Lifestyle Disease and Low Body Oxygen

Effects of overbreathing on brain oxygen levels Lifestyle disease is defined as those health problems that react to changes in lifestyle.

Lifestyle risk factors have one common property: they make breathing heavier and body O2 low. Cell hypoxia is the driving force of lifestyle diseases.

For example, when we are stressed, do not exercise, have poor posture or nutritional deficiencies, or eat too much, our breathing at rest become more intensive.

Here are medical facts related to final outcomes of abnormal lifestyle changes.

Minute ventilation rates (chronic diseases)

Condition Minute
Number of
All references or
click below for abstracts
Normal breathing 6 L/min - Medical textbooks
Healthy Subjects 6-7 L/min >400 Results of 14 studies
Heart disease 15 (+-4) L/min 22 Dimopoulou et al, 2001
Heart disease 16 (+-2) L/min 11 Johnson et al, 2000
Heart disease 12 (+-3) L/min 132 Fanfulla et al, 1998
Heart disease 15 (+-4) L/min 55 Clark et al, 1997
Heart disease 13 (+-4) L/min 15 Banning et al, 1995
Heart disease 15 (+-4) L/min 88 Clark et al, 1995
Heart disease  14 (+-2) L/min 30 Buller et al, 1990
Heart disease 16 (+-6) L/min 20 Elborn et al, 1990
Pulm hypertension 12 (+-2) L/min 11 D'Alonzo et al, 1987
Cancer 12 (+-2) L/min 40 Travers et al, 2008
Diabetes 12-17 L/min 26 Bottini et al, 2003
Diabetes 15 (+-2) L/min 45 Tantucci et al, 2001
Diabetes 12 (+-2) L/min 8 Mancini et al, 1999
Diabetes 10-20 L/min 28 Tantucci et al, 1997
Diabetes 13 (+-2) L/min 20 Tantucci et al, 1996
Asthma 13 (+-2) L/min 16 Chalupa et al, 2004
Asthma 15 L/min 8 Johnson et al, 1995
Asthma 14 (+-6) L/min 39 Bowler et al, 1998
Asthma 13 (+-4) L/min 17 Kassabian et al, 1982
Asthma 12 L/min 101 McFadden, Lyons, 1968
COPD 14 (+-2) L/min 12 Palange et al, 2001
COPD 12 (+-2) L/min 10 Sinderby et al, 2001
COPD 14 L/min 3 Stulbarg et al, 2001
Sleep apnea 15 (+-3) L/min 20 Radwan et al, 2001
Liver cirrhosis 11-18 L/min 24 Epstein et al, 1998
Hyperthyroidism 15 (+-1) L/min 42 Kahaly, 1998
Cystic fibrosis 15 L/min 15 Fauroux et al, 2006
Cystic fibrosis 10 L/min 11 Browning et al, 1990
Cystic fibrosis* 10 L/min 10 Ward et al, 1999
CF and diabetes* 10 L/min 7 Ward et al, 1999
Cystic fibrosis 16 L/min 7 Dodd et al, 2006
Cystic fibrosis 18 L/min 9 McKone et al, 2005
Cystic fibrosis* 13 (+-2) L/min 10 Bell et al, 1996
Cystic fibrosis 11-14 L/min 6 Tepper et al, 1983
Epilepsy 13 L/min 12 Esquivel et al, 1991
CHV 13 (+-2) L/min 134 Han et al, 1997
Panic disorder 12 (+-5) L/min 12 Pain et al, 1991
Bipolar disorder 11 (+-2) L/min 16 MacKinnon et al, 2007
Dystrophia myotonica 16 (+-4) L/min 12 Clague et al, 1994

Note that advanced stages of asthma can lead to lung destruction, ventilation-perfusion mismatch,
and arterial hypercapnia causing further reduction in body oxygen levels.

Furthermore, since more than 90% of modern normal people also have abnormal breathing parameters and reduced body-O2 levels (see references below), it is logical that we have got an explosion of lifestyle disorders during the last several decades.

