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The effects of hyperventilation syndrome

The changed pH-value (acidity) in the blood has a number of unwanted effects. It impacts the working of the central nervous system and the red blood cells cannot properly unload their oxygen to the body’s tissues. In addition, the muscular cells start to produce lactic acid in an attempt to restore the pH-value of the body. These effects cause muscle pain, an altered metabolism, exhaustion, depression, an increased release of histamine and thus allergic reactions, increased heart rate, panic and gasping for air. The body and its processes are severely impacted because of the alkaline condition.

Hyperventilation explained

The most common symptoms

As with other disorders, not every patient suffers from each symptom equally. However, almost without exception, the following symptoms are present:

  • varying degrees of fatigue/weariness
  • hypersensitivity to stimuli of the environment, irritability in relation to daily obligations: “I want to, but I can’t”
  • sleeping disorders
  • concentration and memory disorders
  • trembling
  • sweating, sense of heat surges going through the body
  • (claustro-) phobic elements, fear of dying, panic
  • light, uneasy feeling in the head (dizziness)
  • tight feeling in the chest, gasping for air
  • fear of losing consciousness, fear of going crazy
  • heart pounding
  • pain, tightness in the chest that sometimes radiates out to the arms
  • blurred vision, hearing sounds from afar
  • a weak feeling in the legs
  • cold or tingling hands and feet
  • digestive problems

When does one experience these symptoms?

These symptoms typically occur in certain situations and can therefore cause panic or trigger phobias. Some patients wake up in the middle of the night with these symptoms, others get it when they are watching TV, or more commonly some experience the symptoms after a period of heightened activity. The majority of people suffering from hyperventilation experience their symptoms in busy malls, in the queue in the supermarket, in full trams or buses, in elevators, in tunnels, in cinemas and theatres, etc.


Read about how a doctor can diagnose chronic hyperventilation

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