Emphysema is one of the forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that can cause shortness of breath. It causes inflammation that damages the air sacs of the lungs. These air sacs are consequently covered with scar tissue that cannot be healed.
Treating emphysema can help reduce the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease, but there is no cure. If you have emphysema, you can improve your quality of life with some lifestyle changes and with breathing exercises.
Emphysema affects everyone differently, so you should talk to your doctor about anything specific you need to do. That being said, here are three exercises that help most people with emphysema breathe a little better.
Three emphysema breathing exercises
- Pursed-lip breathing — Pursed-lip breathing can help relax your body and clear out old trapped air from the lungs. Sit in a comfortable chair and draw a slow breath through your nose. Purse your lips as if you were going to whistle and slowly let the air escape. You should feel more like you’re trying to whisper, not blowing out a candle.
Do this a few times a day for a few minutes or during and after any physical activity.
- Diaphragm breathing — The goal of diaphragm breathing is to make your diaphragm do more of the work when breathing instead of your lungs. Lie on your back and place one hand on your belly and one on your chest.
Draw a deep breath through your nose and focus on using your abdomen more for the breathing. Your hand on your belly should be moving more than the hand on your chest. Release the air through pursed-lips while, again, focusing on using your abdomen and sensing it with your hand.
- Controlled coughing — A controlled huff cough helps clear out mucus from your airways that makes it difficult to breathe. Sit in a comfortable chair and draw in a deep breath through your nose. Release the breath in short huffing coughs. It should feel like you’re trying to fog a mirror. Do this a few times a day for a few minutes to help keep your lungs clear of mucus.
Contact the Lung Health Institute for emphysema treatment
Medical treatments for emphysema can help reduce the severity of your symptoms and improve your ability to breathe. At the Lung Health Institute, we help many emphysema patients breathe easier™ with our Lung Restoration Treatment™.
Would you like to learn more about how this treatment can help you? Contact us today to talk to one of our patient coordinators about your treatment options or to schedule a free consultation.