Breathing Easier

Practical Things YOU can DO When You are Short of Breath

#1 MMRC Dyspnea Scale:

How to Explain the Level of Your Shortness of Breath

Grade Description of Breathlessness
0 I only get breathless with strenuous exercise.
1 I get short of breath when hurrying on level ground or walking up a slight hill.
2 On level ground, I walk slower than people of the same age because of breathlessness, or have to stop for breath when walking at my own pace.
3 I stop for breath after walking about 100 yards or after a few minutes on level ground.
4 I am too breathless to leave the house or I am breathless when dressing.

#2 Controlled Coughing:

Cough with less energy and more results!

  • Performed while sitting upright.
  • Take a deep breath IN through your nose.
  • Cough gently (minicough) 3 to 5 times WHILE breathing OUT.
  • Repeat as needed.

#3 Pursed Lip Breathing:

Quickly control and slow your rate of breathing

  • Clear your nasal passages as needed (blow your nose, etc.).
  • Breathe slowly and gently IN through the nose and OUT of the mouth through pursed lips (pretend you’re blowing out a candle).
  • Breath OUT for twice as long as you breath IN.
  • Do not force the air out.
  • Repeat as needed.

#4 Forward Bending Breathing:

Relieve temporary breathing difficulty

  • Performed while sitting.
  • Bend slightly forward from the waist, but keep back straight.
  • Avoid slumping or curving your back forward (open those lungs)!
  • Breathe slowly and gently IN through nose and OUT of mouth through pursed lips (as if blowing into a trumpet).
  • Breathe OUT twice as long as you breathe IN.
  • Do not force the air out.
  • Repeat as needed.

#5 Diaphragmatic (Abdominal) Breathing:

Strengthen your breathing muscles so you can use less energy when breathing.

  • May be performed lying down, sitting or standing.
  • Clear your nasal passages as needed (blow your nose, etc.).
  • Place one hand over your stomach and the other hand on your chest.
  • Breathe slowly and gently IN through the nose - allow your stomach to move OUT and keep your chest still.
  • Breathe OUT of the mouth through pursed lips (pretend you’re blowing a pinwheel) - allow your stomach to move IN.
  • Do not force the air out.
  • Repeat as needed.

30-Day Hospitalization Rate 6.7%.
64% lower than the national average.