What makes you breathless?

5) Breathlessness and you

  • Think how you felt getting dressed this morning, or climbing the stairs.
  • Did it make you feel breathless?
  • Did it worry you?
  • Your air passages are damaged so air does not flow in and out so easily.
  • Your breathing muscles may not be working so well.
  • Your arm and leg muscles may get tired.

It is normal to be out of breath like this when doing some daily activities. At this point you are not distressed and you quickly recover when you rest.

Fear of the sensation of breathlessness is one of the main reasons people with COPD avoid activity. ¬†You need activity to start the normal breathing stress. You need to recognise you are exercising to the correct extent. People with COPD need to become familiar with the sensation of normal breathlessness so that it doesn’t start feelings of fear and panic. You should be active but in control.

It is important to avoid becoming distressed and breathless during every day activities. By pacing yourself and managing your breathlessness you will reduce the likelihood of symptoms such as gasping for air and feelings of anxiety and panic.