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Why Can't Humans Hold Their Breathe Forever?

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Manasa V.

on 27 September 2016

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Transcript of Why Can't Humans Hold Their Breathe Forever?

Why Can't Humans Hold Their Breath Forever?
The answer is not, "The heart needs oxygen"(though it's true),there is more!
Somatic & Autonomic Nervous System
The Somatic and Autonomic nervous system are the two components of the nervous system. The somatic nervous system controls muscles and this is the system that allows voluntary movement. There are three parts to the autonomic nervous system; the sympathetic, enteric and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system controls our run or fight response to stress, the enteric nervous system controls our gut. The parasympathetic nervous system takes care of making sure all the things in our body get oxygen and nutrients. The body can't take risks with the heart, so it is only controlled by the autonomic nervous system and can’t be controlled to the point of stopping your heart beat.

"The ability to holding your breath varies with people"
The ability to holding your breath varies with people, this is set by physiological or psychological factors. Some people have a stronger lung capacity and other people have a weaker lung capacity. The rate at which you take your breathes varies with the general state of activity of the body.

But WHY?
It is impossible to hold your breathe forever because the pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide in blood changes as you hold your breath. When you try to hold your breathe forever, eventually the urge to breathe becomes irresistible. When you attempt to hold your breathe forever, your body becomes starved of oxygen. When oxygen doesn't get to your blood it will make your heart rate slow down and it will make you feel dizzy. If you do manage to hold your breath until you pass out, you automatically start breathing when you wake up.

By: Manasa Velamuri
Oxygen is used up by metabolic processes, lowering its limited pressure, and carbon dioxide is made, increasing its partial pressure. There are mechanisms to detect these concentrations. Those mechanisms, give rise to the impulse to breathe if oxygen gets too low and/or carbon dioxide gets too high. Your bodies natural defense is to shut you down. It does that so it can take over itself and continue to breathe normally.

Why Does Oxygen Matter?
Fun Fact
The Man Who Held His Breath The Longest
Most humans hold their breath from about 30 sec to 1 min. and 30 sec., but Stig Severinsen can hold his breath for 22 minutes! He uses a method called, Pre-Oxygenated Static Apnoea, which is staying under water and inhaling pure oxygen before he starts to hold his breath. When you breath normally it is a mix of Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Carbon Dioxide; and because he only inhales pure oxygen before he holds his breath he is super saturating himself. Super saturation means to increase the concentration beyond saturation point.
Video of Stig Severinsen Holding His Breath
Hope You Learned Something New!
Full transcript