Are you feeling short of breath? What remedies have you taken for it apart from the English medicines? Well, here are some home remedies for shortness of breath that you definitely should try. They give some relief and you need not freak out the next time you experience one.
What is Shortness of Breath?
To explain it in simple terms, shortness of breath is a condition where a person will experience serious difficulty in breathing or taking a breath. The medical term for such a condition is called dyspnea. The intensity of this can vary from acute shortness of breath to chronic shortness of breath.
Causes of Shortness of Breath?
So, wondering what the reasons for breathlessness are? Here are a few that are enlisted for you.
- Some of the common causes of shortness of breath stem from being over-weight.
- If you are a chain smoker, breathlessness can be your side all the time.
- Common reasons for shortness of breath include anxiety, pollutants in the air, some strenuous exercise.
- Some underlying conditions can also trigger shortness of breath. For example, asthma, anemia, lung cancer and other lung diseases like tuberculosis can invoke shortness of breath.
- If you experience chronic shortness of breath, it is because of asthma, pulmonary disorder or abnormal functioning of the heart.
Symptoms of Shortness of Breath: Dyspnea Signs and Symptoms
When your body starts experiencing something that is not normal, here are some symptoms you need to watch out for if you have to be sure it is breathlessness. You need to visit your doctor if you frequent shortness of breath is followed by any of the following.
- Lips and the fingertips might start to turn blue in colour.
- Most often, some people experience trouble breathing when they lie down flat.
- A high-pitched noise called stridor becomes apparent when breathing.
- Swelling in the ankles and feet.
- Cough and high fever can also be a symptom of breathlessness.
How to Treat Shortness of Breath?
Usually, how dyspnea is treated will depend on the underlying cause of the problem.
Overexertion is one cause of breathlessness. This will stop on its own once the person takes a good amount of rest. Constant shortness of breath or severe ones are treated with supplemental oxygen. Asthma patients are treated with bronchodilator whenever need be.
When dyspnea is linked with asthma, bronchodilator and steroids respond very well to the condition. Antibiotics come to the rescue when breathlessness is due to any infection.
See Also: Treatments To Control Asthma At Home
How to Get Rid of Shortness of Breath?
Quick relief for shortness of breath comes from a range of sources. Home remedies for shortness of breath comes very helpful.
1. Black Coffee
Caffeine and shortness of breath have a connection. Coffee helps reduce tiredness in the muscles in the airway. Research (1) has also shown that the effect of caffeine can improve how the airway functions in the body. Caffeine can open the air ways of the lungs helping to relieve the symptoms of asthma as well. Watch your intake of coffee though. Otherwise, over consumption can trigger an increased heartbeat.
The next thing you can run to is ginger. Shortness of breath cure is easy with ginger. Add crushed ginger to your cup of tea or hot water. One of the causes of respiratory disease is RSV virus and ginger has the property to fight it. Ginger can break the mucus down and this can help expel the air out of the body. This healing root has been in use since ancient times. Ginger, therefore, helps in improving circulation to the lungs and can help reduce inflammation too. (2)
3. Sleep Position
Finding the right sleep position is extremely important to treat shortness of breath, especially if the breathlessness is caused by overexertion or anxiety. Lying on your side can help a little. Additionally, elevate your head while having a pillow placed between your legs.
4. Support Position
It is also important that you know how to sit. Here is a quick guide.
- Support your head on a table and sit forward in the chair.
- Lean such that the back is supported when you sit.
- Take your weight off the floor by supporting your hands on a table.
5. Inhale Steam
Shortness of breath relief can be relieved by clearing the nasal passage. Inhale steam to unclog the nasal passage. Here is how to do it.
- Fill a tub with hot water.
- Add drops of essential oil to it.
- The bowl should face your face such that steam moves to your face. Cover your head with a towel as you direct the steam to your face.
- Inhale the steam.
The Best Exercise for Shortness of Breath
Here are some quick exercises for you to try at home.
1. Pursed-lip Breathing:
- For this, begin by sitting upright in a chair. Relax your shoulder.
- Now, press your lips together, by keeping a gap in between. Inhale through your nose for about 2 seconds.
- Now, slowly exhale for the count of 4.
