Cerebral Hypoxia and Its Most Common Cause
(If you want to read about some pseudo-scientific situations that happens with cerebral hypoxia in citizens of the Moon, find and read this Wikipedia articles. Here we will focus on real Earth stuff.)
Over 90% people believe that a deep or heavy breathing pattern provides more oxygen for brain cells and vital organs.
Moreover, over 90% of modern people "practice" hyperventilation 24/7 (see the Chart with medical studies below).
However, overbreathing reduces oxygenation of the human body and all vital organs causing cerebral hypoxia. There is no a single medical study, or physiologist, or medical doctor who has proven or shown that overbreathing improves cerebral or body-oxygen levels or is good for us.
"Therefore, I emphasize the fact or law established long ago: the less the depth of breathing, the more the amount of oxygen delivered to the organism, and vice versa, the deeper the breath, the less oxygen is delivered in the organism." Dr. K. P. Buteyko, "Dr. Buteyko lecture in the Moscow State University on 9 December 1969"
You can test these ideas in practice. If you or somebody else takes a hundred of deep and fast breaths, you can easily faint or pass out due to ... cerebral hypoxia or reduced oxygenation of the brain. Why? This picture shows brain oxygen distribution for normal breathing and after 1 minute of hyperventilation. O2 availability for the brain is reduced by about 40% as a result of 1 minute of overbreathing (hyperventilation) leading to cerebral hypoxia.
Not only is oxygenation reduced, but transport of glucose crucial to brain functioning is also significantly reduced due to cerebral vasoconstriction.
Cerebral hypoxia is a linear effect
Cerebral vasoconstriction is a linear (dose-dependent) effect. Professor Newton from the University of Southern California Medical Center wrote, “cerebral blood flow decreases 2% for every mm Hg decrease in CO2” (Newton E, Hyperventilation Syndrome 2004 June 17, Topic 270, p. 1-7 - www.emedicine.com).
A typical sick person (with 12-18 L/min for minute ventilation rates) has, in average, around 20% less oxygen in the brain in comparison with the norm. Their cell oxygenation will be in between these 2 brain images indicating mild cerebral hypoxia.
Not only the brain, but all other vital organs will suffer from less oxygen in conditions of hyperventilation.
Reference pages: Breathing norms and medical facts:
- Breathing norms: Parameters, graph, and description of the normal breathing pattern
- 6 breathing myths: Myths and superstitions about breathing and body oxygenation (prevalence: over 90%)
- Hyperventilation: Definitions of hyperventilation: their advantages and weak points
- Hyperventilation syndrome: Western scientific evidence about prevalence of chronic hyperventilation in patients with chronic conditions (37 medical studies)
- Normal minute ventilation: Small and slow breathing at rest is enjoyed by healthy subjects (14 studies)
- Hyperventilation prevalence: Present in over 90% of normal people (24 medical studies)
- HV and hypoxia: How and why deep breathing reduces oxygenation of cells and tissues of all vital organs
- Body-oxygen test (CP test) : How to measure your own breathing and body oxygenation (two in one) using a simple DIY test
- Body oxygen in healthy: Results for the body-oxygen test for healthy people (27 medical studies)
- Body oxygen in sick : Results for the body-oxygen test for sick people (14 medical studies)
- Buteyko Table of Health Zones: Clinical description and ranges for breathing zones: from the critically ill (severely sick) up to super healthy people with maximum possible body oxygenation
- Morning hyperventilation: Why people feel worse and critically ill people are most likely to die during early morning hours
References: pages about CO2 effect:
- Vasodilation: CO2 expands arteries and arterioles facilitating perfusion (or blood supply) to all vital organs
- The Bohr effect: How and why oxygen is released by red blood cells in tissues
- Cell oxygen levels: How alveolar CO2 influences oxygen transport
- Oxygen transport: O2 transport is controlled by vasoconstriction-vasodilation and the Bohr effects, both of which rely on CO2
- Free radical generation: Reactive oxygen species are produced within cells due to anaerobic cell respiration caused by cell hypoxia
- Inflammatory response: Chronic inflammation in fueled by the hypoxia-inducible factor 1, while normal breathing reduces and eliminates inflammation
- Nerve stabilization: People remain calm due to calmative or sedative effects of carbon dioxide in neurons or nerve cells
- Muscle relaxation: Relaxation of muscle cells is normal at high CO2, while hypocapnia causes muscular tension, poor posture and, sometimes, aggression and violence
- Bronchodilation: Dilation of airways (bronchi and bronchioles) is caused by carbon dioxide, and their constriction by hypocapnia (low CO2)
- Blood pH: Regulation of blood pH due to breathing and regulation of other bodily fluids
- CO2: lung damage: Elevated carbon dioxide prevents lung injury and promotes healing of lung tissues
- CO2: Topical carbon dioxide can heal skin and tissues
- Synthesis of glutamine in the brain, CO2 fixation, and other chemical reactions
- Deep breathing myth: Ignorant and naive people promote the idea that deep breathing and breathing more air at rest is beneficial for health
- Breathing control: How is our breathing regulated? Why hypocapnia makes breathing uneven, irregular and erratic.
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