Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease is an umbrella term for the group of progressive lung diseases that cause breathlessness, eventually reducing the lung function and impacting our everyday activities.
Currently the third highest cause of all deaths, COPD could be even more dangerous than expected because a majority of the people are not aware of their condition as they scoff their symptoms off.
Any progressive lung disease starts as minor breathing difficulty and slowly over the years develops into a breathing condition and may not manifest itself completely until your late 40s or 50s.
Causes and treatment options for COPD:
You are most likely to develop lung disease due to long term damage to the lungs caused by breathing harmful substances, which is why smoking is one of the major causes of COPD. In addition to smoking, fumes, dust, harmful chemicals in the air also contribute to this lung disease. In a few cases, genetic factors also play a role in the development of COPD.
The treatment options available for COPD can ease the symptoms, slow down the development and prevent further complications.
But should you wait until the disease progresses and then get treated for it?
No matter what your age is, you can start taking preventive measures by improving the lung function and its capacity using following breathing exercises:
1. Pursed Lip Breathing:
Pursed lip breathing is the basic breathing exercise that can help you reduce the shortness of the breath by relaxing you and releasing the air trapped in the lungs. And this is how you do it:
1. Sit in a relaxed posture and take a regular breath through your nose for two seconds (count as you take the air).
2. Now pout your lips together as if you are holding a straw between your lips and slowly breathe out through the imaginary straw as you count till 4.
Make sure you maintain a 1:2 ratio between inhale and exhales and perform these exercises 4 to 5 times every day.
2. Diaphragmatic breathing:
Diaphragmatic breathing is efficient breathing which lowers the stress levels, reduces blood pressure and also optimizes general life processes. Though everyone is inherently born with the knowledge of the diaphragmatic breathing, over time we gradually shift towards shallower chest breathing.
But you can slowly incorporate Diaphragmatic breathing by regularly performing following exercise:
1. Lay flat on your back and bend your knees by putting a pillow under them.
2. Now place one hand on your chest and another just below the rib cage so you can feel the diaphragm as you inhale and exhale.
3. Slowly breathe in through the nose for 2 seconds as you feel your stomach move outward, more than your chest.
4. Now with pursed lips, exhale slowly through your mouth. You can gently press on your stomach to further enhance the release of air through the diaphragm.
5. Practice this exercise for 4-5 times every day and as you gain practice you can level-up by performing it in the seated posture.
Diaphragmatic breathing is especially important if you have COPD. Due to the lung condition, the trapped air pushes down the diaphragm increasing the burden on chest and neck muscles and decreasing the efficiency of your breathing. So it is very important for COPD patients to incorporate this exercise in to their daily routine.
Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease is one of the rapidly growing medical conditions around the world today. But you can significantly improve your lung function and reduce the risk of COPD by regularly performing above breathing exercises. But if you are having a hard time performing the above exercises it could be possible that you need personalized care from an experienced Lung Specialist.