Hyperpnea: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Difference between Hyperpnea and Hyperventilation

hyperpnea causes

Is a term used to describe a condition that consists of abnormally rapid breathing along with panting.

Breathing, the respiration process, is something vital to everything a human being does.

This process supplies the human body and its various organs with oxygen, and it helps the organism to get rid of waste products and toxins.

Breathing is especially crucial during moments of physical exertion and work-out. When a person performs such tasks, the body increases the respiratory rate to meet metabolic demands.

However, in some cases, when people continuously suffer from deep and labored respiration, they probably have a condition known as Hyperpnea.

Hyperpnea consists of a prolonged period of increased respiratory rate or put in other words, abnormally deep and rapid breathing.

Hyperpnea Causes

Several factors can potentially lead a patient to develop this condition.

Some of them involve overexerting through physical effort, an underlying respiratory disease, or even gastrointestinal disturbances.

Medical experts identify one common causes of Hyperpnea as severe head injury and intracranial pressure.

Another factor that can cause Hyperpnea is the Hyperventilation Syndrome, a respiratory disorder that features a continuous acute over-breathing.

Acute anxiety and agitation re capable of triggering several episodes of Hyperpnea, which would eventually lead the patient to develop this condition fully.

Hypoxemia, abnormally low level of oxygen in the arterial blood, is also capable of causing Hyperpnea.

Another factor that leads to the development of this condition is Ketoacidosis, a metabolic disorder that turns most ingested matter into acid.

Some experts suggest that Acute or Chronic Renal Failure is a potential cause of Hyperpnea due to this condition calcifying the lungs making breathing more difficult.

Other causes are related to neurological, metabolic, or psychological disorders. In some cases, the condition may occur due to continuous physical and emotional stress.

Some factors could even involve profuse diarrhea or dehydration, as well as loss of pancreatic juice or bile.


More often than not, a patient with Hyperpnea breaths at a slightly increased rate but inhales deeply, all while displaying a marked chest expansion.

Patients with this conditions are prone to show shortness of breath, chest pain, and most times they can suffer from Hyperventilation characterized by Alkalosis.

Respiratory Alkalosis refers to a decrease in the arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide, which causes the pH of the blood to rise and become too acidic.

The Hyperventilation featured in this condition can also cause general weakness, dizziness, confusion, and a relatively low Level of Consciousness (cognitive functions and responsiveness to stimuli).

When the cause of Hyperpnea is a severe head injury, medical experts define the condition as Central Neurogenic Hyperventilation.

These cases feature bloody drainage from the mouth, nose, or ears, as well as loss of consciousness.

Some symptoms of Hyperpnea can focus on the abdominal region; such signs include bloating, excessive belching, gas, and a sensation of pressure in that area.


Medical experts determine the nature and severity of the condition through physical examination.

Doctors will seek signs of life-threatening emergencies such as Increased Intracranial Pressure, Metabolic Acidosis, Diabetic Ketoacidosis, and Uremia.

If the cause of the condition is not that severe, health care providers will determine the Level of Consciousness.

If the patients are alert (cases in which Hyperpnea doesn’t interfere with speaking), doctors will ask about any recent diseases and the ingestion or inhalation of drugs and chemicals.

Medical experts may order blood tests, chest radiography, computed tomography scan of the thorax, a ventilation/perfusion scan, and even electrocardiography.

Hyperpnea Treatment

Once the doctors are sure about the diagnosis of Hyperpnea, they will proceed according to the severity of the patient’s condition and the underlying cause.

In some cases, medical experts recommend treating Hyperpnea with medications, inhalers, and nebulizers.

Other patients may need oxygen therapy or other forms of breathing assistance.

In severe cases, the health providers will need to resort to mechanical ventilation.

Difference between Hyperpnea and Hyperventilation

A lot of people typically deem “Hyperpnea” as a synonym of “Hyperventilation.”

However, they are different conditions. The confusion occurs due to one of the typical symptoms of Hyperpnea being Hyperventilation.

The abnormally deep, rapid, and labored respiratory rate that people see in cases of Hyperpnea occur to meet the body’s metabolic needs.

While Hyperventilation (also known as Over-breathing) also features a rapid respiratory rate, the term refers to breathing more than what the body truly needs.