About Being Breathless and Helping Your SOB.

July 18, 2011

…..So many people keep commenting about how SOB they are, so I thought I’d put a few of my thoughts and experiences in a post…..

Breathlessness is not harmful, but it is very unpleasant and frightening. I find it is important for me to still remain as active as my illness allows me to be even when I am very SOB.

  • It is very common for my SOB to make me feel frightened and anxious. But I know this can then make my breathing worse. I try to remind myself that breathlessness is not in itself dangerous. I practice PLB (pursed lip breathing) as it helps control my anxiety at being SOB. There are also relaxation, positioning and breathing exercises that you can ask a physio to teach you.

  • I have learned by experience to plan ahead. An important part of controlling my breathlessness is to prioritize and try not to do too much at once or in any one day. Although often frustrating this allows me to conserve  energy for the things that are important to me: this helps my overall confidence.
  • I know I also suffer from air hunger, particularly in the kind of humid muggy weather we have been having. And a lot of my friends have been saying the same.  I do things like cool my face with cold water. Sometimes this reduces the feeling of breathlessness. Plus, I am a mad window and door opener: any way I can create a through draught is beneficial to my breathing.

  • I constantly pace myself. I allow plenty of time and take breaks when I need them. Yes, being active increases my feeling of breathlessness but this is normal for every fit and healthy person, so why worry so much?!
  • With any activity that I find difficult, and definitely going upstairs, it is important that I get control of my breathing before I start. Tasks I find really hard when I’m SOB are things involving carrying or bending-I’ve learned either not to do it, or to ask for help, especially at school!

  • Oxygen helps me a great deal, but obviously you need to have a medical reason to be prescribed it, and not all people will respond to ‘upping the oxygen’ just because they are breathless. Because I find oxygen helpful I am prescribed to use it at anytime such as just before I walk upstairs, or when or  before walking our doglet up the road. To use it now and again when I have become very SOB is also beneficial.
  • And finally, Diazepam. Nobody likes to admit they are taking valium! But on top of all the usual myriad of anti asthma and anti breathlessness meds, I have found 2mg of Diazepam here and there really helps me. I suppose, because it is usually used to treat anxiety it can also help with the breathlessness because being SOB has so much associated anxiety and panic. Mine is usually prescribed at night as it makes me wonderfully sleepy. If you think it may help you it is worth asking your Dr about it. I have been pleasantly relieved and have enabled a decent amount of sleep on a number of occasions during this horrid weather spell, recently.

….What I have written above is just an idea of my ways of dealing with long term SOB.  If your breathing is getting worse or you are experiencing breathlessness as a new feeling, please, please seek medical advice from your GP…..