Breathing Rates and Influence on One’s Blood Pressure

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Many different factors can influence blood pressure such as what you eat or how much physical activity you participate in each day. This experiment is to see how breathing rates affect blood pressure so people can become conscious of how they breathe throughout the day and how it is affecting their blood pressure- making it higher or lower. We tested 3 different breathing rates: fast, normal, and slow to see how they affect blood pressure. Both of the independent variables (fast and slow breathing rates) considerably lowered blood pressure.

Introduction

Having a lower blood pressure is important in preventing heart attacks and strokes. The usual way doctors recommend lowering blood pressure is through diet and exercise but when those methods don’t work, prescription pills- which can have nasty side effects or lead to other complications- are the next option. However, a new device called RESPeRATE leads patients through deep breathing exercises which if done 3 times a week for 15 minutes at a time can lower blood pressure and help eliminate some of the pills that patients take.

The purpose of our experiment is to test if breathing slower does in fact lower blood pressure. Also, we are including another variable- breathing faster to test what that does to the blood pressure as well. Learning more about blood pressure can help us understand our bodies and make good choices that keep our circulatory system healthy. We hypothesize that deeper, slower breaths will cause the blood pressure to decline. Faster, quicker breaths will cause blood pressure to escalate.

Materials and Methods

Materials needed: computer, logger pro software, blood pressure cuff, and stop-watch

Safety precautions: do not pump blood pressure cuff more than the required pressure or circulation could be cut off.

Control Group

  1. Open up logger pro and go to the file that is set to record blood pressure.
  2. Have someone in the group sit upright with their arm resting on table and correctly attach blood pressure cuff to them. This same person will complete all the trials.
  3. Start stop watch and look at the seconds. Breathe in for three seconds and breathe out for three seconds. Continue for two minutes. Don’t talk and keep movement at a minimum. Focus on breathing.
  4. After two minutes press “collect” on the screen and have a partner pump the blood pressure cuff to 150 mm Hg. Record results when they appear.

Quick Breathing

  1. Sit upright with arm resting on the table and blood pressure cuff correctly attached.
  2. Start stop watch and look at the seconds. Breathe in and out every second for two minutes. Don’t talk and keep movement at a minimum. Focus on breathing.
  3. After two minutes press “collect” on the screen and have a partner pump the blood pressure cuff to 150 mm Hg. Record results when they appear.
  4. Allow for two minutes of rest and normal breathing between now and the next trial to “reset” blood pressure back to the control.

Slow Breathing

  1. Sit upright with arm resting on the table and blood pressure cuff correctly attached.
  2. Start stop watch and look at the seconds. Breathe in for ten seconds and out for ten seconds. Continue for two minutes. Don’t talk and keep movement at a minimum. Focus on breathing.
  3. fter two minutes press “collect” on the screen and have a partner pump the blood pressure cuff to 150 mm Hg. Record results when they appear.

Results

The control measurement taken had a normal blood pressure compared to the quick and slow breathing variables. Both of the independent variables considerably lowered blood pressure. The systolic pressure varied more than the diastolic pressure.

Control Group Quick Breathing Slow Breathing

Systolic Pressure 122mm Hg 106mm Hg 108mm Hg

Diastolic Pressure 70mm Hg 60mm Hg 63mm Hg

Mean 88mm Hg 79mm Hg 73mm Hg

Pulse 67 BPM 67 PM 75 PM

Discussion

The results of this experiment were not what I predicted. This may have been due to experimental error or not a full grasp on the topic. The control group’s measurement was as expected but both of the independent variables considerably lowered blood pressure. Slow breathing allows more oxygen to get to the blood and the body can become more relaxed while doing so. Based on this, the quick breathing variable should have raised blood pressure, but it did the opposite and the body behaved the same as breathing slow.

This experiment could have been improved if we had time to test the variables on everyone in the group. Having only one set of data is a disadvantage because there could have had an error with the machine during one of the tests or another factor we didn’t keep constant could have impacted our results. Another explanation for the conclusion is that two minutes of practicing the breathing rate was not a long enough time period to give an accurate reading of what the blood pressure would have been if those breathing rates were continued for a long period of time. We could take this experiment one step farther by testing it on different groups of people in categories such as age, weight, or gender.

In conclusion, deeper, slower breaths caused the blood pressure to decline while faster, quicker breaths caused the blood pressure to decline as well.

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