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WORK IN PROGRESS: Just breathe

November 6, 2010
By C. EURYDICE GRAY Contributing Writer

Though most adults under ordinary circumstances take 12 and 20 breaths per minute, we rarely notice those oxygen-carbon dioxide exchanges until they begin to fail. It is when our bodies are in motion and our systems demand heightened oxygen flow that we begin to adequately appreciate the essential exchange of gases that make our living possible. Respiratory dysfunction shows up clearly and acutely when we challenge ourselves physically. The heart pumps faster, breathing quickens, vessels dilate, nostrils widen... and yet, despite all bodily accommodations, we sometimes feel as if there isn't enough air out there to keep us going.



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