Chronic hyperventilation syndrome?
April 17, 2007 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have personal experience with chronic hyperventilation syndrome?

My boyfriend has what I think (after many minutes of intense Interweb research) might be chronic hyperventilation syndrome. I've read a bunch about it today, so I get the gist of it and its causes and effects, but has anyone here ever had it and found successful treatment?

I was surprised to read that breathing into a bag is now contraindicated, and this is the method he usually uses to deal with it. Other than that I'm not sure what, if any, "home remedies" we can try. He is on beta blockers and anti-anxiety meds already and has been for a long time.

His episodes are usually for several hours each day for a couple three days or so, then not for a few weeks, then back again.

I am going to beg and plead with him to see a doc in the very, very near future, like hopefully this week, but I wanted to give him some good old AskMe input from someone who may be dealing with this. Thanks so much.
posted by tristeza to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
 
Is holding your breath contraindicated? It seems like it would be the same thing, but that's what I do.
posted by unknowncommand at 3:25 PM on April 17, 2007


I didn't see that mentioned, but he tries that, too, sometimes. Kinda works for a minute.
posted by tristeza at 3:26 PM on April 17, 2007


Have you considered that this is stress/tension/anxiety related? I am not familiar with "chronic hyperventilation syndrome," but I am familiar with chronic hyperventialation syndrome (if you catch my drift) and I think it is one of the things that Dr. John Sarno thinks is mostly psychosomatic. You should check out The Mind Body Perscription. Sarno (MD) is an amazing doctor who speaks about how everyday stress manifests itself in physical ailments. He is a traditionally trained allopathic physician (i.e. not a naturopath or at all "new agey" if that freaks you out) and I think is really worth checking out.

On the personal side, my mom had chronic hyperventilation problems. Then she quit her job on a pediatric oncology ward (this was in the 1970's when most kids diagnosed with cancer died) and her breathing problems stopped almost immediately. Again, I think this speaks to what Dr. Sarno says.
posted by sneakin at 3:48 PM on April 17, 2007


Thanks, sneakin. I am positive it's related to his anxiety disorder, but at the same time am hoping that *something* will work to treat it independently of more anti-anxiety meds! :)
posted by tristeza at 4:13 PM on April 17, 2007


If these episodes are panic attacks, I would suggest menthylated cough drops. They make my breathing passages feel more open and relieve my anxiety about not being able to get enough air. Anecdotally, I've spoken with several other people that have discovered this independently. And they don't dope you up like meds. YMMV.
posted by kamikazegopher at 5:04 PM on April 17, 2007


I had dyspnea, which one doctor diagnosed as a result of a mini-panic attack (which I never thought was right). Yoga, and its associated breathing exercises, did the trick for me, but I had a pretty mild case. Seconding the stress/anxiety angle as something to look at, though.
posted by mikeyk at 7:52 PM on April 17, 2007


tristeza, I totally hear you but I was not trying to suggest that more anxiety meds will do the trick! I would begin reading that Sarno book because even beginning to seriously think about and understand how and why your physical maladies are related to your anxiety can help.

Also, what about some breathing exercises?
posted by sneakin at 4:00 AM on April 18, 2007


IANAD, but this sets off some alarm bells for me. He should see an actual doctor and rule out some non-anxiety-related, non-lung-related stuff. Mefi medical people, am I correct in thinking that hyperventilation can be caused by metabolic acidosis? If so, this could be a symptom of a kidney problem, an endocrine problem, diabetes...

He should see a doctor.
posted by jennyjenny at 11:26 AM on April 18, 2007


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