- Dyspnea is a term used to describe difficulty breathing, a sense of breathlessness,
or a feeling of shortness of breath.
- It is important to describe your dyspnea to your physician. Does your shortness
of breath come on suddenly? With activity? What makes it better or worse?
- Dyspnea is very different for each person.
- One way to communicate your difficulty breathing is on a scale
- Feeling short of breath can be very upsetting and can greatly impact your
life. It is common to be anxious or distressed if you have difficulty
- It is very important to communicate with your physician about your difficulty
breathing. Your doctor may want to prescribe medications to help your
breathing or anxiety.
There are many things that may help your sense of breathlessness. This
- Sitting upright supported by pillows or leaning over a bedside table.
- Using a fan or open window to circulate air
- Use of oxygen if recommended by your physician
- Use of medications such as morphine, inhalers, or other agents that may
be helpful as determined by your physician.
- Because dyspnea is associated with anxiety, methods to decrease your anxiety
such as relaxation, meditation, and breathing exercises may be helpful.
- Because dyspnea is often made worse by activity, efforts to conserve energy
or use medications before activity may be helpful.
It is important to let your physician know if your respiratory symptoms
change, you are coughing more, you have a fever, or you have any blood
in your sputum.
Pursed Lip Breathing is a simple way to help control shortness of breath by slowing your pace
of breathing, making each breath more effective.
How It Works
- Improves ventilation by releasing air trapped in the lungs
- Keeps your airway open longer thus reducing the work of breathing
- Extends exhalation resulting in slower breathing
- Moves old air out of your lungs allowing new air to enter
- Slowing the breathing also helps general relaxation
When to Use Purse Lip Breathing
- During activity such as bending, lifting, climbing stairs, or any activity
that requires extra effort
- Practice 4-5 times a day to be sure you have the correct breathing pattern
Techniques of Pursed Lip Breathing
- Relax your neck and shoulder muscles
- Breathe in slowly through your nose with you mouth closed, taking in a
- Purse your lips together like you are blowing out a candle or whistling
- Breathe slowly through you pursed lips while counting to four
- Breathing out must be 3-4 times longer than breathing in, so do not force air out
- Repeat steps 2 through 5 until shortness of breath is relieved
- Plan important or fun activities first. Limit unnecessary activity.
- Take rest periods during activities
- Perform grooming activities while sitting
- Keep frequently used items easily accessible
- Use a wheelchair as needed
- Wear flat shoes
- Wear loose, easy to put on clothes
- Avoid warm temperatures, unpleasant odors or fumes
- Establish a regular routing
- Ask for help and delegate tasks when you can