How a Slow Breathing Technique is Helping Asthma Sufferers
One of the most debilitating symptoms of asthma is the breathlessness and tightness of chest that comes from the inflammatory breathing condition. Now a new breathing technique has been developed that is designed to help sufferers change how they breathe during an asthma attack.
The specific breathing techniques focuses on teaching asthma patients to breathe more slowly while their symptoms are at their worst, which will reduce their stress levels and minimise the severity of the attack.
When an attack is severe, the sufferer can often hyperventilate, increasing the irritation and inflammation in the airways. Learning how to breathe more slowly will reduce that irritation and also increase the blood flow to the brain, reducing the risk of losing consciousness.
Researchers at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, have devised the new technique with the help of a $1.4million grant from the National Institutes of Health in the US. Asthma sufferers enrol in a four-week program called Capnometry-Assisted Respiratory Training (CART), using a hand-held capnometer to measure exhaled carbon dioxide. Patients on the program are taught how to breathe slowly to control stress and limit the frequency and severity of attacks.
Asthma is a debilitating condition in which the airways become inflamed. Around 300 million people around the world have the condition, which is also the most common chronic condition in children. There is no cure for asthma and the condition is controlled with the use of inhalers to improve breathing and pain relief to alleviate symptoms.
Relaxation and breathing techniques have been shown to improve the quality of life for those with severe and moderate asthma, reducing their reliance on medication and also reducing the number of times they need to visit a doctor or hospital.