Back again with more about respiratory symptoms.  We will keep adding information and repeating some of the information that has been posted previously. I would suggest you go back and read previous blogs. The repetition of material will start to help you think differently and change your mindset.


As stated before the body is wonderfully made, and it works on auto pilot.  It is when you start to question the auto pilot that fear sneaks in, and harmful thought patterns are created.   Remember the adrenaline rush, cortisol levels and   blood sugar all change with anxiety causing symptoms that may cause fear of a major malfunction.  Once you then start to fear – FEAR. You set off continued symptoms.   The body cannot differentiate between actually running from a big black bear, or the symptoms the body has from a “fear” of a fast heart breath, chest pain, shortness of breath, tingling, muscle aches, etc.  Remember we do recommend getting a complete physical so you can rest assured that your body is functioning properly. This does not mean a complete physical every month or so.   What some people do is find a Medical Doctor they like and that understands anxiety disorders and your need for frequent reassurance.   Set up appointments at every 1 – 2 weeks intervals to start.  As you gain back control of your life, space out these appointments. Monthly then every 6 months then continue with yearly complete physicals.  So, when you start to feel that fear you reassure yourself that everything is still ok, rather that frequent trips to the ER, you  tell yourself “ my physical was fine I am in good health this is just anxiety and I have another appointment  already scheduled. 

With a clean bill of health, it is up to you to create new patterns of thoughts so armed with proper knowledge in stead of “fear” setting in when you experience a symptom you start to acknowledge hey my body is working properly.  Funny as it seems as you take away the fear you begin to take back control of your life. 

The respiratory system alone can be responsible for many symptoms that people share with panic and anxiety attacks. (read  Blog) 

For those who experience chest pain –   WHAT COULD IT BE!

1.When you experience an attack you breath differently you breath incorrectly you use accessory muscles.  These muscles can be slightly different because of how you may be breathing but your chest can hut. People do not question after a bout with bronchitis or a common old with cough, when their chest hurts.  Remember environmental things like heat, humidity as well as pollutions, smoke can also influence your breathing. 

Other influences that can influence your breathing.

Let’s add exercise, physical conditioning, recent resp colds and congestion, medication, excitement, anxiety and pain. 

Therefore, for many reasons if you breath differently even if for just a short time you can experience symptoms that are normal. Once you acknowledge this information do not try and overthink the situation just accept it. And THIS is what most people find to be the biggest challenge.

They will read all the blogs about respiration have a clean bill of health from the Doctor and still they perseverate! (Perseveration according to psychology, psychiatry, and speech-language pathology, is the repetition of a particular response (such as a word, phrase, or gesture) regardless of the absence or cessation of a stimulus) ie.  always fearing the next panic attack, can set off  undesired symptoms. Even repeated actions like continuously checking your vital signs….

In other words that keep repeating my – chest hurts, my pulse is fast I am struggling to breath.  And this is what deepens the mental rut of fear, so your thought patterns become habitual. These “negative” thoughts of health-related fear are not how you want to live so you must change the way you think and state out loud that which you desire.


But the good thing is that habits can be broken. You need to replace them with that which you desire. This is why we will keep posting on mindset and how to change the way you think. Your thoughts are powerful.  

2. Another thing that creates chest pain, is indigestion!  People fail to think about this fact. Of course, everyone thinks they could identify heartburn, but many people have just a mild discomfort while other think their entire chest area is on fire.

Going along with indigestion is gas bubbles. Yeh, they hurt!  Ever have surgery?  Well when you are excited or fearful and are breathing incorrectly you can  ..swallow air…. Like a baby with can swallow too much air (as seen with a poor latch in breastfeeding) and taking in too much air by crying (like gasping with an attack) and gas, air gets trapped and it causes pain.

 As I promised a little information about resp rate. Normal respiration rates for an adult person at rest range from 12 to 20 breaths per minute. That is a big range and can be influence by all listed above plus more.  This number can increase for a variety of reasons other than physical activity, things like anxiety, worry, fear and pain.  A person can have a habit of breathing faster especially when they frequent anxiety or pain and these breaths are shallower. This can cause hyperventilation and its symptoms.

FYI Fever and dehydration can also increase your resp. rate

Think about it when you breath faster you take in good oxygen and it needs time to transfer from the lungs to the blood stream… Well if you are anxious and breath faster you do not get enough of the exchange and the body craves more 02 so breath in again … and again… usually faster. As explained when a person says they are short of breath, (this can increase your heart rate as well.) If they are medically ok, and I put a pulse OX on them they are surprised that their 02 level is great!   I may have to get them to take a breath and hold it to slow them down a bit to get it to register The pulse ox is a good tool but if breathing rapidly or you do coughing and or deep breathing the number can be a little lower on first appearance. Don’t fret, hyperventilation ensures your vital organs get the 02 it needs and that is what could cause the tingling in your extremities. Once again, a normal response.  Because the body will get what it needs. You just have to slow it down and reassure yourself that all is well.  That is the basis of deep breathing. Slow it down, get a better exchange, do not use as many muscles, and get rid of the symptoms of hyperventilation.

It is difficult to count your resp rate yourself because in thinking about it, it has the tendency to be influenced. So, get a friend to observe you nurses usually do this on the sly.

You see the resp rate is controlled at the base of the brain, which send signals to the lungs.  The body will adjust the breathing rate as to your needs.

When you deal with panic and anxiety attacks you may have an increased resp rate that is not an indication of anything wrong.

Having an abnormal respiratory rate can indicate a variety of things. In some cases, a high or low respiratory rate is due to an activity, such as exercise, and is not an indication that there is anything wrong.