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Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Causes of Hyperventilation

Causes of Hyperventilation

Topic Overview

Hyperventilation symptoms can be similar to symptoms that are caused by another problem. Hyperventilation can also be directly caused by:

  • A medical condition or disease. Examples include:
    • Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
    • A blood clot, such as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolus.
    • Heart failure.
    • Fluid in the lungs, such as pulmonary edema.
    • Infection, such as pneumonia.
    • Scarring of the lungs, such as pulmonary fibrosis.
    • Lung disease.
    • Panic disorder.
    • Thyroid problems, such as Graves' disease and hyperthyroidism.
  • A rapid increase in altitude.
  • Exercise.
  • Fever.
  • Ingestion or overdose of drugs, including amphetamine, aspirin, asthma medicines, cocaine, iron, LSD, or methamphetamine.
  • Nervous system problems, such as head injuries, encephalitis, meningitis, or stroke.
  • Physical problems that cause pressure on or within the chest, such as:
    • Chest wall injury.
    • Collapsed lung (pneumothorax).
    • Pregnancy.
    • Severe abdominal fluid retention (ascites).
  • Situations where there is a psychological advantage for a person to have a sudden, dramatic illness.

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