Brief Guide: How to Deal with Hyperventilation

Hyperventilation

Hyperventilation is breathing too fast or sometimes breathing deeper than usual. Normal breathing allows oxygen in and carbon dioxide out of the lungs. During hyperventilation, the balance is damaged by carbon dioxide leaving the body and oxygen not coming in.

The PH of blood gets changed when carbon dioxide levels reduce drastically leading to alkalosis. This can make someone faint and weak. Furthermore, you can learn more about this issue in an online first aid and CPR class. Meanwhile, here are some things you need to know.

Symptoms:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tingling of the fingers
  • Heart pounding
  • Trouble breathing
  • Anxiety
  • Headache

Causes

Hyperventilation is a symptom of different conditions or emotional distress such as:

Stress, Panic or Fear

Emotional distress is among the leading causes of hyperventilation. A study shows the most common additional symptom was fear, or if one had a psychiatric condition.

Infection

Infections like pneumonia cause fluid buildup in the lungs that can lead to fast breathing.

Head injury

A person with a head injury may have trouble controlling their breathing, which may lead to hyperventilation.

Lung diseases

Lung diseases like asthma can make breathing more difficult as the airways narrow, and make breathing difficult.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

This is caused by the body burning through fat for energy due to lack of insulin. Likewise, if the body burns through a lot of fat, byproducts known as ketones build up. One of the symptoms of this is hyperventilation.

High Altitude

Oxygen levels at high altitudes decreases which may lead to problems breathing, including hyperventilation.

Diagnosis

Since diabetes has several causes, a doctor is essential to reviewing symptoms in order to correctly give a diagnosis.

Blood tests and a chest x-ray could help diagnose causes such as infection.
A gas test to measure the amount of oxygen to carbon dioxide can be used to check if the carbon dioxide level is low

Treatment

Treatment helps slow down breathing to the normal rate. Doctors treat the main cause of the hyperventilation in order to prevent it from happening again.

Likewise, in situations where hyperventilation is caused by psychological issues treatment may include:

  • Cognitive therapy
  • Anti-anxiety medication
  • Talk therapy

Home Remedies

For mild hyperventilation caused by stress or anxiety, one can try:

  • Belly breathing: a person tries to breathe from the diaphragm instead of chest
  • Nostril breathing: a person breathes, alternating between different nostrils.
  • Lying down and trying to relax
  • Meditation to slow the breathing

When Emergency Care is Needed

If the hyperventilation is serious or if it is the first time a person gets it, it is advised to seek medical attention immediately.
Furthermore, the following are symptoms that should not be ignored:

  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Blue lips, fingers or skin
  • Chest pain
  • Fever

Moreover, there are several issues that can cause hyperventilation and some issues like diabetic ketoacidosis is a medical emergency. Life-threatening or severe cases usually occur with additional symptoms.

It is highly recommended for a person hyperventilating to try and breath through the nose or from the belly in order to slow the breathing. Also, if it is caused by a medical condition, treating it will stabilize the person’s breathing.

If the cause of the hyperventilation is emotional, reducing stress will help. All in all, it is vital to find take up online first aid and CPR class to learn more about handling emergencies.

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