Hyperventilation is enhanced breathing. This process is usually accompanied by symptoms of rapid, deep breathing and is usually the result of a panic attack or anxiety due to excessive stress or excitement. This reaction can also be provoked voluntarily (by rapid breathing) or due to a medical condition called metabolic acidosis. Although hyperventilation may seem like a terrifying phenomenon that can cause a person to panic even more, there are methods on how to cope and control this ailment.
Part 1 Symptoms
- 1 Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of hyperventilation. They may include one of the following phenomena:
- Chest pain
- Dry mouth
- Fainting state
- Cramps in arms and feet
- Numbness and pinching in the arms and around the mouth
- Heart palpitations
- Sleep disturbance
Method 2 Breastfeeding
- 1 Practice chest or stomach breathing while standing or lying on the floor with your knees bent.
- Place one hand on the stomach below the ribs and the other on the chest.
- Inhale deeply through your nose. Allow the mouth to push your stomach forward, but do not move your chest.
- Exhale through the lips with a bow, helping your hands slowly squeeze the air out of you. Repeat 3 to 10 times, measuredly inhaling and exhaling.
- 2 Slowly count to 7 when you are inhaling deeply, and slowly begin to count to 12 while exhaling. If it’s too hard for you, then count to 4 and 7, respectively, when you deeply inhale and exhale.
- 3 Curl your lips with a bow, as if you were going to whistle and exhale through your mouth. You can also pinch one nostril and exhale through the other nostril. Since air movement and oxygen uptake will be limited, the symptoms of hyperventilation are likely to be reversed.
Method 3 Using a Paper Bag
- 1 Hold the bag with your hands near your mouth and nose.
- 2 Take 6 to 12 breaths in this pack and you will need to start breathing normally again.
- 3 If symptoms persist, then alternate this method with chest breathing before you restore normal breathing.
Method 5 Helping Another
- 1 Signs of a hyperventilating person. You will notice it by rapid breathing and other symptoms described above.
- 2 Reassure someone who may be experiencing hyperventilation. Try to reassure this man, letting him know that everything will be fine and you will be with him to help him.
- 3 Sit next to this person. Stay with him.
- 4 Ask the person to breathe slower and take deeper breaths.
- 5 Ask the person to follow your breathing pattern. Demonstrate slow and deep breathing.
- 6 Call for help if you think that hyperventilation is not improving.
- If a person loses consciousness, then check his breathing and place him in a stable position on his side. Watch his condition before the ambulance arrives.
Method 6 Friction of the palms and feet
This method is not official, so do not hesitate to fix or expand this topic.
- 1 Rub the palms of the hands. First, rub your left palm against the right. Then repeat the opposite. Perform a total of 10-12 such repetitions.
- 2 Rub the sole. Rub your left foot with your right hand. Then rub your right foot with your right hand. Complete a total of 10-12 such frictions.
- 3 Expect calming breathing. A rubbing movement will help reduce hyperventilation and distract your attention.
What is pulmonary hyperventilation?
Hyperventilation (oxygen shock or pulmonary hyperventilation syndrome) is the definition of breathing too fast when the body needs an extra portion of oxygen. In this case, breathing is much deeper and faster than usual - the patient takes more than 20 breaths per minute and exhales a lot of oxygen.
At the same time, there is a decrease in the level of carbon dioxide in the blood (hypocapnia). The body is not able to make up for the deficiencies of carbon monoxide during inspiration, and its excessive loss leads to an increase in blood pH. As a result, this leads to hypoxia of the body, which can accelerate respiration, causing a further decrease in the content of carbon monoxide in the blood.
A hyperventilation attack can last even several hours, but, most often, it lasts for 20-30 minutes, for a patient these minutes seem like an eternity.
Symptoms of hyperventilation may appear while traveling by plane, hard physical work, or in stressful situations. Isolated cases of hyperventilation are not always cause for concern. Attention should be paid to recurring seizures, as they can indicate many diseases, such as asthma, lung cancer or heart disease and VVD.
Exacerbation of hyperventilation causes the following symptoms:
- tingling or impaired sensation of the limbs and the area around the mouth,
- muscle tremors, palpitations, dizziness, and visual disturbances appear.
The patient feels that he is not getting enough air. In addition, he may complain of chest pain, nausea, gas, bloating, or abdominal pain. In acute cases of seizures, hyperventilation can lead to loss of consciousness.
What happens with hyperventilation syndrome
When hyperventilation turns into a chronic syndrome of the disease, the body is constantly energized and the patient complains of headaches and dizziness, as well as visual impairment and tremor of the body. The above paresthesias also join neuromuscular symptoms. In addition, the patient feels tired, has problems with concentration, memory impairment, feels bewildered and struggles with visual impairment. Sweating, cold hands and feet, and sometimes urge to urinate are also characteristic. A significant change in respiration occurs after hyperventilation: the frequency and intensity increase.
During hyperventilation, functional disorders of the cardiovascular system are characteristic. If this is hyperventilation due to a mental disorder, the patient may experience nervousness, excitement, depression, sleep disorders, fear or tantrum.
