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Managing asthmatic breathlessness - self help
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Though cases of breathlessness that may lead to death are generally known as Asthmatic Breathlessness, only less than 25% of these cases are caused by asthma.  Most of the cases arise out of cardiac causes.  It is almost always related to fear and fear aggravates the situation.

Sources for the sensation of breathlessness arise from receptors in
  • the upper airway
  • lungs
  • chest wall
  • autonomic centres in the brain stem
  • motor cortex.

What can you do when you suddenly feel out of breath?

  • You must train yourself to remain cool, without fear, in such situations
  • Move into a well aerated ventilated , preferably open area
  • Sit upright and control the respiratory rate to lessen the requirement of air
  • Relax shoulders and upper chest and use diaphragmatic breathing
  • It is also called belly breathing or deep breathing
  • The diaphragm, the muscle between chest cavity and stomach cavity, should be contracted during this breathing
  • Your abdomen will expand and contract while you do this
  • Your chest will not expand and contract during this breathing
  • If you have taken a medication  or inhaler in a previous attack of similar nature, and found it useful, you can try the same during recurrences

In some cases getting high flow oxygen at a medical facility may be required for control and recovery.  In chronic situations, the underlying cause should be addressed and treated.

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