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Breathing is hard when you have lung problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or interstitial lung disease. You may take quick, short breaths. Breathing this way makes it harder to get air into your lungs. Learning new ways to slow down and control your breathing may help. You may feel better and be able to do more because you can breathe better.
You can try two ways to control your breathing. They are pursed-lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing).
Use these methods when you are more short of breath than normal. Practice them often so you can use them correctly when you need to.
Pursed-lip breathing helps you breathe more air out so that your next breath can be deeper. It makes you less short of breath and lets you be more active.
Practice this breathing method for about 10 minutes at a time, 3 or 4 times a day.
Breathing while bending forward at the waist may make it easier for you to breathe.
You can sit or stand to use this breathing method. If you are standing, you may want to rest your hands on the edge of a table or the back of a chair.
Breathe in for about 2 seconds.
Breathe out for 4 to 6 seconds.
As you get more comfortable doing this breathing exercise, you can also do it to feel better when you are short of breath.
Breathing with your diaphragm helps your lungs expand so that they take in more air. Your diaphragm is the large muscle that separates your lungs from your belly. It helps draw air into your lungs as you breathe.
This method may be called diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing).
Practice this breathing method for about 10 minutes at a time, 3 or 4 times a day. As you get more comfortable doing this breathing exercise, you can also do it to feel better when you are short of breath.
You should feel the hand on your belly move out, while the hand on your chest does not move.
When you can do this type of breathing well while lying down, learn to do it while sitting or standing.
Current as of: November 14, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda MD - Pulmonology
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