Saturday, 11 February 2012

Emphysema Breathing Exercises |

Emphysema Breathing Exercises Photo Credit Yoga pose image by huaxiadragon from

Emphysema falls under the general category of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Emphysema is a chronic condition that occurs when the air sacs in your lungs become damaged. This restricts the amount of oxygen that can get to your lungs, causing you to feel tired and out of breath. The leading cause of emphysema is smoking. In additional medical treatment, you can take steps to help yourself if you have this condition. Quitting smoking and doing daily emphysema breathing exercises should be a part of an overall plan.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Breathing exercises can improve your emphysema symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic. Diaphragmatic breathing is easiest to do while lying down. Place one hand on your chest and one on your abdomen. As you breathe try to make the hand on the abdomen move and the hand on the chest stay still. You can also rest pillows on your body if that is more relaxing then using your hands. Inhale slowly and deeply as the abdomen and hand rise up. Exhale slowly and deeply as the hand and abdomen go down. Diaphragmatic breathing is often taught through the nose. This is difficult if you have emphysema. For that reason, start with breathing through the mouth. As your lungs get stronger, you may be able to do some nasal breathing. Work up to taking ten to fifteen deep breaths, two to three times per day.

Pursed Lip Breathing

According to the National Emphysema Foundation, exercising at the right level can strengthen your lungs and improve your quality of life. Due to the damage emphysema causes, you may have difficulty completely emptying your lungs because the airways can collapse. Pursed lip breathing can help to combat this and allow you to clear your lungs completely. First inhale through the nose. Take a slow deep breath in but do not strain. Then slowly and gently blow the air out through pursed lips (make a small circle with your mouth). Do not blow hard or try to force the air out as this will constrict the lungs. The exhale should take twice the time it took to inhale. Do this exercise several times during the day. It will help to make your lungs stronger and give you energy to get through the day.

Incentive Spirometer

If your breathing difficulties are interfering with daily life, your doctor or physical therapist may suggest using an incentive spirometer. This device will give you feedback as to how well your lungs are functioning. Start by gently emptying your lungs. Place the tube in your mouth and inhale slowly and deeply. Without straining try to raise the ball in the tube as high as you can. Remove the tube from your mouth and record your results. Hold your breath in for a few seconds. Then exhale slowly. Next, take ten to fifteen slow deep breaths without the devise. After using the spirometer, you should try to cough to help clear out your lungs. Check with your doctor or physical therapist as to how often you should use your spirometer.


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