Hyperventilation attacks

When doctors can't find anything wrong with you

When doctors say that there's nothing wrong with you because all the tests come back negative, yet you still have sweaty hands, sweaty head, jelly legs, pounding heart and a strong urge to leave the room, then you might be having hyperventilation attacks – the kind that you see in comedies where the sufferer breathes into a paper bag. You don't have to have chest pain, shortness of breath or panic when you hyperventilate, but can have other random symptoms.

The reason a paper bag is used is because when you hyperventilate or breathe too fast or too deeply, you get rid of too much carbon dioxide (CO2). By breathing in and out of a small bag, you quickly replace the CO2 and that makes your symptoms go away.

I thought CO2 was harmful, and at best a waste gas

Thinking CO2 is dangerous is a common misconception that goes along with another incorrect idea that you need to get rid of the stale air in your lungs by breathing forcefully. In fact it is carbon dioxide's cousin, carbon monoxide (CO) that is bad for us, and CO2 is actually protective – the hormone of all hormones said Yandell Henderson, an American researcher and the vitamin of all vitamins said Konstantin Buteyko, developer of the Buteyko Breathing Techniques.

CO2 helps to regulate every part of your body, either directly or indirectly, and the reason that it's in your body in he first place is because you make it, along with water and energy when your tissue cells work. Everyone knows that we can't live without water and energy, and it's the same with carbon dioxide.

Breathing it in from a paper bag might by ok when you are having a hyperventilation attack, but ordinarily it isn't a good idea because we still need adequate supplies of oxygen. Instead, breathing properly is the best way to regulate this important gas. Find out more about the Buteyko method at a free information seminar near you.

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