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How to Manage Shortness of Breath

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Shortness of breath is a very common problem that most of us complain about from time to time. Medically known as dyspnea, shortness of breath means you are having difficulty breathing and feeling suffocated.

Breathlessness can be mild, moderate or severe. In some cases, people also experience anxiety or stress that makes the condition worse.

It is normal to experience some shortness of breath when you exceed your usual activity level or climb to high altitudes where there is less oxygen in the air. In such cases, breathing returns to normal after a rest period.

Shortness of breath, however, can also be due to a number of health issues. It can be caused by anemia, respiratory infection or disease, chronic bronchitis, heart disease, and allergies. It is a very common symptom in people suffering from lung cancer.

Most episodes of shortness of breath are not serious. However, your doctor if it starts suddenly without any obvious reason, occurs while at rest, keeps you awake all night and you have symptoms like fever, chest pain, tightness in the throat or chest and wheezing.

When suffering from dyspnea, it may be difficult for you to do something that you normally do with ease. It may even affect your daily activities as well as quality of life.

You can try incorporating some lifestyle changes, dietary changes and simple home remedies to manage this health problem. Also, consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment of the underlying cause.

manage shortness of breath

Here are the top 10 ways to manage shortness of breath.

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing

Also called abdominal breathing or deep breathing, diaphragmatic breathing can help manage your breathlessness. This technique is particularly helpful when you have shortness of breath due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

  1. Lie down on your back, put your hands on your abdomen and relax your muscles.
  2. Breathe in deeply through your nose, expanding your abdomen and then filling your lungs with air.
  3. Hold your breath for a couple of seconds.
  4. Breathe out slowly through your mouth and empty your lungs completely.
  5. Repeat for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Do this breathing exercise 2 or 3 times a day.

2. Pursed-lip Breathing

Another common breathing technique that can help ease shortness of breath is pursed-lip breathing.

pursed lip breathing to reduce shortness of breath

It can quickly slow your pace of breathing, helping you restore your normal breathing. It also helps relieve stress and anxiety.

  1. Sit comfortably and relax your neck and shoulder muscles.
  2. Keep your lips pressed together tightly, except the center.
  3. Inhale for a couple of seconds through your nose.
  4. Exhale slowly and gently through your pursed lips while counting to 4.
  5. Continue to inhale and exhale for another 10 minutes.

Try this breathing technique any time you begin to feel short of breath. Within minutes, you will start feeling much better.

3. Drink Black Coffee

A cup of black coffee can also help cure shortness of breath. The caffeine in coffee helps reduce respiratory muscle fatigue and improves airway function modestly. In addition, it may reduce asthma symptoms.

Drink 1 to 2 cups of strong, black coffee to relieve shortness of breath and restore your normal breathing.

Do not drink coffee in excess as it may raise your heart rate and blood pressure.

4. Steam Inhalation

If a respiratory problem is causing breathlessness, steam inhalation is a good option. It will help keep your nasal passages decongested.

In addition, the heat and moisture from the steam will help break up and dissolve mucus for easy elimination from the system.

  1. Fill a bowl with very hot water.
  2. Add a few drops of essential oil, such as eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil.
  3. Place your face over the bowl and a towel over your head.
  4. Inhale the steam, taking deep breaths for several minutes.
  5. Follow this simple remedy whenever you have nasal congestion.

As soon as the congestion clears, you will notice fewer episodes of breathing difficulty.

5. Ginger

Ginger is another excellent expectorant that can help treat chest or nasal congestion that may cause breathing difficulty.

Several components in ginger help inhibit secretion of mucus to help you breathe easier. In addition, it helps fight off any kind of throat and respiratory tract infection.

  • Drink 2 to 3 cups of ginger tea daily. To make the tea, add 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped fresh ginger slices to 2 cups of boiling water. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain, add a little honey and sip the tea slowly.
  • Also, chew small ginger pieces or ginger candies to get rid of congestion.

6. Eat More Beetroot

If your shortness of breath is due to anemia caused by iron deficiency, you can eat beetroot to improve your condition. Beetroot has high iron content as well as fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamins.

  • Extract the juice of 1 medium-size beetroot, 3 carrots, a handful of spinach and ½ sweet potato in a juicer. Drink it once daily.
  • Alternatively, roast 1 to 2 beetroots along with their peels on the stove. Allow them to cool, peel and then eat them with salt and pepper.

Also, include more iron-rich foods in your diet.

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23 thoughts on “How to Manage Shortness of Breath”

  1. I think because im over wieght and big fat i cant breath properly ill try the black coffee and the ginger. I hope it really works . I think its time to diet and lots of exsercise, walking but no running thanks for this .

  2. Try Garden swing

    Treatment: The most important consideration is to provide fresh air to breathe. Swinging in garden is also a good option Try inhanling when you go up and then exhaling when you come down

    Inhale
    Take a deep breath in. As you do this, your diaphragm contracts and moves downward. This action opens up more space in the chest cavity, which allows the lungs to expand. The air travels down the windpipe, passing the bronchial tubes into air sacs called “alveoli.”

    Oxygen then passes through surrounding capillaries in the alveoli, where hemoglobin, a red blood cell protein, moves it into the blood. The oxygen-saturated blood is carried through the pulmonary vein to the left side of the heart, and is then pumped to the rest of the body tissue. As this happens, carbon dioxide moves from the capillaries into the alveoli, traveling from the right side of the heart through the pulmonary artery.

    Exhale
    Now it’s time to exhale. As you do this, the diaphragm relaxes and moves upward into the chest cavity. The intercostal muscles within the ribs relax, which also causes the chest cavity to shrink.
    The shrinking space in the chest cavity forces carbon dioxide to leave the lungs through the nose. During bouts of exercise, the abdominal muscles contract more often, pushing the diaphragm against the lungs more frequently. As this happens, carbon dioxide is pushed out quicker, increasing the frequency of your breaths.

  3. Thanks a lot it did work though i took nothing but lay on my back and follow the rest of the instructions but will still try the ginger stuff, few minutes I lay my back breath sounds good and sleep came ; can i eat now cause I feel hungry….. Thanks a lot.

  4. Thanks a lot it did work though i took nothing but lay on my back and follow the rest of the instructions but will still try the ginger stuff, few minutes I lay my back breath sounds good and sleep came ; can i eat now cause I feel hungry….. Thanks a lot uhhhh i feel better.

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