What Is Shortness of Breath?
Shortness of breath is surprisingly more common than you think. It can be disturbing, make people anxious, limit their daily activities and alter their lifestyle. Shortness of breath is also known as dyspnea and is accompanied by tightening of the chest and can often feel like suffocating. However, if you are facing breathing difficulties quite often, it is wise to consult your doctor as it might be an underlying sign of obesity, lung, or heart disease.
What Are Shortness of Breath Signs?
Breathing difficulty typically accompanies wheezing, gasping, rapid heart and respiratory rate. It also includes nasal flaring, rib retractions and cyanosis, which consists of the feet and hands turning bluish due to a lack of oxygen.
What Are the Most Common Causes for Shortness of Breath?
Numerous conditions cause shortness of breath due to which one may face difficulty breathing. Some of the most common causes are mentioned below:
- Weight gain
- Inhaling air pollution
- Smoking frequently
- Chest pains
Breathing difficulties can also occur while jogging, running, or exercising. Some individuals can also face this problem during intercourse while overexerting themselves physically or even at a high altitude.
How Can I Improve My Breathing?
If you find yourself with a sudden condition where you are gasping for air and are unable to breathe comfortably, then the first step you should take is to remain calm. In case you have a severe problem with often facing breathlessness. It is most likely due to an underlying issue that requires medical attention and can lead to an emergency as well. However, if you are dealing with a minor case, then you can try the following home remedies for shortness of breath.
Deep Breathing Exercises for Anxiety
As simple as this concept is, it is also one of the best ones. It helps shift your focus from your surroundings and back to yourself to find your inner peace. Inhaling and exhaling deeply also feels therapeutic to the soul and improves breathing. Here is a simple deep breathing meditation you can practice daily to ensure in times of panic, you can quickly regain control of your breath:
Step #1: Lay down in a comfortable position on the bed, couch, or floor and put your hands on your abdomen.
Step #2: Breathe deeply through your nose while expanding your abdomen. This allows your lungs to fill with air.
Step #3: Try to hold your breath for a few seconds. Then let it go slowly.
This simple exercise should be repeated daily for 5 to 10 minutes. If you want, you can do it multiple times throughout the day. You can do the same steps while standing up as well as while sitting on a chair.
How to Be Less Uncomfortable?
Often, when we sit in uncomfortable positions for too long, it can make us feel stressed and lead to difficulties breathing properly. Sitting in crowded places, where you cannot get out, is another popular complaint among people, which leads to feeling suffocated, especially if you are claustrophobic. This usually occurs in overcrowded subways, trains and airplanes. Due to the pandemic, individuals can also feel anxious and stressed while standing in line at the grocery store.
Here are some tips you can follow to ease breathlessness:
If you can, hold on to a sturdy piece of fixture that is below a little lower than your shoulders. Keep your neck relaxed as you rest your hands and elbows. Do not forget to relax your shoulders. In case you are sitting, sit with your feet flat on the ground and chest forward. Rest your chin in your hands and elbows on your knees. Make sure to keep your shoulders and neck muscles relaxed at all times. However, if you are standing near a wall, you can rest your back against it. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and relax your shoulders and arms.
If you try any of these in a public setting, use a 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizer right after to ensure the elimination of germs.
Steam Inhalation Benefits
Inhaling steam can greatly improve your breathing and even help decongest nasal passages. The heat from the steam helps eliminate any mucus build up in the lungs, which might be causing breathlessness.
Here is a simple steam inhalation procedure you can easily try at home:
Step #1: Take a bowl of hot water mixed with a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil.
Step #2: If the water is freshly boiled, leave it to cool just a little. Before getting started, check to see if your skin is getting irritated or is burning due to the heat.
Step #3: Cover your head with a towel and place your face near the bowl.
Step #4: Take deep breaths as you inhale the steam. Repeat for a few minutes and take breaks. Once you are done, make sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
Try Natural Chest Rub for Congestion
Another great way to ease breathing is with a natural balm, such as Herbion Natural Chest Rub. Formulated to perfection with wholesome ingredients, this ointment contains a powerful blend of Eucalyptus, Clove, Olive and Wintergreen oils, which combine to relax and soothe your senses.
Unlike other ointments in the market, Herbion Chest Rub does not contain any unwanted artificial fragrances. It is also camphor free, paraben free and petroleum free, which makes it safe and effective for adults and children two years and above. The all natural balm gives synergistic soothing effects that engulf the senses, ease chest and nasal congestion.
Ginger Tea for Chest Congestion
For centuries ginger tea has been consumed for its incredible expectorant properties. Ginger is vital for the protection of the body against infections of the respiratory tract and the throat. It also prevents excess mucus secretion and improves breathing.
The next time you are feeling uneasy due to congestion, try sipping on a cup of delicious ginger tea. Here is how to make ginger tea, all you need to do boil water and add two tablespoons of peeled and cut ginger to it. Leave it to simmer for 10 minutes, then pour into a cup, once it has slightly cooled, add honey to taste and enjoy.
When Should You Call a Doctor?
If you experience frequent shortness of breath, wake up in the middle of the night due to trouble breathing, experience tightness in the throat or wheezing, then it is best you make a doctor’s appointment at the earliest.