Section I. HYPERVENTILATION SYNDROME
a. Hyperventilation. Hyperventilation, a common response to psychological
stress, is a condition that develops as a result of an individual breathing too deeply and
too rapidly. Blood pH (hydrogen ion) is raised above normal, and the body experiences
alkalosis (a condition in which the blood pH is between 7.45 and 8.00). By breathing as
rapidly as possible for three to five minutes, a person can bring on the signs and
symptoms of hyperventilation deliberately.
b. Hyperventilation Syndrome. Patients who are anxious and often feel
fatigue, nervousness, and dizziness may suffer from hyperventilation syndrome. The
individual may breathe rapidly, breathing out so much carbon dioxide that he becomes
unconscious. Unconscious, he begins to breath normally again, the carbon dioxide
level becomes normal, and he regains consciousness. When the patient becomes
nervous and anxious again, he is likely to experience hyperventilation syndrome again.
The following signs/symptoms are characteristic of a hyperventilation syndrome
b. Tachypnea (excessively high rate of breathing [for adults, over 25 respirations
c. "Unable to catch breath."
e. Tingling or numbness around mouth or in hands and feet.
f. Carpopedal spasm (spasm of muscles in the carpus [the joint between the
hand and the wrist] and/or spasm of muscles in the foot).