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My Personal Tips To Manage Shortness Of Breath Caused By COPD

Chronic illness warrior and natural health coach and advocate, Gina helps others thrive beyond the challenges of chronic illness.



I clearly remember the day that I was diagnosed with mild emphysema. I had come in complaining of shortness of breath. That was not unusual because I had been diagnosed with asthma some years prior. My doctor walks into the office where I was seated, looked me into my face and said, "You were wrongly diagnosed. You have emphysema.

As time went on I have had to learn how to manage COPD as well as a host of other chronic illnesses. I will share those that have worked for me in this article.

If you have other ideas, feel free to comment at the end. I welcome your suggestions.

Stop smoking!


If you're a smoker, stop smoking.

When I developed COPD I was not a smoker. I've never been a smoker, so it was hard to deal with the fact that I had an illness that was typically associated with smokers.

However, if you are a smoker, and you've developed COPD, you should stop smoking. In general, if you have COPD you should avoid smoke of any kind. You should also avoid air pollution as much as possible. If you’re not a smoker, then you definitely need to avoid places where others smoke. Smoking yourself is definitely the worst thing you can do when it comes to COPD, but secondhand smoke and air pollution can damage and irritate your lungs too.

I remember one year there were quite a few brush fires in Central Florida. This made breathing a challenge, not only for others, but especially for me having to deal with emphysema. I wore a mask for most of that time that the brush fires were burning....and even after with all the smoke in the air.

Take your medications, as prescribed.


Take your medications, as prescribed.

There are many medicines available for the treatment of COPD. Some of these medicines can be taken as pills or capsules. Some are inhaled as a mist or a powder. Different types of medications work in different ways. It’s important to understand how your breathing medications work so you can get the most out of them.

Follow your medication schedule and take your controller medicines every day, even when you’re feeling fine. If your COPD is under good control, you should not have to rely on rescue inhalers more than a couple times a week.

Get adequate sleep.


Get adequate sleep.

Getting a good night's sleep is one of the most important parts of good health.Sufficient sleep helps us think quickly, focus our attention on tasks, and perform our best at work. Sleep is also good for our hearts, our moods, and maintaining a healthy weight.

But for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), getting to sleep — and sleeping through the night — can be difficult. This can be a significant problem, since sleep is especially important when dealing with an illness like COPD. Sleep allows the body to repair itself, and not getting enough rest can weaken the immune system.

When I was first diagnosed with COPD I found it helpful to sleep on a wedge pillow which elevated my body.

When I was first diagnosed with COPD I found it helpful to sleep on a wedge pillow which elevated my body. It was very helpful to be able to elevate my upper bo

Use essential oils.

There are numerous essential oils that are very helpful for COPD:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Tea tree
  • Bergamot
  • Roman chamomile
  • Thyme
  • Frankincense
  • Basil
  • Lemon
  • Oregano
  • Lavender
  • Clove
  • Jasmine

Essential oils can be used topically or by inhalation. Some people also ingest essential oils, but I do not recommend ingestion, unless you are doing so under the supervision of a certified aromatherapist.

When using topically make sure you use a carrier oil, such as jojoba, coconut or almond oil to dilute the essential oils. You do not want to put pure essential oil on your skin. The carrier oil also helps to deliver the benefits of the essential oils deep into your skin.

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