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Usually, breathing is an involuntary reflex. Most people go for long periods without any awareness of the rate at which they are breathing. This is because the human body automatically regulates breathing depending on the need for oxygen at that time. Hyperventilation occurs when the normal pattern of breathing is interrupted. The reaction can have various causes, both physiological and psychological. People who experience frequent episodes may require medical treatment.

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1. What is Hyperventilation?

This occurs when a person breathes too rapidly. During an episode, the individual breathes out more air than he or she is breathing in. Therefore, the quantities of gases in the bloodstream becomes unbalanced -- the level of carbon dioxide becomes too low. When levels of carbon dioxide fall, blood vessels constrict. This narrows the vessels carrying blood to the brain and reduces the amount of blood that can reach this vital organ.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.