One of the most frequent symptoms that patients experience with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is breathlessness, and an influx of this symptom alone can really complicate your day. Breathlessness can be caused due to air pollution, abrupt weather change, stress and excitement, and even pet dander. Many of the causes for breathlessness are simply out of your control, however, that doesn't mean you need to be confined to the safe haven that is your home.
So now you might ask, what am I to do when breathlessness begins to affect my day to day life? When unbearable breathlessness begins to occur, try the following breathing exercise:
- Forfeit what you are doing and position yourself so you are comfortable
- Drop your shoulders and head
- Inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth at a speed that is comfortable
- Begin to exhale at a slower rate while extending the duration of your exhalation
- When exhaling, be sure to use the pursed lip breathing technique
Once your breathing rate has returned to a normal level, you can then begin to breathe through your nose and begin performing the diaphragmatic breathing technique. If you haven't performed these breathing techniques before, then you should aim to perform them for 5 - 10 minutes about 3 - 4 times a day, or whenever necessary. Gradually increase the duration of diaphragmatic breathing which will increase the strength of your diaphragm over time. If after a while of performing these breathing exercises your symptoms are not getting better or worsen, seek immediate medical attention.