How Healthy is Your Breathing?
How we breathe is commonly considered to be innate; that we breathe according to nature. This is only partly true as breathing changes in response to many environmental conditions including stress, lack of exercise, processed foods, overeating, false beliefs about what constitutes good breathing, chemicals, pollution, overheating in houses and other factors. The reality is that we do not live according to nature. In simple terms good breathing can be measured by whether we adhere to three basic principles.
The first is that breathing during rest should be unnoticeable and silent, the second that all breathing should be through the nose and third that we use the diaphragm. Healthy infants and wild animals will adhere to these principals. The same however does not apply to many children over three years of age or adults. Chronic hyperventilation is the term used to describe breathing a volume of air greater than bodily requirements. It is a habit whereby the respiratory centre within the brain becomes programmed to maintain a larger breathing volume than normal. An adult can habitually breathe two to three times more air per minute than required without it being overtly noticeable.
It is chronic rather than acute with the main characteristics being seemingly innocuous periodic mouth breathing, regular sighs or sniffing, audible breathing, yawning with big breaths and upper chest breathing. Normally when people think about breathing, oxygen is considered as a good gas and carbon dioxide as waste. However, this is not the complete picture. For normal bodily functioning, it is essential that the body has a certain level of both gases.
Carbon dioxide or CO2 is a gas created from our metabolic process as an end product. If we breathe too heavily, CO2 is exhaled or washed from our lungs. A loss of CO2 from the lungs results in a reduction of CO2 in the blood, tissues and cells.
What are the functions of carbon dioxide?
a) The release of oxygen from red blood cells depends on the partial pressure or quantity of carbon dioxide in your lungs/arterial blood. When one is overbreathing, carbon dioxide is removed from the body, causing the oxygen to “stick” to haemoglobin within the red blood cells. This prevents its ......
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