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Questions tagged [breathing]

The physiological process of inhaling and exhaling air for the purpose of gas exchange in the lungs.

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308 votes
3 answers
287k views

Why do I only breathe out of one nostril?

I was just sitting with my hand next to my nose and I realized that air was only coming out of the right nostril. Why is that? I would think I would use both, it seems much more efficient. Have I ...
David says Reinstate Monica's user avatar
47 votes
2 answers
53k views

Why can't we kill ourselves by holding our breath?

Is it possible to kill yourself by holding your breath? This question is obviously copied from Quora, but I had heard it as a fact that we cannot kill ourselves by holding our breath and I'm looking ...
Abhishek Choudhary's user avatar
24 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do burrowing animals get enough oxygen?

Tree borers make a small hole in a tree. At the end of it, they chew on wood to elongate the tunnel. They digest food and grow. All this takes oxygen. The entrance to the tunnel is generally small. ...
mmesser314's user avatar
17 votes
4 answers
38k views

Can any other animal choke on food?

I read somewhere (I think it was Bill Bryson's book on the origins of the English language) that of all animals, we are the only ones that can choke on food (having something to do with how our larynx ...
Yevgeny Simkin's user avatar
17 votes
4 answers
55k views

How can we differentiate between respiration and breathing?

I am a student of 10th grade, and I eagerly want to learn biology. What is the difference between respiration and breathing?
NigHterz's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
2k views

Deliberately choosing one nostril to breathe through

James Nestor, on pp. 41-42 of his book Breath: the New Science of a Lost Art, claims the following. The right nostril is a gas pedal. When you're inhaling primarily through this channel, circulation ...
academic's user avatar
  • 271
16 votes
3 answers
32k views

What is the average speed of human sneeze?

I sneeze a lot, at various times and various "volumes", and often wonder about the speed of the sneeze itself, i.e. the speed of the air coming out of the nose while sneezing. What is the average ...
Shadow Wizard Love Zelda's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
348 views

What are the sources of molecular hydrogen in human breath?

In the BBC News article CES 2019: Tech preview of the expo's hottest new gadgets there is a new product that one can use to measure the hydrogen in ones breath, and this is supposed to have some ...
uhoh's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
14k views

Why have whales and dolphins not evolved to have gills? [duplicate]

It seems at first glance that it would be an evolutionary disadvantage for a sea creature to have to come up to the surface on a regular basis in order to breathe, so why are there animals (e.g. ...
Esteemator's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
4k views

How long can the brain survive during ongoing cardiac arrest?

There was this interesting discussion on CPR and defib in response to the question "Why can't we defibrillate the heart within 1 minute after ventricular fibrillation by electroshock?". Now I was ...
AliceD's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
864 views

Exhalation while holding breath

If you inhale to your maximum capacity and hold your breath for an extended period of time, it begins to feel uncomfortable; slowly releasing your breath at this point seems to provide relief from ...
Rein's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
202 views

Does the human body metabolize what it smells, even in trace amounts?

I conjectured to a friend that some small amount of anything we smell is likely metabolized by the body. He disagreed. My thinking is that, if you are smelling something, some portion of molecules are ...
Becca's user avatar
  • 173
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Are there land animals that use gill-like organs instead of lungs?

Among aquatic, water-breathing animals, gills and other continuous-flow breathing methods dominate over lungs and other storage-based breathing methods as in land animals. Notably, axolotls have gill-...
Tal's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
489 views

If we change our breathing rate so easily, then what is the point of measuring it?

When we are self-conscious of our own breathing, its rate changes very easily. Therefore, if it changes so easily, what is the point in measuring it? Thank you for your time and effort
Turbo's user avatar
  • 269
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the biological principle of this "holotropic breathwork" technique?

Holotropic breathwork is a non-drug technique developed by Stanislav Grof used in psychotherapy. The therapy as a whole is usually called holotropic breathwork (at least by Grof himself) and will most ...
Void's user avatar
  • 161
6 votes
1 answer
25k views

Can breathing in helium (from balloons for example) cause damage to the throat in the long term?

Often an activity to do at a party, breath in helium and speak like one of the chipmunks. But, I am wondering, would infrequent inhalation of helium cause long term harm to the throat? in particular, ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
893 views

Why is it that I can only detect smells if I breathe, and not when I hold my breath?

At school we're told that the receptors for smell (olfactory receptors) are present in the Schneiderian membrane. But I've noticed that I'm only able to detect smells only while I breathe and not when ...
paracetamol's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
7k views

Breathing faster to lose (more) weight?

