10 Hypercapnia Symptoms

By adr.ian
Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. Patel, Shivani. 'Physiology, Carbon Dioxide Retention.' StatPearls /[Internet/]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 4 Jan. 2021, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482456/
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Medical Expert Medical Expert

Hypercapnia occurs when someone has too much carbon dioxide in their bloodstream. Two common causes of hypercapnia are an inability to breathe properly and hyperventilation.1Patel, Shivani. ‘Physiology, Carbon Dioxide Retention.’ StatPearls /[Internet/]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 4 Jan. 2021, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482456/ Hypercapnia can develop due to complications with certain chronic lung diseases, such as COPD, emphysema and bronchiectasis.

If ignored, hypercapnia can lead to more serious conditions including acidosis, or too much acid in an individual's body fluids, which may result in respiratory failure and even death. Hypercapnia symptoms can range from mild to severe. Headaches, exhaustion and drowsiness are common among those with hypercapnia, while paranoia and panic attacks can sometimes develop in those experiencing more severe cases.


Too much carbon dioxide in the body may result in affected individuals experiencing mild to severe headaches. The severity of the headaches depends on the level of the chemical compound in a person's body. There are over 150 types of headaches. Three common types are tension headaches, migraines and cluster headaches.

Tension headaches can range from mild to moderate on the pain scale, while the pain associated with migraines is sometimes described as a pounding or throbbing sensation. Cluster headaches can cause intense burning or piercing sensations behind one eye.


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