FACT CHECK: Did BBC News Report That Breathing Too Often Increases The Risk Of A Heart Attack?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a BBC News report claiming that breathing “too many times” could increase the likelihood of a fatal heart attack.

Verdict: False

There is no record of BBC News publishing this story. There is also no evidence that any scientific trial took place that came to such a conclusion.

Fact Check:

The image shows what appears to be the headline of a BBC News article that reads, “Breathing too many times a day could raise your risk of a deadly heart attack.” The subheadline of the alleged article reads, “Trial found that people who breathe more than 5 percent above the daily average had a rise in blood pressure and increased risk of myocarditis.”

In reality, the image does not show a genuine BBC News report. No article about frequent breathing raising an individual’s heart attack risk can be found on the outlet’s website, and none of its social media posts feature such a claim. There is also no recent scholarly article that refers to such a trial or addresses the claim in the alleged BBC article. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show A Human Heart After Eating Pork?)

Obesity, stress and a lack of physical activity can increase the risk of having a heart attack, according to the Mayo Clinic. The clinic notably does not list “breathing too much” as a possible risk factor. A 2009 study published in the medical journal “Blood Pressure” failed to find evidence that controlling a person’s breathing rate markedly affected their blood pressure.

Shortness of breath can be a symptom of a heart attack or myocarditis, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. The Mayo Clinic explains that myocarditis is “an inflammation of the heart muscle” that “can reduce the heart’s ability to pump and cause rapid or irregular heart rhythms.” It is most often caused by viral infections and cannot be prevented by any known medical treatment or chosen habit, according to the Myocarditis Foundation.

This is not the first time BBC News has been the target of fake headlines. Check Your Fact recently debunked an image from January 2022 that allegedly showed a headline from the outlet regarding Jamaican men being the “most faithful.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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