Shortness of breath and the sensation of not being able to get enough air can be a very frightening. Dyspnea (the medical terminology) manifests as gasping, difficulty breathing, a tightening in the chest and a feeling of suffocation.
Understanding shortness of breath
Breathlessness and gasping are triggered when an irritant – cold or dry air, smoke, pollen, or dust which adversely affects the airways. Additionally, stress, oscillations in the hormone profile, and anger also trigger an attack. Breathing difficulty occurs because the bronchi which allow oxygen into the lungs go into a spasm. The condition is also associated with coughing and tightness in the chest. Severe episodes where there is wheezing, air hunger and chest pain can be alarmingly scary.
Heavy-duty exercise, extreme temperatures, very high altitude and obesity are known to set off shortness of breath in a healthy person. Except for these, if you experience breathlessness, it is usually indicative of a disorder and must be looked in to without delay.
In case you have inexplicable difficulty in breathing, more so if it’s sudden and severe, you need to confer with your health care professional immediately. Neglect and delay can be perilous.
Conditions that trigger breathlessness
Most cases are because of either a lung condition or a heart disorder. The lungs and the heart play a pivotal role in the transport of oxygen to the cells of the body as well as in the getting rid of the carbon dioxide; and if there is a disorder with either system, your breathing gets affected.
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
• Lung infections
• Blood clot in an artery in the lung
• Pleural effusion
• Collapse of the lung
• Lung cancer
• Inflammation of the tissue around the heart
• Heart failure
• Heart attack
• Undue fluid around the heart
• Intense anxiety
Home remedies to combat shortness of breath and wheezing
A delay in the standard care measures and self medication can have rather serious consequences. Do not neglect; get in touch with your health care provider. Conversely, if you have been diagnosed with a condition and are on to medications for the same, you can employ natural remedies and home treatments to manage your breathlessness better. It could either be used in conjunction with conventional treatments and / or to help reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of an episode.
5 Holistic remedies that work fabulously!
The most important aspect of effective management is to stay absolutely calm in the face of an attack. Panic worsens your symptoms significantly. When an attack is coming on, you get nervous and fretful; this, in turn, sets of a clasping response which further restricts the airways and the breathlessness snowballs.
Close your eyes, count up to 10 and will your breathing to become smooth and even! As you inhale, visualize the lungs filling in with white light, and feel your breathing become easy and rhythmic. Repeat. This imagery promises astounding benefits and you should incorporate it in to your treatment routine. Let’s explore the efficacy of 5 natural remedies:
1. Turmeric: Turmeric is a giant powerhouse! Everyone’s had haldi doodh – it’s absolutely delicious and truly nutritious! Adding a dash of honey can make a haldi doodh, a comforting and delicious beverage! Packed with oodles of curcumin – the active principle, turmeric is one of the most effective anti-inflammatory agents. It is also a powerful anti-microbial and anti-septic. The spice provides potential allergy assistance because curcumin helps ward off allergic responses and the release of histamine. It can hold back the release of COX-2 prostaglandins, which are involved in inflammation. It can also help manage shortness of breath that’s related to lung infections. In asthmatics, curcumin is potent enough to diminish the degree of the attack and stave off episodes as well. Integrate haldi doodh in to your bedtime routine and add the golden spice to all your curries and gravies! Tata Sampann Turmeric Powder is scientifically processed and hygienically packed to preserve its natural goodness. Furthermore, each packet of haldi offers at least 3 % of curcumin.
• Onion: This Is a very important home remedy for breathlessness. Quercetin found in onions fights off allergy-triggered gasping and breathlessness. Quercetin – a super powerful antioxidant is a potent natural antihistamine. It has the ability to inhibit the synthesis and release of compounds which have a part to play in the body’s allergic responses. Onions contain organic sulphur compounds as well as the enzyme alliinase, which offer wonderful respiratory benefits. Strong vapours that emanate when an onion is cut ease your breathing. Time-honoured to deal with breathlessness that’s associated with asthma, onions have the potent ability to stop the release of compounds which prompt a broncho-spasm which causes wheezing. Asthmatics should grate half an onion, blend with generous amounts of honey and consume once every day. You could also cut an onion into half and leave it by your bedside; it ensures that you breathe easy through the night.
• Carom seeds or ajwain: Ajwain is strongly aromatic and pungent. The active principles - thymol oil, terpine, and limonene are robust antioxidants and anti- spasmodic agents. Consuming 1 spoon of carom seeds with warm water quickly expels mucus from the body and is very useful in the treatment of asthma. You can also make a decoction of the seeds and have daily at bedtime; it helps ease breathlessness and wheezing. Another way of employing these tiny seeds is to heat them on a skillet and inhale the vapours that emanate.
