Breathing techniques without oxygen

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Friday: Hoping to quickly learn how he can get his gasping for breath and the resulting panic under control after he gets up in the night to use the bathroom and tries to lay down again. He hopes to enroll in therapy class asap but was just dx and won't see the pulmonary doc until after the weekend.

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  • Posted

    QVA, so sorry to hear that your husband has been having those awful panic attacks. We all go through them, especially after first being diagnosed.

    The gasping for breath is the main cause for the panic attacks, since when vital organs act up, the body sends signals to the brain, and the body then reacts like 'fight or flight' (panic). The brain is trying to resolve the problem by alerting us to quickly take care of it, but it causes us to panic instead, because we become confused and no not what to do.

    I am also sorry to hear that he has been gasping for air. That is the most difficult part of this horrible lung condition. Holding his hand when he is panicing helps, and shows reassuance that you are there for him. And if he is already using supplemental oxygen, simply turning it up about two levels helps to, but after it resides, turn the level back to where it originally was at.  

    The doctor may have to prescribe him mild anti anxiety tabs, but be aware that they could also slow down the breathing, so is up to the doctor. It also sounds like he needs supplemental oxygen, which may help him a lot with his gasping for air, since it gives him the much needed oxygen that his body needs.

    The gasping for air is mainly due to very low oxygen sats (in the blood oxygen sats). This is why it would be a good idea to purchase a oximeter from Amazon or drug store. The oximeter shows the level of oxygen within his blood stream, the oxygen going to his organs.

    It is important to keep an eye on his oxygen sats%. The oxygen gets low, and causes the heart to send signals to the brain, so the brain makes our bodies breathe faster (Short of Breath)(or Gasping For Air), in order to give it more oxygen and quickly. If he is active, such as walking, or activities, then the oxygen in the blood becomes quickly lower, making the heart need more oxygen, and then the lungs react by breathing quicker in order to compensate the lack of oxygen inside the body....and this usually happens when active and then sitting down. 

    If he walks, please make sure he walks at a very slow but steady pace, because walking really puts a lot of pressure on the heart, plus causes the body's oxygen sats % to fall steadily. If he is sitting, then the oxygen sats% should be 90-100%, and if lower than that, please consult your doctor or nurse about it. If he sits a lot have him ride a stationary recumbent bike, or do stand and sit exercises (carefully and slowly)...do about 5 (4 rounds) periodically. If he gets out of breath, please stop them, and let him recover. Try not to get out of breath. But, he will need some kind of activity if he sits alot, at least 30 minutes of activity per day, even if it is walking. 

    Also, something VERY important: Please try to have a nurse or re hab tech or respiratory tech show him how to perform, "Pursed Lip Breathing".....this is a great thing to learn for helping with his gasping for air. It will eventually help him with panic too as he becomes more confident using the Pursed Lip Breathing technique. It takes practice, but after a while, this kind of breathing can be done without thinking while having a SOB (shortness of breath) situation. I have gained lots of confidence thanks to the Pursed Lip Breathing technique! Look it up on You Tube or Google it...You tube is great to learn from too. 

    Need:

    1, Oximeter (purchased from drug store or amazon)

    2, Pursed Lip Breathing (someone to teach it, or, look up on You Tube)

    3, Anti anxiety pills from his doctor (only if he allows it...mine wouldn't allow me,

       but I know others whose doctors do)

    I hope this helps! Brenda

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    • Posted

      I found the breathing technique--but didn't know the name of it and had forgotten how it worked.  We practiced yesterday and will try to get both of us in the habit of using it on a regular basis, which should lessen the panic when he couldn't breathe and help me keep up my own strength.   I like your idea of having a nurse show him how to use it---much easier to learn from a pro.  Thanks.
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    • Posted

      Ova, I am so glad for you and your husband, regarding the Pursed Lips Breathing Technique. You are right, a specialist is best, but it is a good thing that they have it on You Tube or google, because their are many people who can't find help in knowing how to perform it properly, and it has to be performed properly, for it to work. Make sure the breathing in the nose is quick and at a count of 1 and 2, and when exhaling out of the mouth, it has to be like blowing a kiss, and at a count of 1, 2, 3, 4 (double compared to nose). Then without inhaling from mouth, go to inhaling again through nose and then exhale mouth...repeat over and over until relieved from SOB. Doing these exercises over and over, for example, in the morning or anytime, will greatly be beneficial for your husband (and yourself) but only with practice it can become second nature.

      Tell your husband to keep his eyes open when he has his panic attacks, so he can be grounded with reality. If they are closed, which is the first thing we tend to do, then it can make it worse.

      I hope you own a oximeter for checking his oxygen saturation percentage in his blood. If his oxygen is low most of the time, they may want to put him on oxygen, which really helps, and is really like medication, helping our other organs gain the oxygen they need, etc. 

      I hope he quickly copes better in time...we all go through this at first, and we each find our own ways of coping with everything..it is tough! 

      Brenda

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  • Posted

    That was the best advice from Brenda you could get I was also going to recomand the "Purse Lip Breathing " have him just sit on the bed straight with his hands on each leg and do that before he goes to the bathroom and before he lays back down it just takes 15 mins and it helps open your airways stops the panic,Best of Luck.

    Regards Charlie

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    • Posted

      Thanks, Charlie.  I like the idea of using this technique before it's needed, and I appreciate the detail; it's surprising how something new can be so confusing to figure out. Once he's familiar with it, seems he may be start PurseLip breathing even  while he's watching tv or walking, or am I wrong about the walking part,  Is the technique atheletes use on runs and walks similar?

      Thanks again, may I count you as a friend?

      ~Qva

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    • Posted

      Charles, thank you so much, I love talking about the Pursed Lip Breathing technique, since it really helped me in most everything from the start, and I still rely on it, weather having an attack (I use it during attacks too) or just to breath and feel healthier. I was lucky, since a big hearted sweet nurse (bedside nurse) in the hospital saw me having many anxiety panic attacks, and she would come over to my bed and whisper in my eyes how to breathe, and I would follow her lead. It tended to help me, and at first I didn't realize it, but later, when alone, I found I had to rely on it, and found it got me out of some pretty bad situations....I love it, and love passing it on to others now too! Brenda
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  • Posted

    Hiya, Don't know about the runners using it,but it's important when getting the panic attacks as i said to sit straight up hands on each knee and it's like blowing out a candle, breath through the nose deep and purse lips and blow out long and steady nice and slow until all air is gone and redue again until you feel good to go, I have Bronchietasis and I use it alot I also use alternative stuff as Munuka Honey 1 tablespoon a day, Ginger Tea water I make and with regular Honey 2 times a day I also use cibdel coplex (HEMP CBD ) 2 sprays under the tonque and EISSAC tea  anything is worth the effort,yes happy bto be your friend.

    Regards,

    Charlie

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  • Posted

    QVA Please listen to Brenada she is giving the best advice to both you and me that i heard from any doctor since i had this and I been in the hospital plenty times,she is very good,glad she is sharing.Thanks Brenda

    Regards,

    Charlie

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    • Posted

      Charlie, I agree, I'm very greatful to Brenda; you and Neville, too.  I've copied the Q's Brenda suggested--along with some from you and Neville-- and will take them to the doctor tomorrow.  Also copied everything for Jerry to read so we're both a lot more informed than when we saw this dr. before and have pretty good ideas about what we need to know from him.   We've had experience before with patient message boards; all helpfull and a prime source of sharing and and support,  but none more so than this patient forum.  We'll be sticking around and hopefully, can help others --not about information yet,  but maybe by morale support and sharing.  Like the commercials say, "It's what friends do."
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