Hypercapnia: What Is It?

Hypercapnia, or hypercarbia, is when you have too much carbon dioxide (CO2) in your bloodstream. It usually happens as a result of hypoventilation, or not being able to breathe properly and get oxygen into your lungs. When your body isn’t getting enough fresh oxygen or getting rid of CO2, you might need to gasp or suddenly inhale a lot of air to balance your levels of oxygen and CO2.

This isn’t always a cause for concern. For example, if your breathing is shallow when you’re sleeping deeply, your body instinctively reacts. You may turn in your bed or wake up suddenly. Your body can then resume normal breathing and get more oxygen into the blood.

Hypercapnia can also be a symptom of underlying conditions that affect your breathing and your blood.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.