Bradypnea is the condition of reduced rate of breathing. It indicates the person is not taking sufficient amounts of oxygen while breathing. If the breathing rate is below 12 breaths for one minute this condition is called bradypnea. It can be due to number of reasons and underlying medical conditions. For many people, the level of breathing can go down during sleep which is normal. But when the person has low rate of breathing when he is awake it is a serious symptom of this disease.
Anything that interrupts the normal pumping action of the heart can cause bradypnea. Several factors and medical conditions can cause this problem. If the tissues of the heart get damaged due to heart attack or other cardiovascular problems, it can reduce the rate of breathing. Aging can affect the heart tissue allowing it to deteriorate. Some of the factors that trigger low breathing are increased blood pressure, congenital heart problems, and myocardial infraction.
People who have undergone open heart surgery can have this problem, if the surgery was complicated. Reduction in the rate of breathing can be caused by hypothyroidism, imbalance of electrolytes and due to sleep apnea or other sleeping disorders.
Diseases like rheumatic fever or lupus can cause severe inflammation on the heart tissues affecting the breathing metabolism. Excess of iron particles on the organs can interrupt the activities of heart. Intake of strong medications for psychiatric problems and hypertension can affect the heart rhythm. Drugs which produce sedative effect can alter the rate of respiration and intake of alcohol in high doses can cause the same effect. Brain tumor and certain metabolic disorders can cause bradypnea.
Due to reduced breathing rate, the person may have one or more symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, fainting sensation, weakness, shortness of breath, confusion or memory loss and extreme tiredness. The affected person becomes tired easily due to routine activities. In athletes the heartbeat lower than 60 beat is considered to be normal for healthy adults. But it cannot be lower than 25 which indicates serious problem in heart.
The doctor will physically examine the patient and look for symptoms like dizziness or shortness of breath. He may order for Electrocardiogram for analyzing the heart function and for studying the heart rhythm.
The best treatment is to give artificial respiration. But the treatment mode depends on the health condition of the patient and his symptoms. First the doctor will have to identify the cause of reduced respiration rate and provide suitable treatment.
If bradypnea is due to medical issues like hypothyroidism or sleep disorders then your doctor will start treating the underlying causes. The doctor will examine the patient and collect his medical history. He will enquire how long he has this problem and about the medications he is taking. Since some medicines given for blood pressure can create this problem, he would change the drugs that produce side effects.
Surgery is the last option for bradypnea and is done only when the intracranial pressure inside the heart is very high. Some patients with kidney or liver failure may suffer from breathing problems and hence the doctor will monitor the health conditions regularly. Pacemaker is kept inside the heart for some individuals and is beneficial in supervising the heartbeat and keeps the rate of breathing normal. This is a battery operated device that looks like a cell phone. This device is implanted in the collarbone by surgical process and wires from the pacemaker are connected to the heart veins and electrodes are connected to these wires.