Developed to screen patients complaining of shortness of breath for possible hyperventilation syndrome, the Nijmegen questionnaire identifies several signs and symptoms of hyperventilation syndrome. Correctly using this screening tool requires a clinical background, especially since many of the screening questions could be symptoms of much more serious medical conditions.
Of the hyperventilation syndrome symptoms and signs listed in the Nijmegen questionnaire, there are several that are distinctly related to hyperventilation syndrome. These signs and symptoms are strong indicators of hyperventilation syndrome, especially if the patient has several of them:
- Tense feeling
- Fast or deep breathing
- Tingling in fingers and hands
- Stiffness or cramps in fingers and hands
- Tightness around the mouth
- Cold hands or feet
- Palpitations in the chest
Despite their relationship to hyperventilation syndrome, each of these signs and symptoms could also be related to other medical conditions. Always assume the worst possible scenario first, then proceed to less serious conditions, in order to identify the cause of shortness of breath.