- Updated on August 3, 2019
By Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author
It is known that severely sick people experience numerous abnormalities related to different medical tests. This is also true for cancer and the physiological state of terminal cancer patients is characterized by tens, maybe hundreds of bodily parameters that are outside of corresponding norms. Heart rate and breathing frequency are among the easiest to measure. Many oncologists used these simple DIY tests in their published research articles (see Chiang et al, 2009; de Miguel Sanchez et al, 2006; Groeger et al, 1998). After investigating several parameters and characteristics in 100 terminally ill cancer patients, Dudgeon and Lertzman (1998) concluded that “spirometry was abnormal in 93% of patients”.
As we discussed before, development of cancer is based on increased alveolar ventilation. Furthermore, we already discovered that breathing frequency is a highly significant predictor of survival in cancer patients. Based on fundamental laws of physiology, we showed that abnormal or ineffective breathing pattern leads to reduced CO2 content in the human body and lowered oxygenation of tumors in cancer patients. In its turn, tissue hypoxia is the main driving force for tumor growth on a cell level. This conclusion is based on hundreds of medical studies. Some of them were reviewed on web page Cell Hypoxia: the Key Cause of Cancer. Additionally, it has been shown that when oncologists use carbogen therapy for treatment of cancer patients, CO2 is again the key player in better oxygenation of tumors.
What are the causes of ineffective or heavy breathing in cancer patients? Medical drugs and toxins, together with abnormal lifestyle factors, intensify breathing in cancer making it faster and deeper, while a simple DIY CP test measures body and tumor oxygen content in seconds.
In the 1960s, Dr. Konstantin Buteyko was the head of the confidential respiratory project devoted to first Soviet outer space missions (Soviets, when hiring Dr. Buteyko, wanted to define ideal air composition in a spaceship and ideal respiratory parameters of astronauts for their ideal performance and maximum body oxygenation). He analyzed thousands of healthy and sick people (mostly with heart disease and asthma) and suggested the famous Buteyko Table of Health Zones. Several books in Russian (e.g., Buteyko & Buteyko, 2005) and websites have this table. This discovery of health zones, with specific features and chemical processes for each zone, was so important for Dr. Buteyko that he filled a patent application with the title “Method for assessment of human health”, Patent Application No. 99114075/14 from 23 June 1999 (Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks).
The Buteyko Table links together some fundamental physiological characteristics of the human body, including: pulse, respiratory frequency, CO2 concentration in the alveoli of the lungs (and the arterial blood, if there is no ventilation-perfusion mismatch), automatic pause (a natural pause of no breathing after their usual exhalation), and the Control Pause (or body oxygen level).
The normal parameters of breathing, according to his table, are: 60 beats per min for heart rate, 8 breaths per min for respiratory frequency, 6.5% for CO2 content in the alveoli, 4 s for automatic pause during unconscious or automatic breathing, and 60 s for oxygen content in the body (or the CP test result). Such parameters were normal for many ordinary people about 100-120 years ago. Modern people breathe much faster and deeper, CO2 is less, the heart rate is higher, and body oxygenation is less than 30 s. Moreover, moderately sick people breathe about 2-2.5 times more than the norm (34 medical studies), while their body oxygen content is less than 20 seconds. All this data nicely fits into the Table.
The most severe or last stage of the disease (7-th stage of the disease) corresponds to critically and terminally ill patients. (Note that a patient is not required to be in this last zone 24/7. In many cases, death due to poor health or acute health problems caused by a chronic disease can happen within minutes or hours. Hence, being in zone 6 and even 5 is not a guarantee that some hours or even minutes later, the patient will remain in the same zone. This also relates to the Morning Hyperventilation or Heavy Breathing Effect.)
Terminal cancer patients, according to Buteyko Table, should have less than 5 s CP, when the immune system offers no resistance to pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and malignant cells even in the blood due to severe tissue hypoxia and suppressed the immune system. At this stage, they are likely to be bed-ridden, unable to work, have problems with self-care, etc. With around 3-5 s for body oxygenation, these people may need to be fed and can lose consciousness. These were the observations of Dr. Buteyko and his colleagues, who studied the breathing parameters of terminally ill heart and asthma patients in the 1960s before these patients were able to learn the Buteyko breathing retraining method.
What about western research related to parameters in terminal cancer? Does it fit into the Buteyko Table?
While most formulas, which could predict survival of cancer patients, involve blood analysis and other complicated procedures, a group of Spanish doctors suggested only 3 simple parameters reflected in the title of their study: “Palliative Performance Status, Heart Rate and Respiratory Rate as Predictive Factors of Survival Time in Terminally Ill Cancer Patients” (de Miguel Sanchez et al, 2006). Ninety-eight patients were studied, whose median survival was 32 days. In abstract these doctors noted, “In the multivariate analysis, three independent variables were identified: Palliative Performance Score of 50 or under, heart rate of 100/minute or more, and respiratory rate of 24/minute or more.”
Hence, the Palliative Performance Status at 3-10 s CP would be very low because it includes 5 characteristics (Ambulation; Activity Level /Evidence of Disease; Self-Care ability; Food Intake; Level of Consciousness).
In order to find the exact numbers, let us consider the last row of this Table (for 5 s CP or the terminal stage of disease). It corresponds to the heart rate of 100 and the breathing frequency of 30 breaths per minute for early morning numbers (epidemiological studies found that critically ill patients are likely to die from about 4 to 7 am). During daytime, their parameters would be better. According to the table, less than 10 s CP (body oxygenation) means over 90 beats per minute for a pulse and over 26 for respiratory frequency. Spanish doctors (de Miguel Sanchez et al, 2006) found the pulse over 100 and respiratory rate over 24 are very poor predictors of survival and these parameters are close to Buteyko observations, considering huge deviations from the norms (about 2 times). Therefore, there is almost no difference, from the cardio-respiratory viewpoint and body oxygenation state, in parameters of terminally ill patients with these seemingly different conditions: heart disease, asthma, and cancer.
Buteyko VK, Buteyko MM, The Buteyko theory about a key role of breathing for human health, Scientific introduction to the Buteyko therapy for experts, Buteyko Co LTD, Voronezh, 2005.
Chiang JK, Lai NS, Wang MH, Chen SC, Kao YH, A proposed prognostic 7-day survival formula for patients with terminal cancer, BMC Public Health, 2009 Sep 29; 9(1): p.365.
de Miguel Sanchez C, Elustondo SG, Estirado A, Sanchez FV, de la Rasilla Cooper CG, Romero AL, Otero A, Olmos LGPalliative Performance Status, Heart Rate and Respiratory Rate as Predictive Factors of Survival Time in Terminally Ill Cancer Patients, J Pain Symptom Manage. 2006 Jun;31(6):485-92.
Dudgeon DJ, Lertzman M, Dyspnea in the advanced cancer patient, J Pain Symptom Management 1998 Oct; 16(4): p.212-219.
Groeger JS, Lemeshow S, Price K, Nierman DM, White P Jr, Klar J, Granovsky S, Horak D, Kish SK, Multicenter outcome study of cancer patients admitted to the intensive care unit: a probability of mortality modelJ Clin Oncol. 1998 Feb; 16(2): p.761-770.