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Hyperventillation on exercise - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: General Health
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 40 Questions
User :   I had one cup of caffinated coffee with 2 tablespoons vaniilla Coffee Mate Cream and no breakfast. Shortly after, I walked and ran on my treadmill for 50 minutes. During that 50 minutes the running consisted of a 1 minutes sprint followed by 2 mintures of brisk walking at 4.0 miles an hour and then back to a 1 minute sprint. I would say that over the course, I sprinted 16 times. After the 16th time I became extremely light-headed, dizzy and began hyperventalating, hands and feet became extremely tingly and I kept feeling like I was going to fall into unconsciencesness. What happened? And as I was feeling these symtoms afterwards, what, if anything should I have eaten, drank or did (e.g., kept walking around the house as a cool down or lay down)?

Came close to calling an ambulance, but kept questioning its necessity.
Doctor :   Hi
Doctor :   Let me read it
Doctor :   Please give your Age, Gender, Location, Occupation, Marital status, Height & Weight
User :   I am currently 49 years old, female, western massachusetts, married, 5' 2" and 188 pounds. As you can see this is part of a serious weight loss regime.
Doctor :   So, whatever exercise you have mentioned to me, is it a routine or is this
Doctor :   the first time that you done such a rigorous workout?
User :   This has actually happened 3 other times, but much less severe and lasted only 5 minutes. Today, the episode lasted over 45 minutes. It took me by surprise. The treadmill with interval sprints I have been doing for 2 months. I also workout with a trainer 3 times per week doing strength training. My diet is watched by a nutritionist and should be in line for the most part. My sleep is 7-8 hours per night on 5-6 nights out of the week.
Doctor :   This is nothing but exercise fatigue
Doctor :   you must have stressed
Doctor :   more than usaul or
Doctor :   you did not have a sufficient dinner
User :   I hadn't eaten a breakfast before, however, often I don't and then I begin with my meals after the treadmill. Should I assume that when I began to feel dizzy and light-headed that it frightened me so I began breathing harder and felt like I could stop breathing at any moment? I just wanted to be sure that I didn't do any damage to myself or set myself up for further incidents like this.
Doctor :   Did you get any other symptoms like chest pain or stomach ache?
User :   Today's incident, lasting 45 mintues before I could talk myself down to a relaxed mode and then I fell asleep on my bed for 5 hours. I did get 9 hours of sleep last night too. The only other symptoms I felt was a tightness around my mid-section--like my diaphram was contracting, or otherwise restricting any type of easy breathing.
User :   I am beginning to think that my solution may be to have a decent balanced breakfast, wait and hour to 1.5 hours and then exercise. I still wanted to be sure the answer was this simple and that I shouldn't be concerned about anything else.
Doctor :   Are you a known asthmatic?
User :   No
User :   Let me clarify. My regular doctor has given me Albeuterol (sp?) to keep in my purse for an as needed basis, but I have never used it nor felt I needed to.
User :   Lastly, after all this sleep between last night and this afternoon, I still feel quite weak and tired. This is not normal for me.
Doctor :   Do you feel difficulty in exhaling air when this happens?
User :   No, typically feel the inhale is strained as if I am not getting enough air in--why I think I was hyperventalating.
User :   I actually had myself breath in and out of a paper bag to see if that would get rid of the tingling in my hands and feet, but at times I felt almost sufficated by that and pulled it away from my face for a better oxygen intake.
User :   I wonder if I had just laid down and if I couldn't breath right, would I have simply passed out and then regained consciousness shortly after and have been fine? I think I was fighting losing the consciousness.
Doctor :   No, dont use the paper bag, this is not the type of hyperventilation that would recover from bag use
User :   Okay, so was it likely I could have passed out and then regained consciousness and been fine? My kids were there with me and quite concerned about mom which didn't help me calm down any faster.
Doctor :   Yes
Doctor :   Fainting is a natural response when ones BP falls or when the brain is not
Doctor :   receiving adequate Oxygen
Doctor :   The body would recover once it has assumed the supine posture
User :   Okay, thank you for your time. I won't worry about it anymore, it just that it was the most severe and longest lasting time I had experienced this and wanted to be sure of how to respond to something like this in the future, if it happens. Thanks again.
Doctor :   Next time this happens
Doctor :   just stop exercising, relax, breath easy
Doctor :   lie down
Doctor :   have a juice or sugar water
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