Your comprehensive guide to breathing
Table of Contents
Breathing is a vital body function that ensures the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the internal milieu and the external environment. (1)
The main actor in this activity is the respiratory system, which is divided as follows:
- Upper respiratory tract (e.g. nose, throat, larynx)
- Lower respiratory tract (e.g. trachea, bronchi, lungs)
Every single component is prone to certain diseases that can affect the entire respiratory process.
This article examines the physiological mechanism of breathing on the one hand and the damage to the body caused by mouth breathing on the other.
Breathing is a result of the pressure differential between the lungs and the atmosphere.
When the pressure in the lungs is less than that of the atmosphere, air flows into the lungs to compensate for this pressure difference. As soon as the pressure differential shifts, air rushes out of the lungs to restore balance.
The following diagram shows the pressure fluctuations during inspiration and expiration.
Why is mouth breathing harmful to your health?
Oral breathing is defined as the movement of air in and out of the lungs, using the mouth as the sole outlet. As explained above, normal breathing is through the nose when the air is flowing into the lungs and through the mouth when it is flowing outward.
Mouth breathing means that air flows through the mouth as you inhale and exhale, which can cause various health problems.
Adults who breathe through their mouths are more likely to develop insomnia, chronic fatigue, and reduced productivity. These symptoms were compared to nasally breathing subjects and the results confirmed the presence of an abnormality.
Children and mouth breathing
Mouth breathing means stress
What are the common effects of stress induced by mouth breathing?
Increased risk of diabetes mellitus
- Permanent sitting
- high blood pressure
- Diabetes in the family
- Chronic stress - whatever the cause
Comparison of nasal and mouth breathing
The most common complications of mouth breathing
Unfortunately, 40% of adults are reported to use their mouths to breathe, especially in the early hours of the morning.
Removes carbon dioxide
Nasal breathing minimizes the effects of huffing and panting during physical activity by removing CO2 in an efficient manner. This happens when the lower lungs are stimulated by the air flow. Since the lower lungs are supplied with more blood, the exchange of breathing gases runs at full speed to get rid of the carbon dioxide.
Improves the breathing mechanism
When nasal breathing becomes your natural breathing, your body learns the best method of diaphragmatic contraction to optimize the process of breathing gas exchange and energy expenditure.
Reduces the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease and a diaphragmatic hernia
Nasal breathing helps patients avoid reflux disease and hiatal hernia symptoms due to the dynamic movement of the diaphragm. Because it massages the stomach walls and thus prevents structural pathologies.
Massages the heart and lungs
Nasal breathing provides deep breaths that force the entire chest to move and allow all 12 ribs to massage the heart and lungs.
Improves lymph flow
Nasal breathing and activation of the entire chest promote the healthy flow of lymphatic fluid, as does the drainage of fluids from the lower extremities into the circulation by creating negative pressure in the chest.
Optimizes the musculoskeletal system
Nasal breathing and activation of the entire chest are critical to the flexibility and elasticity of the spine, head, neck and lower back.
Produces nitric oxide
Controls vital parameters
Nasal breathing lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate to create a feeling of calm and peace.
Optimizes brain activity
Improves energy expenditure
According to the Borg Perceived Exertion Scale, nasal breathing causes less fatigue and delayed muscle pain (DOMS) compared to mouth breathing. (13)
Nasal breathing allows for faster recovery and greater resistance compared to mouth breathing. It is also less stressful than the latter. This was proven by the (psycho-) galvanic skin reaction.
Nasal breathing optimizes gas exchange
Nitric oxide and nasal breathing
How nitric oxide can prevent heart disease and strokes
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