Normal Respiratory Rate and Ideal Breathing
Definition. Respiratory rate (also known as ventilation rate, respiration rate, breathing rate, pulmonary ventilation rate, breathing frequency, and respiratory frequency or Rf) = the number of breaths a person takes during one minute. It is usually measured at rest, while sitting.
Medical research suggests that respiratory rate is the marker of pulmonary dysfunction that gets progressively worse with advance of a large number of chronic health conditions. This website has scientific references related to increased respiratory rates for adults with cancer patients, cystic fibrosis, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, COPD and many other conditions.
What is the normal respiratory rate?
Medical textbooks suggest that the normal respiratory rate for adults is only 12 breaths per minute at rest. Older textbooks often provide even smaller values (e.g., 8-10 breaths per minute). Most modern adults breathe much faster (about 15-20 breaths per minute) than their normal respiratory rate. Respiratory rates in the sick are usually higher, generally about 20 breaths/min or more. This site quotes numerous studies that testify that respiratory rates in terminally sick people with cancer, HIV-AIDS, cystic fibrosis and other conditions is usually over 30 breaths/min.
Important note.You cannot define your own breathing rate by simply counting it. As soon as you try it, your breathing will be more deep and slow. You can ask other people to count it, when you are unaware about your breathing, or you can record your breathing using sensitive microphones fixed near your nose at night or when you sit quietly and are busy with some other activities. It is also possible to define your breathing frequency by asking other people to count the number of your breathing cycles during one minute when you are sleeping. (During sleep the respiratory frequency remains about the same as during wakeful states at rest, but the tidal volume or amplitude of breathing is reduced.)
What are the effects of increased respiratory rates?
When we breathe more than the medical norm, we lose CO2 and reduce body oxygenation due to vasoconstriction and the suppressed Bohr effect caused by hypocapnia (CO2 deficiency). Hence, overbreathing leads to reduced cell oxygenation, while slower and easier breathing (with lower respiratory rates) improves cell-oxygen content.
Normal pediatric respiratory rate for infants, newborn, toddlers, and children
(the source for this pediatric table is provided in references)
|Groups of children||Their ages||Normal respiratory rates|
|Newborns and infants||Up to 6 months old||30-60 breaths/min|
|Infants||6 to 12 months old||24-30 breaths/min|
|Toddlers and children||1 to 5 years old||20-30 breaths/min|
|Children||6 to 12 years||12-20 breaths/min|
More about respiratory rate and body oxygenation
From physiological viewpoint, the body-oxygen test or stress-free breath holding time after your usual exhalation is the more meaningful and important DIY test, than one's breathing frequency. If you have less than 20 s of oxygen in the morning (when you wake up), you are likely to have health problems.
Ideal Respiratory Rate
Ideal respiratory rate at rest for maximum possible brain- and body-oxygen levels corresponds to the automatic or unconscious breathing with only about 3-4 breaths per minute (see Buteyko Table of Health Zones for details). Bear in mind that this relates to one's basal breathing or unconscious breathing pattern at rest (e.g., during sleep, when reading, writing, etc.) The practical test for the ideal breathing pattern is to measure one's body oxygen level (see the link below). The person with ideal breathing has about 3 min for the body-oxygen test (after exhalation and without any forcing oneself). This corresponds to the maximum breath holding time of about 8 or more minutes (if breath holding is done after maximum inhalation and for as long as possible).
Resources and further info:
- Mouth Breathing in Children, Babies, Toddlers, and Infants: Its causes, effect, treatment, and prevention: This web page will help you to slow down the breathing of your children naturally
- Ideal breathing pattern
- Normal respiratory rates for children (from Healthwise - health.msn.com - this page is not available now.)
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.
Your social engagement and comments are appreciated. Thanks.
|Disclaimer||Copyright 2013 Artour Rakhimov||Contact details||About Artour Rakhimov (Google profile)|