Blow away breathlessness when you blow up a balloon Blowing up balloons probably is something you haven't done since your youngest child started high school and you said goodbye to childhood birthday parties.
But, if you suffer from bronchitis, you might need to take the art of balloon blowing back up. It could help relieve some of your symptoms.
People with bronchitis, emphysema and other chronic lung diseases often complain of breathlessness because their lung tissues aren't working as well as they used to. The tissue in the lungs is damaged and scarred, and people suffering from lung diseases just can't get as deep a breath as they need. That makes them feel tired and weary and like they can't ever quite catch their breath.
People with lung disease often realize that they can't do the types of activities they used to do because they get too short of breath. Simply walking out to the mailbox becomes a major chore for some. Many doctors will tell you that there are different forms of physical therapy available that can help you restore some of that lost lung capacity. But that therapy is expensive, complicated and time-consuming. So, unfortunately, most people don't get any therapy, and they are left with their breathlessness and diminished activities.
But researchers might have found a way to improve your condition, using the simple blow-up balloon.
Researchers tested their ideas using 28 volunteers (average age of 65) who each suffered from chronic bronchitis. The researchers measured each volunteer's lung capacity, and they found that all of the volunteers suffered from some degree of breathlessness.
Half of the volunteers received balloons. They were instructed to blow up the balloons to a diameter of 20 centimeters (almost eight inches) 40 times a day for eight weeks. The other half of the volunteers did not receive balloons. They just went about their normal activities.
At the end of the eight weeks, the researchers measured the lung capacities of all the volunteers again. They found that the volunteers who had inflated the balloons for eight weeks had a huge decrease in their symptoms of breathlessness - they were able to breathe much more easily. The volunteers who did not use the balloon still suffered from the same amount of breathlessness.
The volunteers who blew up the balloons also reported an improved sense of well-being and a greater ability to walk around without losing their breath.
The researchers are not sure whether the improvement comes from a strengthening of the lung muscles or from a decreased sensitivity to breathlessness. However, they suggest that balloon inflation is an easy and inexpensive way for people with bronchitis and other lung diseases to decrease their breathlessness at home.
Other tips to help reduce your symptoms of bronchitis include:
1. Stop smoking, and try to stay away from others when they are smoking. Inhaling smoke from your own cigarette or from someone else's cigarette will harm your lungs and make it harder for your body to recover from bronchitis.
2. Drink lots of fluids. This helps loosen up any mucus in your lungs and helps you to breathe easier.
3. Take a hot shower. The steam also helps loosen up mucus in your lungs.
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