Hyperventilation Syndrome

Well, I know what's wrong with me now, at long last. Hyperventilation Syndrome. For several years now, I've been asking my doctor to check me for neurological disorders/diseases such as MS, epilepsy and others. I have multiple symptoms as follows: dizziness+shortness of breath+blurred vision+confusion+tingling+numbness+tinnitus and others.

I am so sick and tired of having these episodes, which are now almost daily, and often happen when I'm exercising, singing, talking, cooking, cleaning or working at the computer. I decided to compile all of my symptoms and Google them all at once. The first thing that came up was Hyperventilation Syndrome. To my surprise, the more I read about it, the more I realized that's exactly what's happening to me.

Interestingly, HVS is recognized by doctors. Hooray! The only problem is, the patient and the doctor both need to be smart enough to put the constellation of multiple symptoms together. Once the symptoms are together, the doctor can do a quick in-office test (which I actually did on myself although I do NOT recommend that anyone reading this do it!!). The in-office test induces hyperventilation, and within seconds after inducing hyperventilation all of the symptoms miraculously appear.

Over the past few days, since discovering this information, I have paid very close attention to my breathing. Did you know you are only supposed to breathe between 6 and 12 times per minute? I was breathing nearly triple or quadruple that. Did you also know that your stomach is supposed to expand when you breathe properly (not your chest). If your chest expands, then you are breathing incorrectly -- shallow breathing.

Now, if I start to feel dizzy (which is usually my first symptom) I "stop, drop and flop". I found that on several web sites. Stop what you're doing; drop your shoulders; and relax.

Breathing should be 7 counts in with stomach expanding; and up to 11 counts out. If you run out of breath before the count of 11, you've got some homework to do.

Yes, how embarrassing to learn that I don't know how to breathe!!! Yet, this syndrome is apparently very, very common, and the explanation for most patients who present with what appear to be neurological symptoms.

A final word about me specifically. I have these "attacks" when my period starts. I have often thought they were seizures, but no neurologist has been able to diagnose me with them. More recently, I thought they were panic attacks. And then I thought it was hypoglycemia. As I got closer and closer I knew I was on the right track. Now that I have found out about HVS, I have learned that chronic HVS can cause seizures called pseudo-seizures. It also causes fainting spells.

I am now 100% satisfied that I don't have a true neurological disorder such as MS or epilepsy or anything else. I am simply not breathing correctly. What a relief!


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