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How to manage your breathlessness

Everyone gets breathless from time to time. For example, when you exercise or run for a bus. This shortness of breath usually passes quite quickly when the activity stops and does not usually cause worry.

For some people however breathlessness is a part of daily life. If you have a long-term chest condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), living with breathlessness can be difficult both physically and emotionally.

Managing your breathlessness

There are many things you can do to manage your breathlessness.

  • Learn and practise breathing control
  • Stop smoking
  • Keep physically active
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Use your medication correctly
  • Learn techniques to control your anxiety
  • Consider pulmonary rehabilitation if this is appropriate
  • Use chest clearance exercises
For more information including breathing control techniques, breathing positions and how to manage breathing difficulties at night,  see the CHSS factsheet How to manage your breathlessness if you have a long-term chest condition (PDF).