Breathing is an essential part of life, yet we take it for granted. Many times we are not aware of even doing it.
For the majority of people, this is the case – until the time when you have a stuffy nose due to a head cold or allergies, or when you have exercised heavily. For another segment of the population, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing is a result of some type of medical condition and can be a matter of life or death. Many of the conditions are not rare, but are common â€“ asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease (aka COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis), lung cancer and even influenza.
So what do you do when you can’t breathe?
Hopefully you stop your activity â€“ or even stop talking – in order to speed your recovery time and allow you to breathe easier. When you think about it, talking takes a lot of air, even just to say a few words. Air has to pass over the vocal cords in order to create sound. If you are one of those people with significant breathing problems, you may require oxygen therapy as well. Oxygen must be prescribed by a physician and is often partially paid for by health insurances, including Medicare.
How do you know you need oxygen?
Your physician or a specialist performs various tests to determine the cause of your breathing issues or diagnosis, as well as the severity of the problem. The goal of course, is to be able to manage your breathing so that you can carry on with working, socializing and regular daily activities.
Author: Cheryl A. Acres RN, CCM