- Continue this for 10 minutes every day.
Breathing exercises for shortness of breath should be done every day for best results. This one will be helpful if you experience anxiety and when this causes breathlessness.
See Also: Tips To Avoid Snoring During Sleep
2. Deep Breathing:
Deep breathing exercise should be practised daily as well.
- Begin by putting your hands on the abdomen as you lie down.
- Inhale deeply through the nose. Expand the abdomen while inhaling and now let go.
- Hold on to your breath for about 2 seconds and exhale through the mouth. Repeat this for 10 minutes to see good results.
Deep breathing helps preventing the body from the air trapping in the lungs. Air being trapped in the lungs is another main reason why shortness of breath is often experienced.
3. Diaphragmatic Breathing
Shortness of breath while sleeping can also happen. Here is something to try.
- Sit on a chair in a relaxed mode of your shoulders. Your knees will be in the bent position now.
- Your hand should be placed on the belly and slowly inhale through nose. And Your belly now will now move when you inhale.
- Tighten your muscles when you exhale. Your belly will now move inwards. Exhale through the mouth, and pursed lips.
- Repeat this for 5 minutes. Give more attention to exhaling.
Diaphragmatic breathing works to exercise the dome shaped muscle at the end of lungs. When diaphragmatic breathing is carried out, there is ample space made available for the lungs to expand while inhaling. The opposite of this happens while exhaling, thus establishing a balance.
4. Forward Sitting
The next thing to try is to alter your seating position.
- Lean your chest to the front when you sit in the chair. Your feet should be flat on the floor, resting.
- Rest your elbows on the street and support your chin with your hand. Your neck and shoulder muscle at this point should be relaxed.
When you bend forward, the waist also moves along with it, thus making the diaphragm to move easily. This enables the air to fill up easily in your lungs, therefore facilitating a better breathing pattern.
5. Supported Back
- Rest your hips on the wall and stand near a wall, facing away.
- Your feet should be a little apart. Rest your hands on the thighs.
- Lean a little to the front and dangle the arms forward.
When people sit for longer periods of time, the area around the chest tightens, thereby making breathing difficult. So, when you shift your pose to the supported back position, your body and airways relax so as to facilitate easy breathing.
See Also: How To Do Breathing Exercises In Yoga
Altering or changing your lifestyle can also help as a breathing problem solution.
- Quit smoking, shortness of breath will come down significantly.
- Try to limit your exposure to allergens and pollutants. Home remedies for shortness of breath due to allergies are a lot. Try our suggested exercises.
- Avoid exertion at high elevations.
- Shortness of breath and tiredness have a connection. They can strain your body and the muscles, thus making it difficult to breathe. Try to get enough peaceful sleep.
- Eating healthy is another way to ensure you get rid of shortness of breath.
When to Consult a Doctor?
You need to consult a doctor when you are experiencing it for the first time. Your doctor will be the expert to tell you how mild or severe it is. However, when a person experiences sudden and severe shortness of breath and experiences a tight pain in the chest, it is at best to seek immediate medical attention.
Frequent shortness of breath is not a good sign and is an indication that you may need immediate medical attention. Sometimes, the only saviour will be an immediate medication. Talk to your doctor and understand where you stand in intensity.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Shortness of Breath Early Pregnancy Common?
Mild symptoms of dyspnea are common during pregnancy. This happens because a pregnant woman tends to alter her breathing capacity. It increases during pregnancy with a reduction in the lung volume.
2. What is Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea?
This is commonly known as shortness of breath while sleeping. Typically, the person wakes up with the sudden loss of breath, thus causing difficulty in inhaling. This has to be brought to the notice of the doctor.
3. Are There Any Herbs for Shortness of Breath?
Dried ivy leaf is something to try. Some drops of ivy leaf have helped people who have shortness of breath in association with asthma. Ginkgo biloba is another extract that can be tried. Gingko contains PFA or platelet-activating factor. It has an important role in instigating asthma. 3ml of asthma, three times a day, can cure shortness of breath.
Disclaimer: Remember to take your doctor’s suggestion too. Do not take shortness of breath for granted and talk to your doctor to understand the complexity of the problem. Home remedies are not the only cure. The condition also needs serious medical treatment in some cases.