Belly breathing while reclining on pillows.

Breathing is hard when you have lung problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or interstitial lung disease. You may take quick, short breaths. Breathing this way makes it harder to get air into your lungs. Learning new ways to slow down and control your breathing may help. You may feel better and be able to do more because you can breathe better.

You can try two ways to control your breathing. They are pursed-lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing.

Use these methods when you are more short of breath than normal. Practice them often so you can use them correctly when you need to.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Practice pursed-lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing daily. Try to do them 3 or 4 times a day for 20 minutes each time.
Pursed-lip breathing helps you breathe more air out so that your next breath can be deeper. Pursed-lip breathing can relieve shortness of breath and help you be able to move around. Think of it as “smell the flowers (inhale) and blow out the candle (exhale).”
Breathe in through your nose for about 2 seconds.
Breathe out through your mouth while almost closing your lips for 4 to 6 seconds. Note that exhaling is longer than inhaling.


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