA)?
      • What are the warning signs of a stroke?
      • What are the symptoms of a stroke?
      • How is a stroke diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for stroke?
      • What is the prognosis for stroke?
      • Is recovery after a stroke possible?
      • What is stroke rehabilitation?
      • Can strokes be prevented?
Other Causes of Hyperventilation
  • Acute Pain
  • Chest Wall Injury
  • Central Nervous System Disturbances
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis
  • Drug Overdose
  • Infection
  • Lactic Acidosis
  • Medications
  • Metabolic Acidosis
  • Mountain Sickness
Examples of Medications for Hyperventilation


Symptoms & Signs A-Z List