Types of Respiration


When discussing respiration, you have to be specific about what type you are referring to. Respiration in scientific research is often called cellular respiration. Human respiration describes the way a person breathes and the patterns of breathing.

Cellular Respiration

The two types of cellular respiration are aerobic respiration and anaerobic respiration. Aerobic respiration takes place in the presence of or with the help of oxygen. Anaerobic respiration takes place without the presence or help of oxygen.

Aerobic & Anaerobic

Aerobic respiration, on a basic molecular level, facilitates adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to reproduce the chains of DNA in all life forms--from amoeba to plants to animals to humans. This facilitation is called chemiosmosis. Anaerobic respiration occurs not for the purpose of supporting life, but for the production of materials, i.e., foods to support life.

Vinegar, Wine & Fermentation

A neat example of the difference between aerobic respiration and anaerobic respiration is fermentation of vinegar and wine. Fermentation is usually an anaerobic respiration, done without the presence of oxygen. But vinegar is fermented using alcohol in the presence of oxygen to take the alcohol out and produce a new food product. Wine, on the other hand, is formed by the juice of grapes and/or other berries being fermented in the dark cellars of wineries away from any oxygen.

Normal Human Respiration

Human respiration is the breathing in, or inhalation, of oxygen and the breathing out, or exhalation, of carbon dioxide. The normal range of respiration for a human is 12 to 20 breaths per minute. A rate below 12 breaths per minute is called bradycardia, the medical term for slow breathing. It is a cause for concern because it could be a symptom of a condition or disease. A rate above 25 breaths per minute is called tachycardia, the medical term for rapid, shallow breathing, and also is cause for concern, as it is a symptom of an underlying problem.

Abnormal Breathing

Other forms of abnormal, human respiration are dyspnea, apnea, shallow and Cheynes-Stokes. Dyspnea is difficult or labored breathing. Apnea is another term for the absence of breathing, and it commonly occurs in the sleep patterns of people who snore. Apnea is a dangerous condition that must be monitored closely by a physician. Shallow breathing is respiration that fills up the lungs only partially. Cheynes-Stokes is a period of dyspnea followed by periods of apnea. Hospice workers are acquainted with this type of respiration, as it is common in patients just before they expire.

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