I understand that when the human body loses weight, the vast majority of that weight is lost as $CO_2$ (and a small bit is lost as water). I expect the predominant way $CO_2$ exits the body is through ...
electronpusher's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
31k views

What is the inlet/outlet speed of air going in/out of our mouth during inhalation/exhalation

During inhalation, your alveoli expand, creating a pressure difference between the atmosphereic pressure and our lung sacks and therefore air will flow into the repspiratory airways. I am trying to ...
user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
795 views

Do dogs have something different about their physiology that allows them to pant without hyperventilating?

I was wondering this as I considered how effective panting would be for humans as a means of cooling.
Chris Cooper's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
934 views

What causes inhalation during breathing?

I have read here that the two major inhalation muscles are the (1) diaphragm and the (2) external intercostals. Additionally, inhalation can also be caused by (1) expansion of the abdominal cavity, ...
Stan Shunpike's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
144 views

Staying underwater: would mutual rebreathing help?

If two people want to stay underwater for as long as possible, could they last longer if they exchange breaths in turns (ie: through a simple tube or mouth-to-mouth) than if they simply hold their ...
user31943's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why do I breathe out of BOTH nostrils?

After reading the question why do I only breathe out of one nostril I realized that breathing out of both isn't common. I have always breathed out of both, and when I get a stuffy nose, or a runny ...
paperhurts's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
16k views

Why can't people talk while inhaling?

Why do we have to exhale in order to talk? From looking on Wikipedia, it seems like it has something to do with the glottis, but I'm not clear on the mechanism that makes speech sound so different ...
Adam Haun's user avatar
  • 151
4 votes
1 answer
13k views

For emphysema, which of the respiratory volumes is affected?

It could be the tidal volume because it affects how a person inhales and exhales normally. It could be the residual volume and functional residual volume, because it increases its amount. Because it ...
jack's user avatar
  • 71
4 votes
2 answers
821 views

How do fishes "breathe" while eating?

First of all, a fish opens its mouth and water enters which passes through its gills. This helps in oxygenating its blood. So, if any food particle is in its mouth, how can it "breathe" i.e. how does ...
YAHB's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
6k views

Why does air from the nasal cavity not go into the oesophagus?

When we ingest food, the epiglottis covers the trachea and the uvula covers the nasal passage. But what happens when we breathe? Why does the air go into our trachea and not the oesophagus?
Gerard's user avatar
  • 141
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

How is breathing involuntary if the muscles that control it are skeletal?

How is breathing involuntary if the muscles that control it are skeletal? Breathing is involuntary. However, the muscles that control it are skeletal: intercostal muscles and the diaphragm. Are there ...
5r9n's user avatar
  • 87
4 votes
2 answers
3k views

Sitting in a closed room filled with regular air - for how long will the air last?

The question has implicitely a lot of variables attached to it: volume of the room activity how closed the room is size of the person (I'm 168cm long and 64 kg heavy) That could probably be turned ...
Raffael's user avatar
  • 209
4 votes
1 answer
986 views

How to maximize lung oxygen intake?

What method of breathing provides a sudden surge of oxygen into the lungs filling it as full as possible in volume and density. Deep breaths? Shallow breaths? Breaths taken while bent over? Deep ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
158 views

Nose breathing and swimming

If you're standing and holding your nose closed, it becomes quickly uncomfortable; although you can breath fully through your mouth, it still feels like your lacking air since you're naturally trying ...
Thomas's user avatar
  • 1,093
4 votes
1 answer
442 views

Does the Valsalva maneuver require a completely closed airway? How do the effects compare to exhalation against partial resistance?

The Valsalva maneuver is defined as "attempted exhalation against a closed airway", "The effort to breathe out forcibly while the mouth and nose are firmly closed or the vocal cords pressed together", ...
octern's user avatar
  • 680
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

The effects of dust particles

When sun rays shoot through my house from a window, sometimes if the lighting is correct, it will reveal a huge amount of floating particles and dust. Are these particles dangerous to humans if you ...
Dan Webster's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
108 views

Gradual slowing breath, its effect on health

I've written a computer program which beeps, then beeps after 10 sec, then beeps after 11 sec, then beeps after 12 sec, etc. I tried the following "experiment" on myself: do only one breath between ...
porton's user avatar
  • 255
4 votes
0 answers
91 views

Why does the upper respiratory tract not fill with water when diving?

