Why Do COPD Patients Do Pursed Lip Breathing?
When people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) breathe, the airways in their lungs become narrowed, making it harder for them to breathe. To ease breathing, people with COPD are often taught to use a technique called pursed lip breathing. Pursed lip breathing involves exhaling through the mouth with pursed lips and inhaling slowly through the nose. This article will explore why COPD patients do pursed lip breathing and how it can help them manage their symptoms.
What is COPD?
COPD is a progressive lung disease that causes breathing difficulties. It is a common condition among older adults and smokers. COPD damages the airways in the lungs, making it harder for air to flow in and out of the lungs. This causes shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing, which can affect a person’s quality of life.
What is Pursed Lip Breathing?
Pursed lip breathing is a technique that involves inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth with pursed lips, as if you are whistling. It is often used by people with COPD to help them control their breathing and ease shortness of breath. This technique can help relieve the symptoms of COPD by slowing down the breathing rate, helping to keep the airways open, and promoting relaxation.
How does Pursed Lip Breathing Help COPD Patients?
Pursed lip breathing can help people with COPD in several ways:
- Slows breathing rate: Pursed lip breathing helps to slow down the breathing rate, making it easier for the person to take full breaths and relax the body.
- Keeps airways open: Pursed lip breathing helps to keep the airways open by creating back pressure, which prevents the airways from collapsing.
- Reduces shortness of breath: Pursed lip breathing can help to reduce feelings of shortness of breath and improve the person’s ability to exercise or perform other activities.
- Improves oxygen exchange: Pursed lip breathing can help to improve the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, allowing the person to breathe more efficiently.
- Promotes relaxation: Pursed lip breathing can help to promote relaxation by reducing anxiety and tension.
How Do You Perform Pursed Lip Breathing?
Performing pursed lip breathing is a simple process:
- Sit upright in a chair or stand up straight.
- Inhale through your nose for two seconds.
- Purse your lips as if you were about to whistle.
- Exhale slowly through your pursed lips for four to six seconds.
- Repeat as needed.
When Should You Use Pursed Lip Breathing?
COPD patients should use pursed lip breathing whenever they feel short of breath or their breathing becomes labored. They should also use pursed lip breathing before, during, and after exercise to help them control their breathing and improve their exercise tolerance. Pursed lip breathing can also be used to help manage anxiety and stress.
Pursed lip breathing is a simple and effective technique that can help people with COPD manage their breathing difficulties. By slowing down the breathing rate and promoting relaxation, pursed lip breathing can help to reduce feelings of shortness of breath and improve the person’s ability to exercise or perform other activities. By using pursed lip breathing, people with COPD can improve their quality of life and manage their condition more effectively.
Most Common Questions and their Answers related to ‘Why do COPD Patients do Pursed Lip Breathing?’
- Q: Can pursed lip breathing improve my lung function?
- Q: How often should I do pursed lip breathing?
- Q: Is pursed lip breathing safe for everyone with COPD?
- Q: Can pursed lip breathing help me manage my anxiety?
- Q: How does pursed lip breathing help to keep my airways open?
A: While pursed lip breathing cannot directly improve lung function, it can help to improve breathing efficiency and reduce symptoms of shortness of breath. This can improve overall lung function over time.
A: You can perform pursed lip breathing whenever you feel short of breath or your breathing becomes labored. You can also perform pursed lip breathing before, during, and after exercise to help you control your breathing and improve your exercise tolerance.
A: Pursed lip breathing is generally safe for most people with COPD. However, if you have any concerns or questions about whether pursed lip breathing is appropriate for you, you should consult with your healthcare provider.
A: Yes. Pursed lip breathing can help to promote relaxation and reduce feelings of anxiety or stress. By controlling your breathing, you may be able to feel more calm and centered.
A: Pursed lip breathing helps to keep the airways open by creating back pressure in the lungs. This pressure prevents the airways from collapsing, allowing for better air flow.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. COPD. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/copd. Accessed June 23, 2021.
- The Lung Association. COPD and Respiratory Diseases. Available at: https://www.lung.ca/lung-health/lung-disease/copd-and-respiratory-disease. Accessed June 23, 2021.
- Mayo Clinic. Pursed-Lip Breathing: How It Helps. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/copd/in-depth/pursed-lip-breathing/art-20048285. Accessed June 23, 2021.