What Are the Different Symptoms of Hyperventilation?

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  • Written By: Rhonda Rivera
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Common symptoms of hyperventilation are over-breathing, light-headedness, and dizziness. Numbness and tingling around the head, mouth, and fingers is also common, and some people also suffer from sleep disturbances, bloating, and belching. Some people hyperventilate much more often than others. A lot of people hyperventilate occasionally when experiencing something traumatic, but hyperventilating often should be brought to a doctor’s attention. Experiencing rapid breathing for the first time, however, is considered a medical emergency.

The onset of hyperventilation is usually characterized as deep breathing or over-breathing. Due to the extra carbon dioxide in the person’s body, he or she begins to feel the common symptoms of hyperventilation. Normally, the person would exhale the carbon dioxide, but the quick, deep breathing keeps bringing in more and not enough is exhaled. Returning his or her carbon dioxide levels to normal is the goal of treating hyperventilation, which involves calming the person down and encouraging regular breaths.

Disturbed sleep, bloating, and belching can also occur when a person hyperventilates. These symptoms are sometimes dismissed at first because the person’s hyperventilation problem is not obvious. They are also not as common as the usual dizziness, light-headedness, and tingling symptoms of hyperventilation. It is possible to breathe quicker and deeper than normal without realizing it.


As a person hyperventilates, he or she usually experiences a light-headed feeling, sometimes accompanied by dizziness. Moving quickly can make this symptom more obvious and increase the chances of falling and getting injured. When experiencing dizziness, it is best to sit down and stay still until it passes, rather than risk injury.

Preventing hyperventilation usually involves treating a person’s anxiety. This might involve prescribing anxiety medications, especially if the hyperventilation happens often. To get such a prescription, a person must visit a health professional to have him or her assess the situation. In some cases, a doctor may induce hyperventilation to observe the full range of the patient’s symptoms and how easily he or she begins to over-breathe.

A person who is hyperventilating for the first time should try to get help as soon as possible. Even if he or she has hyperventilated before, it is still considered a medical emergency if the person is bleeding, has symptoms of hyperventilation in addition to unrelated symptoms, or is in pain. Rapid breathing without other hyperventilation symptoms can be an indicator of infection, disease, or a heart or lung disorder.



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