Hyperventilation can be a symptom of a nervous breakdown. Often the disease takes the form of panic, especially in people suffering from neurosis, but can also occur in healthy individuals in situations of stress. The need for oxygen increases, which results in faster breathing. For some, this condition occurs as a typical reaction to other emotional states, such as depression or anger.
Causes of Pulmonary Hyperventilation
Oxygen shock can also occur at high altitudes (for example, during air travel), be caused by hard work, physical injuries, and also be a reaction to severe pain. Hyperventilation can also be a symptom of poisoning - for example, an overdose of drugs based on salicylic acid (aspirin).
Hyperventilation can also be caused by lung disease or cardiac dysfunction with VVD, heart attack, pulmonary embolism.
Other possible causes of hyperventilation:
- metabolic acidosis
- hepatic coma
- skull injury, cerebral hemispheres, or encephalitis,
- degenerative changes in the central nervous system.
Hyperventilation can also appear during pregnancy, as the effect of adapting the mother's respiratory system to a new state.
Important! Acute (sudden) hyperventilation is usually caused by severe stress, fear, or emotional upset. Chronic hyperventilation is more often the result of stress or depression, but may also indicate heart problems, IRR, asthma, emphysema, or lung cancer.
Hyperventilation of the lungs as a symptom of VSD
It must be remembered that frequent bouts of hyperventilation require consultation with a specialist, as they can lead to disorders of the cardiovascular system. In-depth diagnosis determines the presence of a deficiency of calcium and magnesium in the body, which can also cause an attack. Then it is necessary to introduce injections of these minerals in order to increase the carbon dioxide content in the blood.
The consequences of hyperventilation
The state of hyperventilation causes too large fluctuations in the level of carbon dioxide and leads to the development of respiratory alkalosis, i.e., a violation of the acid-base balance. The mentioned increase in blood pH occurs. At the same time, the excitability of neurons in the peripheral nerves increases, which is manifested by numbness of the face, arms and legs.
Involuntary cramps and muscle stiffness may occur. A further consequence of the reduction in carbon dioxide is a narrowing of the blood vessels of the brain. The level of blood flow through the brain decreases by 30-40%, which ultimately leads to cerebral hypoxia, which is manifested by impaired vision and dizziness, and even loss of consciousness. Therefore, hyperventilation of the lungs in children should cause an immediate reaction from adults.
First aid and treatment
First aid for an attack of hyperventilation should be aimed at calming the patient so that he can calmly normalize his breathing. However, with a panic attack this is not always easy, so it’s worth applying a few tips.
- Panic during an attack can exacerbate respiratory failure!
- First aid should be an attempt to reassure the patient so that he can calmly inhale and exhale air with his lips compressed.
- In order to slow the patient’s breathing rate, it is best to suggest that he breathes with you.
The patient can help breathing through a paper bag or in folded hands. Due to this, the concentration of carbon dioxide increases, which will not allow reducing its concentration in the body too quickly and will not allow loss of consciousness.
In such cases, calling an ambulance is usually not required. However, the patient should consult a doctor as soon as possible, who, after determining the cause of hyperventilation, will offer appropriate treatment.
Breath in a paper bag
This is a common method of interrupting a panic attack. Inhalation of previously exhaled air prevents the excessive removal of carbon dioxide from the body, which facilitates the normalization of its concentration in the blood and at the same time ensures the delivery of oxygen.
For many people, the described method also works for prevention - the very knowledge of having a package with them helps to reduce the frequency of seizures.
Attention! However, this method is applicable only for hyperventilation, which occurred on a background of stress! If the cause of oxygen shock is respiratory distress or VDS, this method can lead to a decrease in the already low level of oxygen in the blood, which in extreme cases causes a heart attack. These patients should not use the described technique! In their case, an effective and risk-free tool is psychological support and peace.
Breathing exercises, calm and relaxation
In a sitting position, try to breathe normally, do not draw in too much air, and do not hold your breath. As usual, that is, take about 1 breath every 6 seconds - 10 breaths per minute. Such a 10-minute session should be repeated 2 times during the day. Respiratory gymnastics allows the patient to breathe calmly, evenly and deeply.
- Physical activity relieves anxiety and adds self-confidence. When doing exercises, breathing acceleration is absolutely normal.
- Avoid risk situations. Everyone should independently determine the situations that cause hyperventilation attacks in a particular case and try to eliminate them from their lives.
- Avoid caffeine - it is a stimulant and a potential cause of hyperventilation. Therefore, you should limit the consumption of coffee, tea, cola and chocolate.
- Quit smoking. The negative effect of nicotine on the body is widely known, it has a stimulating effect.
Doctor's advice. After the first attack of hyperventilation, the specialist should determine the cause. Although this rarely happens, oxygen shock often indicates lung diseases (such as pneumonia), blood infections, poisoning, or a heart attack.
Learning about stress suppression and breathing techniques (meditation, yoga) can help. Effectively acupuncture is a great solution for chronic hyperventilation. Regular exercise (walking, running, cycling, etc.) also prevents hyperventilation. It is important to follow a proper diet, from which caffeine (stimulant) should be excluded. People who smoke should get rid of this bad habit.
