In his most recent blog entry (click here), Dr. Artour Rakhimov writes that as the disease progresses, one of the biggest complaints is the feeling of dyspnea. And the reason might be due to the fact the disease causes hyperventilation that washes out CO2 from the alveoli.
With a less than normal alveolar CO2 tension, the following may result:
- Average minute ventilation in CF patients ranged, according to these 7 publications from 10 to 18 l/min, while healthy subjects have between 6 and 7 l/min at rest.
- Alveolar hypocapnia (low CO2) immediately causes bronchoconstriction or constrictions of bronchi and bronchioles due to irritation or an excited state of the cholinergic nerve.
- Alveolar hypocapnia destroys lungs tissue. In their study, Canadian doctors observed that "Deliberate elevation of PaCO2 (therapeutic hypercapnia) protects against lung injury induced by lung reperfusion and severe lung stretch. Conversely, hypocapnic alkalosis causes lung injury and worsens lung reperfusion injury" (Laffey et al, 2003)
- Chronic hyperventilation reduces cell oxygen content in all vital organs due to disturbances in oxygen transport.
- Cell hypoxia leads to anaerobic energy production mechanism, elevated lactic acid level in the blood, generation of reactive oxygen species, suppression of the immune system, and cellular damage.
- Thus, if heavy breathing is the problem, there are natural therapies available to address chronic hyperventilation and restore normal breathing parameters 24/7
Likewise, in a study done in 1990, respiratory frequency was associated with being a good predictor of respiratory dysfunction.
Perhaps until a cure is found, another method of preventing worsening CF might be attempts to restore normal breathing.