Bradypnea or bradypnoea is a breathing disorder where an individual suffers from abnormal slow breathing.

In this case, the respiratory rate of breathing decreases to less than 12 breaths per minute. It generally occurs during a sound sleep since the breathing process is quite slow and that’s normal. But, the ones who suffer while they are awake are the victim of a slow respiratory system which is caused by various other problems. The age group of 12-50 have been reported to suffer more from the disease. This happens when the brain’s respiratory regulation is disturbed and an individual receives less supply of oxygen.

When an individual is in its resting mode, the heart tends to slow its beats than the usual 60 beats per minute. Bradypnea can be detected and cured if the measures are taken on an initial basis.

Bradypnea Causes and Risk Factors

Human body ages and so does its heart’s tissue. Due to aging the heart tissues also deteriorates causing a problem in various bodily function. High blood pressure or hypertension is another cause which leads to Bradypnea. By birth heart defect or congenital heart defect may also result in it. Any fault or complication witnessed in the Heart surgery or infection in the heart tissue myocarditis can also be a reason.

In the state of Hypothyroidism, when the thyroid hormones in the bloodstreams decrease resulting in breathing problem along with any brain disease such as tumors or blood clot or any damage to medulla oblongata lead to improper function of the respiratory center. Imbalance of electrolyte results in the dysfunctioning of electrical impulse, as a result, the organs are affected by excessive iron buildup. Smoking or excessive consumption of external pollution, Hepatic failure, a cardiac problem due to which the heart cannot pump the blood and affects the lungs as well.

Obstructive sleep apnea can also cause Bradypnea. This is a state where an individual wakes up several times from the sleep due to constant blockage of their air holes resulting in low breathing. Consumption of narcotics slows the Brain’s performance and simultaneously affecting the respiratory centers as well. These drugs hit the nervous system with a euphoric feeling thereby lowering the breathing frequency. As a result, respiratory decompensation damages the whole respiratory system which leads to improper functioning of the system. And metabolic disorders affect the metabolism of the lungs and heart thereby affecting the oxygen need prone areas. These are a few of the various causes, which leads to interrupting the flow of oxygen in the required area in the body.

Bradypnea Common Symptoms

  • Less supply of oxygen leads to weakness in the human body.
  • An individual may feel fatigued or stressed most of the time.
  • Having chronic chest pain on alternate days. Sometimes irresistible pain attacks are life-threatening.
  • An individual may have fainting tendency if there is less supply of oxygen in the brain.
  • Getting tired easily during any physical or motion activity. For example; exercise, playing, house chores, etc.
  • Forgetting things easily, difficulty in memorizing or getting confused about the happenings.
  • Never-ending dizzy state of mind and body.

There are several other symptoms of the disease which can create trouble for an individual and are primary symptoms of Bradypnea which one should care about.

Bradypnea Complications

Bradypnea leads to several other complications. These are:

  • Hypoxemia: This happens when there is trouble in the supply of oxygen in the blood.
  • Respiratory acidosis: The disbalance in the acid-base ratio causing alveolar hypoventilation results in damage to the entire system of the respiratory center.
  • Hypercapnia: When the amount of carbon dioxide increases in the blood.

All these complications destroy the cells, tissues and other working organs which is life-threatening and thus leads to respiratory and heart problems as well. Bradypnea causes cardiac arrest and sudden death of the individual sometime.

Bradypnea Diagnosis

A diagnosis of Bradypnea is often made by calculating the number of breaths taken in a minute. To ascertain the proper breathe counts the patient needs to be in resting mode and the breaths should be taken normally without any modified exaggeration. The medical history of the patient is examined by the doctor in order to analyze the matter. The doctor may ask you to do an electrocardiogram (ECG) in order to ascertain the heart rhythm, depending upon the condition of the patient.

Bradypnea Treatment

The treatment includes medications as well as surgeries. After the examination of the causes, the doctors prescribe the tests or medication depending upon the examined result. The doctor suggests alternative treatments in order to cure through medications.


If the patient suffers from Hypothyroidism, the doctor gives medication for thyroid remedy.  When there is starvation of oxygen in the organs, supplemental oxygen is provided via rebreather masks in order to fulfill the need.

If the patient has a tumor, kidney failure (hepatic failure) or brain disease, the doctor needs to take intense care to increase the breathing rate and should recommend invasive treatments.

Drug Addiction

In order to cure Bradypnea caused by drug addiction, the body requires stability and this is attained through rehabilitation. Rehabilitation ensures bringing the body back to its normal functioning.

In some intense case, the doctor installs pacemaker which is a mobile size battery operated device, implanted under the collarbone. The wire of the device is joined to veins and heart, where the electrodes of these wires are connected to the heart’s tissues. This generates the electrical impulse to maintain suitable breathing rate. The pacemaker tracks and records the details, which is used by the cardiologist to ascertain the functioning data of the device as well as the system. The patient should seek the doctor on a timely basis to get his pacemaker checked.

Double Check before starting the treatment

There are numerous drugs and medications for the cure of this disease. From surveys around the world by various medical committees, it has been proven that every 2 out 5 is suffering from Bradypnea. Bradypnea is very different from asthma. It is reported that people mistake Bradypnea for asthma and typically undergoes for asthma medication due to less knowledge of the disease. The doctor needs to be very cautious while assisting any patient with the medicines and should review the medical records of the patient beforehand. One should follow breathing exercises and switch to yoga with the help of a professional trainer and doctor’s guidance in order to gain real benefit along with the prescribed medication.

Medical Reference:

Last updated on February 22nd, 2018 at 11:26 am

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