Breathing Dynamics

 

Many health problems are associated with breathing problems. For example, breathing problems could lead to shortage of oxygen in blood and consequently to problems with memory (the brain requires a lot of oxygen and glucose).

 

Visual Presentation

    The body controls breathing to balance gases exchanged via lungs: oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor.

In a three-dimensional space, with coordinates representing shares of oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapor in the air, we could show the space of acceptable breathing, and inside it - the space of comfortable breathing.

This is a presentation of a person’s air needs.

This presentation depends on the health and training of a person. For example, some trained divers can breathe, where others cannot, and some sick people have breathing problems, where healthy do not have them.

We need to add to it the presentation of the air, available for breathing, either natural, as air in a room, or artificial, as air supplied via a device.

In the same three-dimensional space, with coordinates representing shares of oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapor in the air, we show a point representing current state of the air available for breathing, or show a space, representing variation of its characteristics.

When we compare the space, representing breathing needs, and the point, or a space, representing available air, we could see potential breathing problems.

It could be that high level of carbon dioxide and water vapor in the air interferes with inhalation. In such case, in our three dimensional presentation of air in the room, the point representing quality of air in it, would be outside the space presenting comfortable breathing conditions.

 

Considering Activities

    Different activities have different requirements for breathing conditions. To reflect this, we need to create visual presentation of a space of comfortable breathing for a given activity. We would need a separate such presentation for each activity from a given set of activities.

Having a standard set of activities allows comparison of breathing of different individuals.

 

Breathing Dynamics

    The body selects breathing dynamics to match its needs in a moment. Mixture of gasses in the lungs is a mixture of inhaled and exhaled air, which characteristics change periodically according to the rhythm of breathing.

In some moments, the rhythm of breathing changes and the mixture of gasses changes accordingly.

    The body monitors its state and adjusts breathing as needed. This mechanism could be described as a part of the Whole-Body Control System - WCS (see “Whole-Body Control System” on this site).

    WCS regularly runs minor “experiments” to find optimal behavior in given conditions.

In this case, it finds optimal matches between body’s state and activity, plus the state of external air, from one hand, and intensity and the pattern of breathing, from the other hand.

These matches are regularly adjusted (WCS is an adaptive system). We note such adjustments. For example, wearing compression socks often leads to switch from shallow breathing to deep breathing. Also, moving from a room with low level of oxygen into a room with high level of it, leads to switch to deep breathing.

   

Origin of Comfort Area

    Exchange of gasses between the blood and external air via lungs depends on:

·        type of exchanged gas,

·        speed of exchange of gas in lungs (current state of the lungs),

·        concentration of the gas (in captured form) in the blood,

·        concentration of the gas in the lungs,

·        limits placed by the WCS on concentrations of gasses in the blood, etc.

    With so many limitations, patterns of gas exchanges via lungs are not trivial and this leads to not trivial Comfort Area.

Alexander Liss 2/16/2021