When we swim, I know we close the some of the vestibular folds in the larynx part of the throat to hold our breath (and to avoid water from getting into the lower respiratory tract, I suppose). I ...
oPolo's user avatar
  • 141
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

Will I hyperventilate if I breath twice as fast at an altitude with half as much oxygen as I am used to?

Will I hyperventilate if I breath twice as fast at an altitude with half as much oxygen as I am used to? If not twice as fast, should I breath any amount faster on average than usual when at high ...
nullUser's user avatar
  • 135
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why does breathing increase in higher temperatures?

In my experiment, my group increased the temperature of a fish's water. We noticed the fish took more breaths than the prior normal temperature. Is this because the fish is trying to breathe in the ...
Bibliophile's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why do we exhale after we hold our breath?

I tested this out with my friends, and I find that after they hold their breath and can't hold it anymore, they exhale air, instead of inhaling air. Interestingly, they all try to inhale in as much ...
hello all's user avatar
  • 1,527
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

Cough at 1000 km/h?

How fast does air move in the airways during a cough? The following passage is from Talley and O'Connor's Clinical examination: a systematic guide to physical diagnosis (emphasis mine): Cough is a ...
Anon's user avatar
  • 837
3 votes
1 answer
314 views

Do people need nitrogen from air for health?

Can people breath totally nitrogen-free atmosphere for a long time? I know, nitrogen is essential for life, and in big quantities, but maybe people can take it entirely from food, from proteins, etc?
Anixx's user avatar
  • 3,006
3 votes
1 answer
216 views

Can any gas other than nitrogen cause decompression sickness (the bends)?

I know that our bodies use most of the oxygen we breathe in during a dive but, wouldn't our tissues, under pressure, absorb more oxygen than we need? For instance, in normal circumstances, we don't ...
Kurt Hikes's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
697 views

How does the embryo inside a shelled egg get oxygen?

If I'm not mistaken a typical animal in the womb will get oxygen via the umbilical cord from the mother. Thus allowing it to "breathe" in a liquid environment. I thought maybe shells are permeable and ...
kittycat's user avatar
  • 1,191
3 votes
1 answer
259 views

Does breathing air containing 3% carbon dioxide gives you a headache?

As far as I know, breathing air containing relatively high levels of CO2 may get you a headache. I also know that CO2 level in the fruit bodies of peppers can reach levels as high as 3% at certain ...
tothsa's user avatar
  • 39
3 votes
1 answer
245 views

Involuntary twitches and apnoea during early phases of sleep

I assume most people either experienced or have seen people with the following phenomenon: in the early phases of sleep sometimes involuntary twitches occur that usually accompany the pause of ...
Nandor Poka's user avatar
  • 3,118
3 votes
1 answer
406 views

In scuba diving, are nitrogen narcosis and high pressure nervous syndrome the same thing?

In training for scuba diving, they tell you that when you're bellow 100 ft or so you have to watch out for changes in mental state that resemble drunkenness. The cause of these mental disturbances is ...
tel's user avatar
  • 3,781
3 votes
1 answer
678 views

Is breathing a reflex action or is it an intrinsic process?

The process of breathing is controlled by respiratory centers in the brain stem. Do these centers have an innate activity, i.e., just send out signals to breathing muscles intrinsically, and have the ...
Dahen's user avatar
  • 313
3 votes
1 answer
171 views

What is a deep exhalation/inhalation?

I tried to find the academic definition of deep exhalation/inhalation but found nothing special. I speculate that the correct definition is as follows: • Deep ...
Marelbiker's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
45 views

Formula for Oxygen Consumption for Atlantic Salmon (Mathematical) - insecurities regarding variable

The oxygen is calculated in mg per kg per something, so what does $h^{-1}$ stand for? hours maybe? The formula given below is an estimation of oxygen consumption for Atlantic salmon \begin{...
ms99's user avatar
  • 33
3 votes
1 answer
594 views

How does a metronome help in controlling breathing rate?

I'm new to the Bio/Medical field so kindly bear with me. I am doing studies on volunteers to formulate algorithms for evaluating Respiration rate from ECG and accelerometer data. I learned about this ...
Naveen's user avatar
  • 173
3 votes
1 answer
306 views

Heart Rate being normal when under treatment for the bends

When you surface from diving too quickly; you get "bends" - these are caused by gas bubbles forming in your lungs (especially nitrogen). This causes breathing problems if not treated since the bubbles ...
Caters's user avatar
  • 694