Using Respiratory Therapy To Treat Lung Disease


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Part Two of an Investigation on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Your doctor will plan your treatment and may recommend that you meet with a respiratory therapist. These therapists evaluate and treat and care for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. One treatment they use is pursed-lip breathing. It is a simple breathing exercise. This is valuable as you can use it anytime or anywhere.

1. Relax your neck and shoulder muscles.

2. Breathe in slowly through your nose to a count of two keeping mouth closed.

3. Purse your lips as if whistling.

4. Breathe out slowly counting to four.

Pursed lip breathing prolongs exhalation to slow breathing rate by helping move old air out of the lungs so new air can enter. This may help with shortness of breath. Finally this breathing will help you relax and keep the airways open longer and decrease work of breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is intended to help use your diaphragm correctly. It also decreases the work of breathing. And it helps you breathe more efficiently . This may be done sitting or lying. Here is an example:    

The Diaphragmatic breathing technique:
1.    Sit comfortably with knees bent on shoulders, head and neck relaxed.
2.    Place hand on upper chest and the other just below your rib cage.
3.    Tighten stomach muscles letting them falling forward while exhaling through pursed lips.

The forceful coughing technique:
1.    Make yourself comfortable while seated.
2.    Lean your head forward slightly.   
3.    Place both feet firmly on the ground.
4.    Inhale deeply pushing your diaphragm out while inhaling.
5.    Try holding breath for three seconds.
6.    Keeping mouth slightly open –cough twice, the second cough is to move phlegm toward the throat. Dispose into tissue.
7.    Take a rest and repeat once or twice.     

There are plenty of changes one can make to day to day life to help breathing. For example you can’t control the weather, but you can manage indoor humidity.
If you use a humidity controlling machine make sure you clean it often because they are breeding grounds for germs. Keeping the air clean in your living quarters is important. Keep doors of all rooms open to allow for better circulation. Open a window for a short time so you can get better air circulation. Do this several times a day during winter months and leave a window slightly open all the time in summer months. Open doors and windows when air is smoky or has strong smell from cooking.