As Breath Hub, we are aware of the difficulties faced by individuals with shortness of breath. Therefore, in this blog, we have answered your questions such as what is shortness of breath, what are the causes of shortness of breath, and how to tell if shortness of breath is from anxiety. Let’s dive in!
What is Shortness of Breath?
Shortness of breath, medically known as dyspnea, is a condition that almost all of us experience at some point in our lives. The uncomfortable feeling of not getting enough air into our lungs often causes discomfort and, in some cases, anxiety. To better understand dyspnea, we need to look in more detail at the causes of shortness of breath.
What causes shortness of breath?
As mentioned above, in order to better understand breathlessness, we first need to know what causes it.
Dyspnea can be attributed to numerous factors, ranging from minor problems to more serious medical conditions. Below we have compiled some common causes for you:
- Physical Activity: Intense exercise or physical exertion can cause breathlessness. This is completely normal and usually subsides when your breathing returns to its normal rhythm.
- Allergies: Allergic reactions, especially respiratory allergies, can trigger breathlessness due to airway inflammation and narrowing.
- Respiratory Infections: Conditions such as bronchitis, pneumonia or the common cold are among the causes of temporary breathlessness as they block the airways with mucus.
- Asthma: Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterized by recurrent attacks of shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): COPD, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is a progressive lung disease that often causes chronic breathlessness.
- Heart Conditions: Congestive heart failure and other cardiac problems can cause fluid to build up in the lungs, leading to breathlessness.
Unusual shortness of breath scenarios
Apart from the well-known causes of shortness of breath, some conditions can catch you off guard. These conditions include the following:
- Shortness of Breath That Comes and Goes: If you experience intermittent shortness of breath, it may be due to factors such as stress, anxiety or exposure to irritants.
- Shortness of Breath When Lying Down: This can be a sign of heart-related problems such as heart failure or sleep apnea that affect your ability to breathe comfortably in a horizontal position.
- Shortness of Breath After Eating: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is among the causes of shortness of breath after eating, as stomach acid can irritate the airways.
How to tell if shortness of breath is from anxiety?
Anxiety and panic attacks are important contributors to shortness of breath. When anxiety occurs, our body often goes into a heightened state of alertness, known as the “fight or flight” response. This response causes an increase in heart rate and rapid, shallow breathing. This can lead to a feeling of breathlessness.
Anxiety-related shortness of breath is a condition that requires some self-awareness to distinguish it from other causes. Here are some signs that breathlessness may be linked to anxiety:
- Sudden Onset: Anxiety shortness of breath usually occurs suddenly.
- Accompanying Anxiety Symptoms: Anxiety induced shortness of breath is accompanied by concurrent symptoms of anxiety, such as restlessness or a sense of impending doom.
- Disappears with Calm: Breathlessness caused by anxiety is usually relieved when we relax or distract ourselves from anxiety-provoking thoughts.
The Definitive Solution to Shortness of Breath with Breathwork and Breathing Exercises
We at Breath Hub advocate utilizing breathing exercises and breathwork to effectively manage and alleviate breathlessness! These techniques are invaluable solutions on your journey to regain control over your breath and your life:
1. Pursed lip breathing
Why practice pursed lip breathing technique?
Pursed lip breathing is a valuable technique for people suffering from shortness of breath. It increases the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs, providing a feeling of comfort and comfort.
How to practice pursed lip breathing technique?
- Find a comfortable position for yourself.
- Breathe slowly through your nose for two seconds.
- Exhale slowly and deliberately through your pursed lips for four seconds.
- Focus on maintaining a comfortable and controlled pace.
- Repeat this cycle several times until you feel more comfortable.
What are the benefits of pursed lip breathing?
- Improves lung function.
- Reduces the feeling of breathlessness.
- Increases oxygen circulation.
2. Humming bee breath (Bhramari Pranayama)
Why practice Bhramari Pranayama?
The relaxing humming sound that occurs during this breathing exercise can be particularly effective for managing anxiety-related breathlessness.
How to practice humming bee breathing exercise?
- Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie down.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose.
- As you exhale, gently close your vocal cords to create a humming sound.
- Focus on the vibration and calming sensation produced by the humming.
- Continue this process for several breath cycles, allowing your mind and body to relax.
What are the benefits of the humming bee breathing technique?
- Relaxes the mind and body.
- Calms the nerves.
- Promotes focus and tranquility.
3. Resonant breathing
Why practice resonant breathing?
Resonant breathing involves creating a harmonious rhythm for your breath, which can significantly reduce the feeling of breathlessness and promote relaxation.
How to practice resonant breathing?
- Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight.
- Breathe in gently and softly through your nose for a set period of time (e.g. four seconds).
- Exhale through your mouth with the same softness and duration.
- Maintain equal time for both inhalation and exhalation.
- Find a pace at which you feel comfortable and relaxed.
- Continue this rhythmic breathing pattern for a few minutes, focusing on the regularity of your breath.
What are the benefits of resonant breathing technique?
- Promotes calmness.
- Promotes a steady and regular breathing pattern.
- Reduces anxiety and stress.
Say Goodbye to Shortness of Breath with Breath Hub!
We understand the challenges faced by individuals dealing with breathlessness, whether caused by anxiety or other causes. We are here to provide you with answers and solutions to help you breathe easily. But that’s not all! We offer a comprehensive toolkit to support you on your journey to better breathing and wellbeing.
Why Breath Hub?
- Customized Plans: Get personalized advice tailored to your specific needs and goals.
- Community Support: Connect with a supportive community of individuals who share their experiences and tips.
- Breathing Exercises: Access a range of effective breathing exercises to manage anxiety-related breathlessness and improve overall respiratory health.
Don’t miss the opportunity to take control of your breathing and live a more relaxed and comfortable life. Join the Breath Hub Community today!