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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. COPD gets worse over time. You can't undo the damage to your lungs. But you can take steps to breathe easier and feel better.
Breathing is hard when you have COPD. Breathing with quick, short breaths makes it harder to get air into your lungs.
You can try three basic ways to help your breathing:
Breath training can help you take deeper breaths and can relieve your shortness of breath.
One of the main symptoms of COPD is shortness of breath that gets worse when you exercise.
As COPD gets worse, you may be short of breath even when you do simple things like get dressed or fix a meal. It gets harder to eat and exercise, and breathing takes much more energy. People often lose weight and get weaker.
Breathing with quick, short breaths makes it harder to get air into your lungs. Learning new ways to control your breathing may help. You may feel better and be able to do more.
You can use these breathing methods to help you get over those times when you feel more short of breath. But you must practice them regularly to do them well.
Being short of breath:
Being short of breath can make you feel weaker, but the correct answer is "all of the above." Shortness of breath can take a big toll on your body.
Being short of breath can take much more energy, but the correct answer is "all of the above." Shortness of breath can take a big toll on your body.
Being short of breath can make you lose weight, but the correct answer is "all of the above." Shortness of breath can take a big toll on your body.
Shortness of breath takes a big toll on your body.
Use these methods when you are more short of breath than normal. Practice them often so you can do them well.
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 exercise more.
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.
Breathing while bending forward can reduce shortness of breath while you are exercising or resting. You can sit or stand to use this breathing method.
To use this breathing method, bend forward slightly at the waist. Keep your back straight. If you are standing, you may want to rest your hands on the edge of a table or the back of a chair.
Bending forward like this may make it easier for you to breathe. It helps your diaphragm move more easily.
Now that you have read this information, you'll be better prepared for those times when you feel short of breath.
If you have questions about this information, print it out and take it with you when you visit your doctor. You may want to mark areas or make notes in the margins where you have questions.
If you would like more information on COPD, the following resources are available:
|American Lung Association|
|1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW|
|Washington, DC 20004|
|Phone:||1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) to speak with a lung professional
The American Lung Association provides programs of education, community service, and advocacy. Some of the topics available include asthma, tobacco control, emphysema, infectious disease, asbestos, carbon monoxide, radon, and ozone.
|2937 SW 27th Avenue|
|Miami, FL 33133|
The COPD Foundation develops and supports programs that improve research, education, early diagnosis, and treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They provide information to people with COPD, caregivers, and health professionals.
|National Jewish Health|
|1400 Jackson Street|
|Denver, CO 80206|
1-800-222-5864 (Lung Line)
National Jewish Health is a hospital devoted to treatment, research, and education in chronic respiratory diseases. It publishes a newsletter and pamphlets; maintains the LUNG LINE, a free call-in information service for consumers; and has a patient referral center (inpatient and outpatient services).
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