Syndrome of Chronic Hyperventilation

Dark coulds in the evening Chronic hyperventilation syndrome (chronic hyperventilation) is a physiological state characterized by chronic overbreathing or breathing more air than the medical-norm amount.

Normal minute ventilation at rest is about 6-7 L/min for a 70-kg man, as it was found in numerous studies done on healthy subjects (see the links and Table below).

Hyperventilation syndrome leads to reduced CO2 content in the alveoli of the lungs or alveolar hypocapnia. For most people, it also causes arterial hypocapnia (or CO2 deficiency in the arterial blood).

Minute ventilation rates (chronic diseases)

Condition Minute
Number of
All references or
click below for abstracts
Normal breathing 6 L/min - Medical textbooks
Healthy Subjects 6-7 L/min >400 Results of 14 studies
Heart disease 15 (+-4) L/min 22 Dimopoulou et al, 2001
Heart disease 16 (+-2) L/min 11 Johnson et al, 2000
Heart disease 12 (+-3) L/min 132 Fanfulla et al, 1998
Heart disease 15 (+-4) L/min 55 Clark et al, 1997
Heart disease 13 (+-4) L/min 15 Banning et al, 1995
Heart disease 15 (+-4) L/min 88 Clark et al, 1995
Heart disease  14 (+-2) L/min 30 Buller et al, 1990
Heart disease 16 (+-6) L/min 20 Elborn et al, 1990
Pulm hypertension 12 (+-2) L/min 11 D'Alonzo et al, 1987
Cancer 12 (+-2) L/min 40 Travers et al, 2008
Diabetes 12-17 L/min 26 Bottini et al, 2003
Diabetes 15 (+-2) L/min 45 Tantucci et al, 2001
Diabetes 12 (+-2) L/min 8 Mancini et al, 1999
Diabetes 10-20 L/min 28 Tantucci et al, 1997
Diabetes 13 (+-2) L/min 20 Tantucci et al, 1996
Asthma 13 (+-2) L/min 16 Chalupa et al, 2004
Asthma 15 L/min 8 Johnson et al, 1995
Asthma 14 (+-6) L/min 39 Bowler et al, 1998
Asthma 13 (+-4) L/min 17 Kassabian et al, 1982
Asthma 12 L/min 101 McFadden, Lyons, 1968
COPD 14 (+-2) L/min 12 Palange et al, 2001
COPD 12 (+-2) L/min 10 Sinderby et al, 2001
COPD 14 L/min 3 Stulbarg et al, 2001
Sleep apnea 15 (+-3) L/min 20 Radwan et al, 2001
Liver cirrhosis 11-18 L/min 24 Epstein et al, 1998
Hyperthyroidism 15 (+-1) L/min 42 Kahaly, 1998
Cystic fibrosis 15 L/min 15 Fauroux et al, 2006
Cystic fibrosis 10 L/min 11 Browning et al, 1990
Cystic fibrosis* 10 L/min 10 Ward et al, 1999
CF and diabetes* 10 L/min 7 Ward et al, 1999
Cystic fibrosis 16 L/min 7 Dodd et al, 2006
Cystic fibrosis 18 L/min 9 McKone et al, 2005
Cystic fibrosis* 13 (+-2) L/min 10 Bell et al, 1996
Cystic fibrosis 11-14 L/min 6 Tepper et al, 1983
Epilepsy 13 L/min 12 Esquivel et al, 1991
CHV 13 (+-2) L/min 134 Han et al, 1997
Panic disorder 12 (+-5) L/min 12 Pain et al, 1991
Bipolar disorder 11 (+-2) L/min 16 MacKinnon et al, 2007
Dystrophia myotonica 16 (+-4) L/min 12 Clague et al, 1994

Note that advanced stages of asthma can lead to lung destruction, ventilation-perfusion mismatch,
and arterial hypercapnia causing further reduction in body oxygen levels.

Health professionals and patientsPresence of hyperventilation syndrome in the sick is a common clinical finding owing to the fact that development of many chronic diseases is based on cell hypoxia. Many chronic diseases (including heart disease, diabetes, asthma, COPD, cancer, sleep apnea, obesity hyperventilation syndrome, liver cirrhosis, hyperthyroidism, cystic fibrosis, epilepsy, panic disorder, bipolar disorder, dystrophia myotonica) are possible only in people with hyperventilation syndrome and hyperventilation of the lungs or alveolar hyperventilation, as this Table proves. This is regardless silly ideas about overbreathing present in popular medical sources, such as Wikipedia: click here.

Syndrome of chronic hyperventilation prevalence

Chronic hyperventilation is also common in the general population these days. Normal minute ventilation values for modern "normal subjects" suggest that hyperventilation (20 medical studies) is present in over 90% of normal subjects (see links below). Their average minute ventilation is about 12 liters of air min at rest, while published studies devoted to normal minute ventilation in the healthy subjects found only 6-7 L/min.

Hyperventilation syndrome reduces blood supply and oxygen level for all vital organs of the human body. Hence, it is logical that sick people have poor results for their body-oxygen test (see results of studies below). There are many other negative effects related to symptoms of hyperventilation.

This YouTube video clip "Hyperventilation Syndrome" reviews main general ideas related to chronic overbreathing

Causes, symptoms and treatment of syndrome of chronic hyperventilation

Main causes of hyperventilation are lifestyle risk factors such sedentary lifestyle (lack of physical exercise), mouth breathing, chest breathing, poor posture, overeating, stress, ... Learn more:

Causes of hyperventilation

Common symptoms of hyperventilation include: bronchospasm, constipation, coughing, muscle cramps, anxiety, nasal congestion, sighing, shortness of breath, angina pain, ... Read more:

Symptoms of hyperventilation

Successful treatment of hyperventilation is based on those breathing exercises that reduce minute ventilation at rest and increase alveolar CO2 levels. Correction of lifestyle risk factors is necessary too. More info:

Treatment of hyperventilation

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