The process of breathing and hyperventilation of the lungs
Hyperventilation of the lungs is a syndrome in which the blood is excessively saturated with oxygen, and the level of carbon dioxide, on the contrary, decreases. This happens when the person’s breathing becomes too frequent and deep. Normally, with the expansion and contraction of the lungs in a person, first of all, the diaphragm is activated - the muscle located between the chest and abdominal cavities. In the event that for some reason the body needs an increased oxygen content in the blood, for example, under the influence of hormones, the brain changes the breathing process a little. Now intercostal muscles are also involved in it, this increases the volume of the lungs and enables the blood to be better saturated with oxygen. For a short time, increased depth and respiratory rate may be vital. Due to this, with increased physical activity, our muscles can work adequately, receiving a sufficient amount of oxygen.
However, a certain amount of carbon dioxide must also enter the blood - in a healthy person, its content in the arterial flow can reach up to 7.5%. CO2 emissions from the air are negligible, but the body is able to extract it during the breakdown of nutrients and redirect it to the alveoli. When the respiratory rate increases, the gas balance is disturbed - the body takes too much oxygen from the air, but the concentration of carbon dioxide drops. Such violations are no less dangerous than a lack of oxygen, because against their background alkalosis develops - alkalization of blood.
The brain responds quickly to this situation by sending a signal to the respiratory center, which should reduce the frequency of inspirations. However, in some cases, a failure occurs, and such a command is evaluated by the body as the inability to breathe, which only exacerbates the situation. A person begins to consciously take deeper intermittent breaths.
Stress and other causes of respiratory problems
Most often, people who are prone to neurosis suffer from hyperventilation of the lungs. Such respiratory disorders are observed in 11% of patients, and most of them are women. Stress triggers the release of adrenaline, a hormone that leads to an increase in the frequency and depth of inspirations. At the same time, increased oxygen supply is not consumed, as during physical exertion, and the gas balance is quickly disturbed. Hyperventilation and psychological condition worsen, a person emotionally responds to growing symptoms and begins to breathe even more often. Hyperventilation often develops against the background of a panic attack, neurasthenia, tantrums, as a result of severe fright or an increased level of anxiety.
Other causes of respiratory failure are:
- Excessive physical activity (the syndrome is characteristic of athletes in competitions).
- Uncontrolled intake of certain drugs (gas exchange disorders occur against the background of intoxication of the body).
- Various metabolic disorders.
- An attack of bronchial asthma.
- Inflammatory processes in the lungs and other respiratory organs (against the background of infections or allergies).
- The use of energy, alcohol and drugs.
- Chronic heart failure.
Previously, doctors associated respiratory disorders with vegetovascular dystonia. But today, this diagnosis itself is considered obsolete, and its symptoms are attributed to other disorders and diseases.
Symptoms: increased respiratory rate, dizziness, and more
The main symptom of pulmonary hyperventilation is rapid breathing, severe shortness of breath and a feeling of suffocation. A person can hardly breathe, while his chest rises strongly, wheezing or whistling is often heard, a person can cough. Against this background, other signs of a violation of gas exchange are manifested:
- From the side of the brain and nervous system: severe dizziness, impaired vision and hearing, “flies” in front of the eyes and darkening in the eyes, in severe cases, a person loses consciousness.
- From the cardiovascular system: tachycardia and other arrhythmias, pain in the heart, pallor, tingling and pulling pains in the extremities (evidence of peripheral vascular spasm).
- From the musculoskeletal system: muscle weakness, gait disturbances, cramps sometimes appear.
- From the gastrointestinal tract: belching, bloating, subsequent diarrhea, nausea and vomiting also occur (most often they cause severe dizziness).
One of the characteristic symptoms of pulmonary hyperventilation is severe fear and fear of death. Often it is he who provokes a deterioration in the general condition and prolongation of the attack, since in a panic it is difficult to control breathing.
Первая помощь при гипервентиляции
The main task with hyperventilation of the lungs is to lower the level of oxygen in the blood. This will be the first aid to the victim. In order to restore gas balance, a person should take no more than one breath every 10 seconds. Co-breathing is very helpful when the caretaker breathes in and out with the patient. Thus, a person more easily catches the desired rhythm, relaxes, and the attack soon passes.
It should be understood that achieving such a rare respiratory rate if the patient is prone to panic is quite difficult. Therefore, it is possible to reduce the amount of oxygen entering the blood in other ways. Among them:
- Breathing through the nose with one blocked nostril (can be pressed with your finger).
- Breathing through the mouth, covering it with your hand or tightly compressing your lips.
- Breath in a paper bag. One of the most effective ways, because it allows a person not to block inspiratory breaths, but at the same time lower the level of oxygen, since the concentration of carbon dioxide in the packet gradually increases.
If the breathing process does not recover, or after the attack the other symptoms do not disappear, you need to call an ambulance as soon as possible. A person should consult a doctor if hyperventilation lasted more than a few minutes, attacks are repeated often, there is a history of diseases of the cardiovascular system and lungs, and allergies.