Using Hyperventilation to Improve Cardiovascular Performance

Hyperventilation Causes:

1) Hypoxia (Low Oxygen Content):

Hypoxic is defined as “having low or very little oxygen content” [3]. Low levels of oxygen are usually caused by physical exhaustion, drugs, alcohol use, lack of sleep and other factors. When someone suffers from hypoxia they have a decreased ability to perform at their peak level due to the reduced amount of energy available. There are several ways to cause hypoxia. Some of them include:

a) Physical Exhaustion:

The most common way to cause low oxygen content is physical exhaustion. If someone does not get enough rest, if they do not eat properly, if they drink too much alcohol or smoke then there will be less energy available for the body. They may suffer from fatigue and even fall asleep during the day time.

b) Drugs:

Some drugs like caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and others can affect the brain’s ability to produce energy. These substances can cause a decrease in the amount of oxygen available for the body. A person may feel tired all through out the day and night. Other than that it is difficult to tell what effects these substances may have on your performance because they are so varied.

c) Lack of Sleep:

Not getting enough sleep can also cause a decrease in oxygen. This is especially common with students during midterms or finals week. If you do not get enough sleep your mind will not be able to work properly, you may yawn repeatedly, feel tired and fall asleep during the day time. Some people cannot cope with lack of sleep and begin to suffer from sleep apnea.

d) Physical Activity:

Sometimes the human body needs rest. If you engage in heavy physical labor or exercise for too long of a period then your body will begin to suffer from oxygen deprivation as it diverts most of the blood flow to your muscles in order to keep them functioning.

It is important to not that severe oxygen deprivation can result in death.

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2) Sleep Apnea:

Some people have a serious sleeping disorder called sleep apnea. This is a condition in which the brain stops and starts the process of breathing. Many people with this condition do not even realize that they have it. During the night a person suffering from this disorder may stop breathing anywhere from ten seconds to two minutes. This can result in serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, increased risk of diabetes and more.

Sleep apnea has also been known to lower human growth hormone (HGH) levels by as much as 90%.

Most people with sleep apnea are overweight and middle-aged, but it can strike anyone at any age. It is believed to be caused by physical abnormalities in the face and neck. Treatment for this condition includes sleeping in a recliner instead of a bed, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), and surgery.

Sleep apnea has been linked to numerous diseases and conditions including:

High blood pressure

Heart disease




3) Sleep Deprivation:

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This is a condition in which a person does not get enough sleep. It can be caused by several reasons or a combination of them. Some of these reasons include stress, an uncomfortable sleeping environment, and even restless leg syndrome. Not receiving enough sleep can cause numerous health risks such as:



Heart disease

High blood pressure

Increased Risk of Obesity and Diabetes


Insomnia is a condition in which a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both. It is generally caused by stress, anxiety or an uncomfortable sleeping environment. Insomnia can also be caused by certain medications. It can be very frustrating, especially if it is caused by stress or anxiety. There are a few ways to deal with it such as using yoga, meditation and other relaxation techniques.

It is also important to make sure your sleeping environment is as comfortable as possible. If necessary, you may also want to talk to your doctor about the possibility of changing your medication.

4) Restless Leg Syndrome:

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Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which you have an uncontrollable urge to move your legs. This can happen when you are at rest or not, but it is more common when you are trying to fall asleep or while you are sleeping. The symptoms of RLS can come and go, but once you have it you are likely to have it for the rest of your life.

RLS has many possible causes such as:


Carpal tunnel syndrome


Guillain-Barre syndrome

Lead poisoning

Multiple sclerosis

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Parkinson’s disease

Iron deficiency anemia and others.

Pregnancy and others.

There is no known cure for RLS, but there are several treatments available. Such treatments can include:

Dopamine agonists

Pain medications



The primary treatment recommended by most physicians is having a good sleep hygiene.

5) Restless Eye Syndrome:

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Restless eye syndrome (RES) is a fairly newly discovered sleep disorder that affects the eyes. The most obvious symptom of RES is when your eyes start to move rapidly in a jerky motion. This can cause problems with your vision such as temporary blurring and double-vision. It can also be a huge annoyance for those that suffer from it or anyone in general who happens to be near someone with this condition.

Restless eye syndrome can be caused by:

And many others.

It is important to note that having a lot of caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants can trigger the symptoms of RES, which makes it all the more reason to avoid these types of drugs. If you suffer from this condition there are several ways to manage it. If you find that you experience it while you are at rest, try taking a short walk.

Sources & references used in this article:

Hyperventilation in anticipatory music performance anxiety by RK Studer, B Danuser, H Hildebrandt… – Psychosomatic …, 2012 –

Adaptive responses to hyperventilation by B Balke, JP Ellis JR, JG Wells – Journal of Applied …, 1958 –

Hyperventilation in pediatric resuscitation: performance in simulated pediatric medical emergencies by JM Niebauer, ML White, JL Zinkan, AQ Youngblood… – Pediatrics, 2011 – Am Acad Pediatrics

Hyperventilation syndrome: a diagnosis begging for recognition. by GJ Magarian, DA Middaugh, DH Linz – Western Journal of Medicine, 1983 –

Detecting the threshold of anaerobic metabolism in cardiac patients during exercise by K Wasserman, MB McIlroy – The American journal of cardiology, 1964 – Elsevier

Death by hyperventilation: a common and life-threatening problem during cardiopulmonary resuscitation by TP Aufderheide, KG Lurie – Critical care medicine, 2004 –

Hyperventilation-induced hypotension during cardiopulmonary resuscitation by TP Aufderheide, G Sigurdsson, RG Pirrallo… – Circulation, 2004 – Am Heart Assoc

Hyperventilation syndrome by RE Brashear – Lung, 1983 – Springer