The negative effects of ineffective automatic breathing and resultant low body-oxygen levels are found in all people with hyperventilation. However, the degree of these problems and their personal symptoms (what is felt) are individual. In some people, hyperventilation affects mostly the nervous system, in others the cardiovascular system, or the respiratory, or the digestive, Sick people and patients with Habit style disordersor the hormonal system, or their combinations. There are people who experience a wide range of negative physiological effects, while some individuals can be less affected. The particular problems depend on genetic makeup (or hereditary predisposition), lifestyle factors, and environmental influences. Hence, development of lifestyle diseases requires some abnormalities in O2 transport and breathing.

Now we are going to consider and prove our old ideas using another method: use of conclusions from medical research studies devoted to the hyperventilation provocation test. What is the method to provoke chronic lifestyle diseases? It is very simple and under your nose.

Lifestyle disease: voluntary hyperventilation often triggers symptoms

Yugoslavian doctors from Zagreb asked 90 asthmatics to do voluntary overbreathing (Mojsoski & Pavicic, 1990). All patients (100%) experienced symptoms of asthma attacks (chest tightness, wheezing, feeling of suffocation and lack of air).

In 1997, the American Journal of Cardiology published results of a similar study with the title, Hyperventilation as a specific test for diagnosis of coronary artery spasm (Nakao et. al, 1997). Over 200 heart disease patients were asked to hyperventilate, and as you probably guessed, all of them had coronary artery spasms (or symptoms of impending heart attacks).

Here is a short summary of medical studies regarding different health conditions, number of patients investigated, and the percentage of patients who reproduced their specific lifestyle health problem:
- coronary artery spasms (Nakao et al, 1997) 206 patients, 100% specific;
- bronchial asthma (Mojsoski N & Pavicic F, 1990) 90 patients, 100% specific;
- panic attacks (Bonn et al, 1984; Holt PE & Andrews, 1989; Nardi et al, 2000), 95% specific;
- epileptic absence seizures (Esquivel et al, 1991; Wirrel et al, 1996).

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Hyperventilation causes Habit style disorders Similarly, people with histories of, for example, migraine headaches also experience their specific symptoms. If breathing more can provoke these problems, is it possible that breathing less can prevent them?

Hence, the hyperventilation provocation test can and does reveal "bad" genes in the sick. Lifestyle risk factors produce the same physiological effect: our breathing becomes heavier, either temporarily or chronically, depending on particular parameters.

Furthermore, lifestyle diseases are prominent when a person has less than 20 seconds for the body-oxygen test. The medical norm is about 40-60 seconds, and this level of oxygenation protects from lifestyle diseases.

Hence, style of living disorders are controlled by - and develop or disappear due to - changes in breathing.

Related web page: Human genetics and lifestyle diseases.


Bonn JA, Readhead CP, Timmons BH, Enhanced adaptive behavioural response in agoraphobic patients pretreated with breathing retraining, Lancet 1984 Sep 22; 2(8404): 665-669.

Esquivel E, Chaussain M, Plouin P, Ponsot G, Arthuis M, Physical exercise and voluntary hyperventilation in childhood absence epilepsy, Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 1991 Aug; 79(2): p. 127-132.

Holt PE, Andrews G, Provocation of panic: three elements of the panic reaction in four anxiety disorders, Behav Res Ther 1989; 27(3): p. 253-261.

Mojsoski N, Pavicic F, Study of bronchial reactivity using dry, cold air and eucapnic hyperventilation [in Serbo-Croatian], Plucne Bolesti 1990 Jan-Jun; 42(1-2): p. 38-42.

Nakao K, Ohgushi M, Yoshimura M, Morooka K, Okumura K, Ogawa H, Kugiyama K, Oike Y, Fujimoto K, Yasue H, Hyperventilation as a specific test for diagnosis of coronary artery spasm. Am J Cardiol 1997 Sep 1; 80(5): p. 545-549.

Nardi AE, Valenca AM, Nascimento I, Mezzasalma MA, Lopes FL, Zin WA, Hyperventilation in panic disorder patients and healthy first-degree relatives, Braz J Med Biol Res 2000 Nov; 33(11): p. 1317-1323.

Wirrel CW, Camfield PR, Gordon KE, Camfield CS, Dooley JM, and Hanna BD, Will a critical level of hypocapnia always induce an absence seizure? Epilepsia 1996; 37(5): p. 459-462.

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