Breathing Tips For COPD Sufferers
You may have COPD if you have trouble breathing or you have a cough that will not go away. COPD is a condition that affects the lungs and airways, or bronchial tubes. Read on to learn some quick and easy breathing tips when COPD symptoms act up.
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
Chronic means it won’t go away – you will have it the rest of your life.
Pulmonary means in your lungs.
Obstructive means partly blocked. The flow of air into and out of your lungs is limited.
COPD cannot be fully reversed. About 15 million people in the North America have COPD. It is the world’s fourth leading cause of death; approximately 130,000 North Americans die each year from COPD – that is one death every 4 minutes. And an additional 12 million Americans and 1.4 million Canadians likely have the disease but don’t know it. If you have been diagnosed with COPD, your first action should be to quit smoking.
If you are suffering from COPD, read below for some helpful breathing tips to manage your breathing.
When you become short of breath, there are several breathing tips and methods you can use to help control your breathing.When you learn to control your breathing, you can get more air in and out of your lungs.The following methods can help:
This breathing tip helps keep your air sacs and smallest airways open longer so that air is not trapped in your lungs. This helps stale air to get out of your lungs so more fresh air with oxygen can get in.
Follow these breathing tips:
1. Breathe in slowly. This should be a normal breath (not a deep one). It is best to inhale through your nose, with your mouth
closed. As you inhale, count “1, 2.”
2. Pucker your lips in a whistling position. Now you have pursed lips.
3. Breathe out (exhale) slowly.Try to exhale twice as long as you inhaled. As you exhale, count “1, 2, 3, 4.”
5. Repeat these steps until you no longer feel short of breath. If you get dizzy, rest for a few breaths.Then begin again with Step 1.
Practice this breathing method several times each day so it becomes natural to you. Use pursed-lip breathing when you do things that make you short of breath, like climbing stairs, taking a bath, or doing housework. You also should use pursed-lip breathing for breathless spells.
Diaphragmatic (belly) breathing
The main muscle that we use to breathe is called the diaphragm. When you have COPD, air gets trapped in the air sacs in your lungs. The extra air makes your lungs push against your diaphragm. Diaphragmatic breathing helps make this muscle stronger, letting more fresh air into your lungs and getting the stale air out.
Follow these breathing tip steps:
1. Place one hand on your belly, just below the ribs. Place the other hand on your chest.
2. Breathe in through your nose. As you inhale, let your belly and hand move out. Keep your upper chest relaxed.The hand on your chest should not move or move very little.
3. Purse your lips in a whistling position. Then breathe out slowly. Your hand and belly should move inward. Try to exhale twice as long as you inhaled.
4. Relax.This method of breathing is harder to master than pursed-lip breathing. Practice each day as often as you think of it. At first, practice while you are lying down or sitting. Then begin to practice while you are walking. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. If you use diaphragmatic breathing daily while you talk, eat, bathe, and dress, your diaphragm will become stronger. A stronger diaphragm helps decrease your shortness of breath, strengthen your cough, and remove mucus.
Breathing tups for clearing mucus
Clearing mucus from your lungs will help keep the airways open and make it easier to breathe. This will help to prevent infections. There are a variety of methods and devices designed to help clear mucus. One method uses a special way to cough and is called controlled coughing. When you learn to control your cough, you can clear mucus more easily.
Follow these steps:
1. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Hold a pillow against your diaphragm (upper belly).
2. Breathe in and breathe out through your nose slowly and deeply.
3. Repeat the above step 3 to 4 times.
4. Inhale again, bend forward, and push the pillow against your belly. Cough 2 or 3 times while pushing against your belly.
6. Repeat as needed to clear your mucus.
Other methods and devices
Some people have very large amounts of mucus and cannot clear their lungs just by coughing. In this case, a method called postural drainage may help. Postural drainage uses gravity to help move the mucus. Your doctor also may tell you to use other methods, such as chest PT, which is short for chest physiotherapy. Devices that are available to help remove mucus include the Flutter device and the Acapella device.