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.
If you have severe COPD, you may find that you
take quick, small, shallow breaths.
It's important to avoid
shortness of breath. Do all you can to make breathing easier. This includes
learning ways of breathing that can help the air flow in and out of your
Breath training can help you take deeper breaths and reduce
shortness of breath.
You must practice breath training regularly
to do it well.
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.
Breathe in through your nose and out through
your mouth while almost closing your lips.
Breathe in for about 4
seconds, and breathe out for 6 to 8 seconds.
Breathing with your diaphragm
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.
Lie on your back, or prop yourself up on
Put one hand on your belly and the other on your
chest. When you breathe in, push your belly out as far as possible. You should
feel the hand on your belly move out, while the hand on your chest does not
When you breathe out, you should feel the hand on your
belly move in. When you can do this type of breathing well while lying down,
learn to do it while sitting or standing. Many people with COPD find this
breathing method helpful.
Practice this breathing method for 20
minutes at a time, 2 or 3 times a day.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.