May 14, 2009

What Is Shortness of Breath?

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Shortness of breath is a common condition that will affect even the most fitness fanatic person alive. While in many cases, shortness of breath is a result of simple over exertion, in many cases it is due to an underlying condition that has affected the breathing passages, the lungs or the heart. These may vary from the relatively mundane chest condition caused by the common cold to being a major symptom of a more serious disorder such as lung or heart disease. Shortness of breath is known medically as dyspnea and is classified depending on whether it occurs after activity or exercise or at rest.

A cure for dyspnea will depend on the cause. These include blockages in the nasal passages, mouth or throat that may cause breathing difficulties, heart diseases which result in the heart being unable to pump sufficient quantities of blood oxygen to the body, lung diseases and psychological factors such as anxiety and panic attacks. Lung diseases or disorders may include pulmonary embolisms, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, emphysema, pulmonary hypertension and tuberculosis to name a few.

If you have been experiencing shortness of breath for a long time now, you should consult your doctor. Once the major causes such as heart and lung diseases have been ruled out, you are free to try remedial action at home. There are many natural treatments or home remedies for shortness of breath.

The first of these is to breathe clean air. Often dust and other pollutants can be the major contributing factor to breathing difficulties. Simple steps such as keeping your windows shut, using an air conditioner and keeping its air filter clean can help keep the air you breathe free of pollutants. The same steps should be taken while driving in heavy traffic. A room ionizer is another effective remedy for a dusty environment.

It is of prime importance that you discontinue smoking . Avoid staying at home if the house is being painted as the vapors given off by paint can cause breathing difficulties.

If you are suffering from a cold or cough, try steam inhalation to keep your nasal passages decongested. Another remedy to expel accumulated mucus is to lie on your stomach with your upper torso lying over the edge of the bed and cough. Gravity will help drain the accumulated mucus from your lungs.

Drinking enough water will help keep you hydrated and thin out the mucus, making it easier to expel. Use a humidifier in your room especially during the winter months.

Exercise is a great cure for shortness of breath which is common amongst physically unfit and overweight or obese people. Regular exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming or aerobic exercises will help improve your stamina and reduce episodes of breathlessness. It will also help you to lose weight in case you are overweight.

Another very effective form of therapy is yoga. This ancient Indian science has shown to be very effective in increasing lung function. In addition, yoga is an excellent form of therapy for the mind as well as the organs of the body. Certain yoga asanas such as pranayama help improve your breathing technique and have a calming effect on your mind. You should consider joining a yoga class under the guidance of an experienced instructor.

Certain foods can also help cure shortness of breath. Drinking black coffee is known to lessen the duration and intensity of asthma attacks. However, this remedy should be used sparingly by asthmatics as it can increase blood pressure and raise your heart rate. Adding a pinch of black pepper to tea may help open the bronchial tubes, making breathing easier. Ginger juice and honey mixed with fenugreek makes for an excellent expectorant.

Once again, it is important to stress the need for you to first consult a doctor before trying any home remedies for breathlessness.