4 Common Breathing Difficulties + Habits to Help You Breathe Better

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Photo by Rodolfo Sanches Carvalho on Unsplash

Having difficulties breathing may complicate your life greatly, making it impossible to function and deal with your everyday tasks with ease. These difficulties can be caused by various health issues, and although it’s sometimes hard to control them, it’s not impossible. Here is some advice on how to create good breathing exercise habits to help you deal with your breathing problems.

Asthma


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Asthma is the inflammation of lung airways, which then become irritated and tight, causing breathing problems. It’s usually triggered by various allergens, like dust mites, molds or pollen, but it can also be triggered by some medications, polluted air, or even strong emotional reactions. It causes shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. Identifying the triggers and trying to avoid them may help to some extent, but there are also exercises you can do to improve your breathing, including Buteyko breathing, which revolves around consciously slowing down and shallowing your breathing. Certain yoga exercises and relaxation techniques may also help you stay calmer and get your breathing in order.

COPD


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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, can be either chronic bronchitis or emphysema, though it’s usually the combination of these two conditions. Emphysema means that your airways are narrowed, making it difficult for air to get into your lungs, which often leaves you breathless. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is the cause of inflamed tubes, which leads to serious and sometimes painful coughing. What they both have in common is the limited airflow caused by damage to the airways.

Although there isn’t a cure for this disease, there are ways to manage its symptoms. For example, there are two breathing techniques to help with COPD issues. The first is pursed-lips breathing, which means you breathe in through the nose and breathe out through your mouth, with your lips pursed. This helps slow your breathing and keep your airways open for a longer time. The second one is diaphragmatic breathing, which is deep breathing, performed by contracting the diaphragm. Also, physical exercise can get your muscles into good shape, making breathing easier on your lungs. Similarly, eating smaller meals, but more often, can take the pressure off your lungs and ease your breathing.

Apnea


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Apnea is basically suspension of breathing. It’s usually voluntary, like holding your breath under water, but it can also be induced mechanically or by drugs. In people suffering from sleep apnea, it can happen during sleep, when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and cause the airways to narrow or completely close, preventing you from breathing. Usually your brain wakes you up, but sometimes it happens several times a night, without you even being aware. There isn’t a blood test that can be used to diagnose sleep apnea, but you can confirm if you suffer from it by taking a trustworthy sleep apnea test.

Losing weight may help you with this condition, as well as sleeping on your side or wearing a special mask. Furthermore, there are breathing exercises that might help, such as breathing into a balloon to strengthen your throat muscles, or tongue hold, which is breathing through your nose while holding as much of your tongue as you can pressed against the roof of your mouth. In addition, try losing some bad habits, like smoking or drinking alcohol and create some good ones, like exercising regularly.

Allergies


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Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is the most frequent form of seasonal allergies. It happens when the allergens in the air cause nose inflammation, leading to shortness of breath due to a runny nose, sinus pressure, and congestion. The allergens that trigger hay fever are usually pet hair, molds, or pollen. Even though you should avoid these allergens, it’s not always possible, so you may want to consider preventive measures, like long-term immunotherapy. Also, as with asthma, exercising Buteyko breathing frequently might be helpful.

As soon as you feel it’s difficult for you to breathe, don’t wait for it to go away on its own. Breathing difficulties may be a sign of serious health problems, so visit your doctor as soon as possible to receive the right treatment.


Sophia Smith is beauty and health blogger, an eco-lifestyle lover, and a food enthusiast. She is very passionate about natural skincare, minimalist wardrobe, yoga and mindful living. Sophia writes mostly about beauty-related topics in her articles. She has contributed to a number of publications including: Eco Warrior Princess, Herbs Mother Earth Living, Elegant Luxe and Carousel. You can find out more about her writing by following her on: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

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