Acute or chronic breathing struggles can impair your overall quality of life and prevent you from enjoying the things you once loved. Regardless of the occurrence, it’s best not to take this issue lightly and always record any instances of weakness, shortness of breath, or gasping, and report them to your health care provider. Here’s a short list of what to do if you experience trouble breathing for short-term use and ways to manage in-the-moment issues.
Seek Medical Care
If the issue is persistent, it’s advisable to seek medical care right away and continue to do so until you reach a solution. Your health care provider can run testing and, if necessary, use respiratory equipment to help you gain control. Consider asking a friend or family member to accompany you to ask follow-up questions and help you prepare your belongings should you have an extended stay in a facility.
While at home or in a public location, a brief breathing struggle may mean you need a few moments to brace yourself and refocus your breathwork. A few ways you can do this are leaning on a waist-height object with the palms of your hands, leaning up against a solid surface with your back, or finding a safe location to sit and lay your head.
Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing
Aside from bracing yourself and for acute issues, practicing diaphragmatic breathing can help you regain control of your breathing and steady your emotions. It is scary not to know what to do if you experience trouble breathing, but avoiding anxiety or panic is advisable. Diaphragmatic practices include:
- Sitting upright in a chair and relaxing your head, neck, and shoulders.
- Placing one hand on your belly and the other across your chest.
- Deeply breathing through your nose and feeling your stomach fill with air.
- Pursing your lips, exhaling slowly, and feeling your belly release.
Regardless of the frequency in occurrence, lifestyle changes can always assist in creating healthier bodily functions from the inside. Some of the best ways to help breathing struggles include weight management, avoiding tobacco use, regular exercise, and avoiding allergens or pollutants.
Remember, it’s always best to consult your physician and follow their treatment plan. Easy breathing is an essential part of daily life, so don’t wait to seek help!