Over-breathing, which is also known as hyperventilation, occurs when the depth and rate of breathing are in excess of the body’s needs.

Over-breathing is a perfectly normal reaction to any stressful situation e.g. a job interview or running away from danger. It may be accompanied by a racing heart, clammy or tingling hands. Generally, when this event has passed, breathing will return to a normal rate.

Sometimes, as a result of prolonged stress, anxiety or illness, a continual pattern of over-breathing can occur, whereby the breathing pattern does not return to a normal level. This affects the balance of the oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.

Additional information

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