Feeling hyper? What is the difference between hypercarbia and hypercapnia?
Hypercapnia(from the Greek hyper = “above” or “too much” and kapnos = “smoke”), also known as hypercarbia and CO2 retention, is a condition of abnormally elevated carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Carbon dioxide is a gaseous product of the body’s metabolism and is normally expelled through the lungs.
What are the effects of hypercapnia?
Hypercarbia causes an increase in heart rate, myocardial contractility, and respiratory rate along with a decrease in systemic vascular resistance. Higher systolic blood pressure, wider pulse pressure, tachycardia, greater cardiac output, higher pulmonary pressures, and tachypnea are common clinical findings.
The following are considered to be mild symptoms of hypercapnia:
- excessive fatigue
- feeling disoriented
- flushing of the skin
- shortness of breath
These symptoms of hypercapnia may arise from shorter periods of shallow or slow breathing, such as during deep sleep.
The symptoms of severe hypercapnia require immediate medical attention, as they can cause long-term complications. Some cases may be fatal.
Severe hypercapnia symptoms include:
- depression or paranoia
- hyperventilation or excessive breathing
- irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia
- loss of consciousness
- muscle twitching
- panic attacks
Hypercapnia is excess carbon dioxide (CO2) build-up in your body. The condition, also described as hypercapnea, hypercarbia, or carbon dioxide retention, can cause effects such as headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, as well as serious complications such as seizures or loss of consciousness.
What happens when your body can’t get rid of carbon dioxide?
Respiratory failure is a serious condition that develops when the lungs can’t get enough oxygen into the blood. Buildup of carbon dioxide can also damage the tissues and organs and further impair oxygenation of blood and, as a result, slow oxygen delivery to the tissues.
What removes carbon dioxide from the bloodstream?
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a waste product of cellular metabolism. You get rid of it when you breathe out (exhale). This gas is transported in the opposite direction to oxygen: It passes from the bloodstream – across the lining of the air sacs – into the lungs and out into the open.