Return to the Health Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Breathing into a paper bag

Posted by albert_135 (My Page) on
Thu, May 3, 07 at 17:20

On TV shows, when someone gets nearly hysterical they may be instructed to breath into a paper bag.

What, if anything, does this do? Does it affect BP, heartbeat, blood pH? All the above? None of the above?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Breathing into a paper bag

When someone hyperventilates (breathes too fast), they blow off too much carbon dioxide and it can cause some physical problems. You can get light-headed, dizzy, and panic even more. In the most severe cases of hyperventilation I've seen, they actually had tetany, which is when I think your calcium actually locks up your muscles. It causes people's hands to be doubled up.
When you breath into a paper bag, you re-breathe that carbon dioxide and it helps with the imbalance. Its a very real thing.
I used to hyperventilate as part of my migraine, and it would help alot to breath into a paper bag. Some hyperventilation is a bio-chemical imbalance that can happen out of the blue, and isn't necessarily associated with being upset or hysterical.


 o
RE: Breathing into a paper bag

Hyperventilation can cause tetany. However, there is no such phenomenon as 'calcium locking up your muscles'. This is incorrect. Hyperventilation causes decreased carbon dioxide in the blood. This leads to an acid base imbalance making the pH of the blood more alkaline. This affects the binding of free calcium within the blood causing it to become bound to various binding proteins. The decreased calcium leads to increased excitability of neurones since they are not blocking sodium channels. Hence, neurones depolarise and lead to widespread muscle contraction, hence the tetany phenomenon


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Health Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here