Hyperventilation is often viewed as a minor complaint that is easily addressed, but it can lead to respiratory alkalosis, one of four types of acid-base disorders. Normally, the body's serum pH falls between 7.35 and 7.45, but people with respiratory alkalosis have levels over 7.45. This triggers a host of medical issues that can cause various health crises if not handled quickly.
Hyperventilation is always the root cause of respiratory alkalosis. Hypoxia is the result of a disturbance in normal respiration, causing lowered oxygen in the blood due to pain, panic, fever, or another factor and leading to shortness of breath and abnormal levels of bicarbonate. The lungs use bicarbonate to create carbon dioxide, and the kidneys also play a role in this process, helping regulate the body’s pH. Hypoxic conditions give way to hyperventilation, which results in increased serum pH and respiratory alkalosis. Conversely, deep breathing can also lead to respiratory alkalosis by driving oxygen levels too high.
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