Breathlessness: Home Remedies to Take Control
It’s tough to admit, but shortness of breath can strike anytime and anywhere. Breathlessness, scientifically called dyspnea, is common among people diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, both of which are caused by multiple factors.
The good news: There are home remedies for breathlessness that you can consider (and remember) to prevent your condition from worsening. Here are some techniques you’d want to keep in mind:
This technique aims to slow down breathing and free air that might’ve been trapped in your lungs. You can try pursed-lip breathing by following these steps:
- Sit straight and loosen up your neck and shoulder muscles.
- Press your lips together, like you’re going to whistle.
- Inhale through your nose for a few seconds.
- Slowly exhale using your mouth.
This involves the diaphragm, a muscle in your lungs that’s negatively affected if you’re diagnosed with COPD. When done consistently and correctly, diaphragmatic breathing can improve this muscle’s strength and help you breathe better in the long run.
You can start diaphragmatic breathing either by lying down on your back or by sitting down. Afterwards, take note of these steps:
- Place a hand on your stomach.
- Slowly inhale through your nose, while making sure your hand stays on your stomach.
- Exhale through your mouth, while tightening your muscles. It’s possible to exhale more than usual.
- Repeat this process for around five minutes.
Finding a comfortable position to breathe in
This suggestion may sound simple, but it’ll help improve your breathing and lessen instances of breathlessness. You can opt to sit straight with or without support, stand upright also with or without support, or lie down on a comfortable surface, like your bed. Try to see which method works best for you and allows you to relax the most.
You may wonder how exercise can be a remedy for breathlessness, especially when some routines are more challenging and tiring than others. The thing is, constant exercise may help your lungs become stronger and allow you to breathe better. Plus, working out can also aid with weight loss and lower your risk for obesity, a known risk factor for COPD.
Before you work out, be mindful of your body’s limits and look for routines or exercises that are suitable for your current fitness level. This helps you prevent overexertion, fatigue, and further injury. Consider talking to a physical or fitness trainer too so you’re able to know more about the movements best for your current condition and how to properly execute them.
Avoiding smoking and/or exposure to secondhand smoke and allergens
Cigarette smoke can be one of the main factors why people develop COPD. Foregoing smoking altogether and/or reducing your exposure to secondhand smoke may prevent instances of shortness of breath.
You’d also want to stay away from environments where you can be heavily exposed to allergens, pollutants, and other toxins that can worsen your condition and trigger shortness of breath.
The next time you’re feeling out of breath, try to consider these relatively simple and inexpensive techniques to get you through. However, consult a pulmonologist or a specialist if your symptoms worsen so you can understand their underlying cause and know how to alleviate them right away.