What are some treatments for breathing problems
What helps against shortness of breath?
In addition to coughing, shortness of breath is one of the most common symptoms in pulmonary medicine. However, the cause of shortness of breath is not always to be found in a disease of the lungs, but can also originate in the heart, for example. Difficulty breathing occurs in 60 to 95 percent of patients with cardiac insufficiency. In addition, 70 percent of tumor patients suffer from shortness of breath and 100 percent of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive disease of the motor nervous system. Even if the cause of the underlying illness is successfully treated, difficulty breathing may persist. The pulmonologists of the German Lung Foundation explain what remedies for shortness of breath can be found in such cases of unknown cause. “Symptom-oriented treatment is necessary when causal therapies that eliminate the cause of the shortness of breath have been exhausted - for example, if the cause of the shortness of breath was an accumulation of water in the lungs due to a heart disease that was successfully eliminated by a drainage therapy. If breathlessness persists, various symptom-oriented therapies are available: The affected patients can learn how to better deal with their breathlessness and are prescribed non-pharmacological measures or medication, ”explains Prof. Dr. T.O.F. Wagner, board member of the German Lung Foundation and pulmonologist at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Hospital in Frankfurt.
Shortness of breath creates a vicious circle of rest, loss of fitness and even more shortness of breath
Acute shortness of breath is often associated with very unpleasant feelings, including fear of suffocation; Those affected therefore often develop a gentle behavior, as a result of which their physical fitness and resilience continue to decrease, which leads to even more shortness of breath. “This vicious circle can be broken through regular exercise training - such as pulmonary sports. Chronic lung patients should also know that their breathlessness attacks are often caused by external influences (such as influenza pathogens, pollen count, heavy meals). If these triggers are known, however, they can be consciously avoided - e.g. by avoiding the allergens in question
These are substances that are classified as "foreign" by the body's immune system and are therefore attacked, which leads to an excessive defense reaction (= allergy with hypersensitivity of the body to the respective allergen).
A distinction is made between animal, plant and chemical allergens, with almost any environmental substance can trigger an allergy. A potential allergen is a substance that, due to its biochemical nature, can cause an allergic reaction more frequently than other substances.
, a pneumococcal and annual flu vaccination or a change in eating habits, ”advises Prof. Wagner.
Certain aids help you to be more mobile
Non-pharmacological measures are the use of aids such as walking aids and rollators, which support the auxiliary respiratory muscles attached to the chest and shoulder girdle and thus help the patient to be more mobile despite their shortness of breath. Long-term oxygen therapy (abbreviation: LTOT from English) is also available for patients with permanently low blood oxygen levels long term oxygen therapy), in which oxygen is supplied via a nasogastric tube or nasal cannula for 16 or more hours per day if possible.
Low-dose morphine can relieve shortness of breath in people with severe lung disease
The most common drugs used to relieve shortness of breath are morphine, but these are dosed less than for pain therapy and are given in the form of tablets, drops or plasters. “Since morphine does not cause respiratory paralysis in this form of application, this drug therapy can also be prescribed for severely lung patients. If the patients also suffer from great anxiety, benzodiazepines can also be taken to calm them down. They do not improve the dyspnoea but make it easier to bear, ”explains Prof. Wagner.
Source: Congress newspaper for the 57th Congress of the German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine, March 2016
This is a press release from the German Lung Foundation. This press release or parts of the article can be printed under the following source: www.lungenaerzte-im-netz.de. In the case of publication in online media, the source must be linked to this home page or to a subpage of the patient information portal of Lungenärzte-im-Netz.
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