We sometimes tend to forget how important being able to breathe normally really is. In most cases it is taken for granted until the first obstacle occurs. Whether it’s difficulty breathing during sleep or seasonal allergies, it is at that point that we realise how vital our ability to breathe without obstructions is for our overall well-being.
Depending on the type of breathing difficulty that you might be faced with, here are some great pieces of advice on how you can ease your problems with just a few habit changes.
Allergy caused breathing difficulties
There are a lot of allergens both in nature and in our own home, and people react to them in different ways, it can be a rash or shortness of breath. If the latter occurs, it is more likely that the allergens are airborne like pollen, mould or dander. Now, apart from taking anti-allergy medications there are several other things we can do to ease the breathing difficulties caused by these perpetrators. First is control of the cleanliness levels in our home. Mould likes damp places so it is important to inspect your home on regular basis and especially pay extra attention to the bathroom, kitchen and basement.
It would be advisable for people experiencing shortness of breath due to allergies to obtain an air purifier so as to maintain high air quality in their homes. In addition make sure you have your medication on you when leaving your home, especially in spring and summer when pollen levels are the highest. It would also be advisable to avoid staying in parks, forests or on meadows for longer periods of time as to limit exposure.
Possibility of sleep apnea
Most people are not aware that this is happening and are only experiencing the symptoms ranging from fatigue and slow reflexes to low concentration and moodiness. Luckily there are ways to manage sleep apnea that might help normalise your night time breathing patterns. In addition, changing a few habits can also help aid with this condition. For example, stop smoking as it can increase inflammation and fluid retention in your throat and upper airway. It would also be advisable to avoid drinking alcohol or taking sleeping pills before going to bed as they tend to relax the throat muscles even more and that can interfere with our breathing.
If you think you have sleep apnea, it would be good to speak to your doctor to find out for sure and then to explore options on how to cope with it.
Anxiety and panic attacks
Breathing difficulties in the form of shortness of breath are quite common with people suffering from anxiety. In most cases, trouble breathing is usually caused by hyperventilation and this is something most people don’t understand. When we aren’t taking in a full breath, it may feel like we are lacking the sufficient amount of oxygen, so our body’s logical response is to try taking deeper breaths. What most of us are not aware of is that this feeling isn’t caused by not getting enough oxygen, it is actually caused by getting too much oxygen. So by breathing deeper you are providing your body with too much oxygen and not enough CO2 which can in return cause your hyperventilation, and can lead to additional symptoms like lightheadedness, chest pain or rapid heartbeat.
So basically, when a person is experiencing an anxiety attack, they might feel as if they cannot get enough oxygen in and so by taking deep breath they are actually depleting the CO2 levels in their body which can make them feel as though they are experiencing a serious medical issue like a heart attack. There are several ways to deal with anxiety attacks that might help with the breathing difficulties accompanying it. Work on your overall calmness, regular meditation and psychotherapy can help eliminate the causes of the anxiety. Next, there is the right kind of breathing if the anxiety is unavoidable. Take short light breaths through your nose – this will go against your body’s natural instinct to get more air in, but will help manage the condition more efficiently.
Breathing difficulties caused by obesity
Being overweight can put excess pressure on the lungs causing us to take smaller and shallower breaths. This in return lowers the oxygen levels in our blood which can lead to chronic fatigue and if not dealt with to other more serious conditions. Now when it comes to these type of breathing problems, they are relatively easy to deal with by getting rid of the cause and getting our body into shape. With a few changes in the nutritional and fitness habits your body can be well on the way to recovery. By lowering the weight of our entire body we are minimising the pressure we put on our lungs enabling them to do their job and get those blood oxygen levels rising, which, in return, will provide the body with the additional energy it needs to keep on exercising and staying active.
So there you have it – some of the major causes of breathing difficulties and great ways on how we can cope. In most cases it is up to us to make the necessary adjustments to our habits in order to get the job done. Sometimes we can enlist the aid of medication or a machine, but as long as we recognise the issues and are willing to help our body fight them we will be able to get our breathing in check. And by doing so give our body the energy and strength it need to help us achieve our goals on the daily basis. Our ability to breath properly is vital for the overall health of our body and mind.
Photo credits: Mayo Clinic, Pexels, Pixabay