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Learning to breathe right is the hardest of all.

Learning to breathe right is the hardest of all.

The one thing most if not all us with COPD have in common is – we don’t breathe right. Even though we fought to breathe from birth many of us never got it right. Me included. I am of course talking about mouth breathing opposed to breathing in through the nose.

Nobody ever said, “You are breathing wrong. You should inhale through your nose not your mouth.” I never gave it a thought. And I bet neither did you. Even though there are plenty of reasons why we should inhale through our noses and to do our best not to mouth breathe. Reasons why we should learn, as hard as it is, as soon as we are able.

It is not easy after so many years of breathing wrong to correct this and to learn to breathe right. It wasn’t for me, and took many months. But the benefits are enormous. I can promise in time you will become much more conscious of your breathing, and always try to ‘breathe right’ should you also learn to breathe through your nose.

The benefits are many for us with COPD. Breathing right slows our breathing, allowing more time for the oxygen we breathe in to enter our blood stream, and for our body to remove the waste product of carbon dioxide. It also helps to calm us. Our noses also act as a filter, removing small particles of dirt or other items from the air that otherwise enter our lungs when we inhale. Each time you take in a nice lungful of air through your mouth you are inviting lots of nasties that are not needed into your lungs. I sometimes wonder how many exacerbations could be avoided if we all breathed right. Your nose also filters out some of the germs in the air, which are then attacked by the body meaning they do not enter your lungs. Think about it. Mouth breathing you are breathing in small particles of dust, dirt, and germs right into the very place you do not need them – the lungs.

Another major advantage to nose breathing is during winter breathing through your nose will warm the air before it reaches your lungs helping you breathe easier. It is still advisable during the cold season to cover your mouth and nose to help keep the warmth in. I myself use a snood (hood or scarf).

There are very good reasons to breathe in through your nose and not your mouth. Did you know that nasal breathing increases circulation, blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, slows the breathing rate and improves overall lung volumes? And that mouth breathing bypasses important stages in the breathing process?

It took me a long time to master the art of nose breathing. Although now, thinking about it as I sit at my desk writing this article, I am aware my mouth is closed. And I am breathing in gently through my nose. I admit to the odd slip up. More so when I become very breathless after over exerting myself. But as soon as I am aware revert to mouth breathing as I know through experiments with my oximeter that my blood oxygen levels will rise much faster as long as I nose breathe.

Another advantage to nose breathing is if you use oxygen you get the full amount of what you are prescribed. You would be surprised how many still continue to mouth breathe even using oxygen.

If you are a mouth breather please take the time to sit in a chair, relax with a nice easy breathing exercise. To the count of four, inhale in through the nose. To the count of six, with pursed lips, exhale out through the mouth. That will oxygenate you and help to make you feel good. Better still put some nice relaxing music on the stereo to chill to while doing this simple exercise. If you learn to breathe right, remember: for you the advantages are enormous.

Until next time keep that smile. And most of all, Breathe Easy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Cleo McClain
    1 month ago

    It is hard, but I will practice.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 month ago

    Hi Cleo and thanks for your post and for responding to Derek’s article from a few years ago. It can be a challenge ‘breathing properly’ with COPD. I’m sure if you practice, you will see how your breathing will become somewhat easier for you. Please do check back and let us know how you’re doing. Good luck! Leon (site moderator)

  • nedra
    1 year ago

    I am constantly saying to myself: nose nose. I was looking for Roscoe re the constant runny nose to comment. It is hard to have this problem and remember to nose breathe. In the am after I get up and it starts in. I put on a nose strip. This curtails the problem at home until the strip loses it sticky or I need to go out.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi again nedra. Glad to hear that the nose strips actually help you with the runny nose. We appreciate you sharing what works for you with the community. Keep up the good work! Leon (site moderator)

  • nedra
    1 year ago

    It will be your loss. I am very happy with COPD.net

  • hesees
    1 year ago

    I had a long spiel to write on my understanding of the why we should nose breathe, but I see that could be construed as medical advice and your rules prohibit that. That leaves me only the comment that I would desperately like to hook up with a group of COPD sufferers but I absolutely refuse to do FB. I would urge your group to find some other forum for sharing.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi hesees and thanks for your post. We appreciate that you have something to contribute to our website that discusses the pros and cons of mouth and/or nose breathing. Rather than constructing your narrative as ‘medical advice’, you may want to talk about it from your own (experience) point of view.
    Our COPD Facebook platform is used because that seems to work for us at this time and since our inception. If something better comes along, I’m sure our principals will give it due consideration. We are always striving to be better.
    Hope to hear from you.
    Leon (site moderator)

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