• Eucalyptus oil: This essential oil is the perfect shortness of breath treatment at home. It is an all-natural way to make your distress a little less painful! The oil is packed with cineole and eucalyptol, compounds that are responsible for the oil’s clean, sharp, invigorating aroma and also provide the oil its robust medicinal value. Eucalyptus oil boasts of strong anti-bacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. Add 10 drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of boiling water, and inhale the steam. The vapours help ease breathing and help reduce anxiety as well. It helps stave off muscle spasms which narrow the airways and cause gasping, consequently making breathing easier. The oil is also a gentle expectorant and encourages drainage from congested sinuses. Clinical trials show that asthmatics that were given eucalyptus essential oil have been able to decrease their dose of steroid drugs; however, confer with your healthcare provider and have your treatment monitored by him.
• Bromelain: Bromelain is an enzyme that is derived from the fruit and the stem of the pineapple, which offers very strong anti-inflammatory properties. Bromelain shows tremendous promise in the effective management of asthma by inhibiting airway inflammation. Research and clinical trials reveal that bromelain decreases inflammation in the respiratory airways, especially inflammation that is associated with allergies. As much as possible, incorporate this tropical fruit in to your diet. If you can't find the fresh fruit, select a bag of frozen fruit. You can snack on sliced pineapples or add it to your smoothies for a sweet nutritious drink! You could also discuss with your doctor and start a bromelain supplement. Remember, when considering taking a supplement, it is very essential that you check with your healthcare provider first, particularly if pregnant or have a health condition.
Omega 3 – a lesser known home remedy for breathlessness!
An inflammation-causing fat in our diet is the arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is present in certain foods – shellfish, egg yolks, and meat. Decreasing the intake of these foods or eliminating them from your diet altogether helps reduce inflammation and breathlessness. Another way of decreasing arachidonic acid levels in the body is to increase the intake of the beneficial omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, tuna, and mackerel function like leukotriene inhibitors – i.e. drugs which help deal with breathlessness. These drugs stop the action of compounds that cause inflammation in the airways; likewise, omega 3 fatty acids are a fantastic home remedy for difficulty in breathing. They help prevent inflammatory conditions that could set off shortness of breath. Increase your intake of fatty fish or discuss with your health care provider about starting a supplement.
Adopt these self-care measures
• Take your medications regularly and diligently: Not adhering to the medicine routine causes exacerbations.
• Stop smoking: Quit smoking, and also make sure you aren’t exposed to second hand smoke. Quitting decelerates the progression of a lung disease and wards of complications.>
• Circumvent exposure to allergens: As much as possible, stay away from irritants, chemical fumes, smoke, and environmental toxins.
• Avoid extremes in temperature: Very cold as well as exceedingly hot conditions amplify breathlessness.
• Avoid strong smelling things: Perfumes and deodorants, heavily fragrant shampoos and conditioners and strongly aromatic foods - do what you can to avoid them.
• Acclimatize when travelling to a high altitude: Avoid exertion until you have acclimatized well to the high altitude area.
• Exercise regularly: Exercise enhances fitness levels appreciably. Maintaining an ideal body weight is critical to warding off gasping and shortness of breath. Converse with your doctor before embarking on to an exercise routine though.
• Watch your diet: Eat small, frequent meals through the day, and do not eat right before you go to bed. Upward regurgitation of stomach acids is also known to set off tightness in the chest and breathing difficulty. Also, if you are over-weight or obese, make a conscious effort to shed all the unwanted weight.
When home remedies aren’t quite adequate
When must you get in touch with your health care professional? If you have developed sudden breathlessness for the very first time, it is exceedingly important that you have your symptoms evaluated by your doctor. If you’re already being treated for a certain condition, and have been prescribed medications as well as S.O.S. drugs, if you notice that you are taking in more medicines and often, or if your symptoms have aggravated to a very great degree, you must contact your doctor.
Deep breathing exercise to boost lung power and reduce anxiety
Breathing exercises are very popular amongst asthmatics and those who have compromised lung capacity. Do they really work? Let’s explore!
It is crucial for you to follow a strict schedule when it comes to practicing breathing exercises. Breathing exercises and Pranayama boost lung power, help the lungs work optimally and reduce the intensity, duration and frequency of breathlessness. Here’s an exercise which is doctor-approved and endorsed by most health care professionals. Pranayama focuses on making inhaling difficult in order to strengthen the chest muscles.
Lie on your back and place a book on the abdomen. Inhale gently and deeply, expanding the abdomen. Watch the book; if it rises up, you’re breathing correctly. When you feel that you have reached full capacity, breathe in a small amount of air and see if it’s possible to raise the book a wee bit higher. Now, slowly and steadily exhale. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Being healthy and free from disease is on everyone’s list! You can boost your health in numerous ways, the chief routes being diet and exercise. Home remedies, herbal treatment, and natural medications also have a very crucial role to play in the maintenance of good health. As always, when you suppose it’s a serious medical problem, always discuss with your doctor, but for others there are a host of solutions to healthy living right at home!
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