5 Ways to Cure Shortness of Breath or Breathlessness
04 Apr 2019

Few sensations are as frightening as not being able to get enough air. Shortness of breath — also known as dyspnea — is often described as an intense tightening in the chest, air hunger or a sense of suffocation. It is an uncomfortable condition that makes it difficult to fully get air into your lungs. Problems with your heart and lungs can hurt your breathing.

Very exhausting exercise, high temperatures, enormous obesity and high altitude all can cause shortness of breath in a healthy person. Outside of these examples, shortness of breath is likely an indication of a medical problem.

Some people might experience shortness of breath suddenly for brief periods of time. Others might experience it over the long run — several weeks or more.


Most cases of dyspnea are due to heart or lung conditions. Your heart and lungs are involved in delivering oxygen to your tissues and removing carbon dioxide, and issues with either of these processes have an effect on your breathing.

Shortness of breath that comes on suddenly (called acute) features a restricted number of causes, including:

  • Asthma (i.e bronchospasm)
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Cardiac tamponade (i.e excess fluid around the heart)
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Low blood pressure (i.e hypotension)
  • Pneumonia (and other pulmonary infections)
  • Pneumothorax (i.e collapsed lung)
  • Pulmonary embolism (i.e. blood clot in an artery in the lung)
  • Sudden blood loss
  • Upper airway obstruction (i.e. blockage in the breathing passage)

In the case of shortness of breath that has lasted for weeks or longer (called chronic), the condition is most frequently due to:

  • Asthma
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Deconditioning
  • Heart dysfunction
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Obesity

A number of other heart or lung conditions like lung cancer, pulmonary edema, heart failure, etc can also make it hard to get enough air.

Here the 5 ways to cure breathlessness:

  • Deep breathing

Deep Breathing

Shortness of breath is known as dyspnea.

Breathing in deeply through the abdomen can facilitate someone to manage their breathlessness. To do this at home, you should:

  • Lie down, putting their hands on their abdomen
  • Inhale deeply through their nose, expanding their abdomen and letting the lungs fill with air
  • Hold their breath for a couple of seconds
  • Exhale slowly through the mouth, emptying their lungs
  • Repeat this pattern for 5 to 10 minutes

This exercise could be done several times a day, or as often as the individual experiences shortness of breath. It is best to keep breathing slowly and simply, and deeply instead of quickly.

  • Pursed Lip Breathing

Pursed lip breathing

Another respiration exercise that might facilitate to alleviate shortness of breath is pursed-lip breathing.

Pursed-lip breathing helps to cut back breathlessness by decelerating the pace of an individual’s breathing. This is significantly helpful if shortness of breath is being caused by anxiety.

To try pursed-lip breathing at one’s home, a person should:

  • Sit upright with their shoulders relaxed
  • Press their lips along, just keeping a gap between them in the middle
  • Inhale through their nose for few seconds
  • Gently exhale through their pursed lips for a count of 4
  • Carry on inhaling and exhaling in this method for about ten minutes

People can try this exercise any time they feel short of breath, and repeat it throughout the day until they feel better.

  • Inhaling Steam

Inhaling steam can facilitate to keep an individual’s nasal passages clear, which can help them breathe more easily. Heat and moisture from steam can also break down mucus in the lungs, which might also scale back breathlessness.

To try steam inhalation at home, one should:

  • Fill a bowl with very hot water
  • Add a handful of drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil
  • Position their face over the bowl, with a towel over their head
  • Take deep breaths, inhaling the steam

It is vital to ensure that the water is left to chill slightly if it has just boiled. Otherwise, the steam could scald the skin.

  • Sleeping in a Relaxed Position

sleeping position to curb breathlessness

A lot of people experience shortness of breath while they sleep. This results in waking up frequently, which can diminish the quality and duration of your sleep.

  • Try lying on your face with a pillow between your legs
  • Head elevated by pillows
  • Keep your back straight


  • Lie on your back
  • Keep your head elevated and your knees bent
  • Keep a pillow under your knees

Both of these positions facilitate your body and airways relax, making breathing easier. Have your doctor assess you for sleep apnea, and use a CPAP machine if required.

MyOxy portable oxygen cans come handy in times of emergency. It should be kept in the first aid of every household as it is very useful in case of COPD and low blood levels of oxygen.

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