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I've discovered something the last few days. My blood oxygen often runs low -- about 92%. My heart is fine. No COPD. No drugs suppressing breathing. What I discovered was I don't breathe deeply enough. If I make myself breathe deeply, the saturation goes up to 97% fairly quickly.

Now what does this have to do with caregiving? I keep catching myself being very tense. My shoulders and chest muscles are tense and I'm breathing only using my chest muscles, instead of my diaphragm. When I was in the kitchen this evening, I found myself very tense and even holding my breath. It was like I was trying to make myself small and invisible. Then I figured out what might be happening. I am in someone else's home and not my own. I thought about how animals in the wild will tread lightly and tensely when crossing another's territory.

I am trying to train myself to do deep breathing, instead of shallow. I have gotten into a very bad habit. It made me think that the tension that comes with anxiety can actually take your breath away. Lower blood O2 is not good for heart, brain, or other organs. When someone says Breathe, it is such good advice I am learning.

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I hope to be able to remind myself of this because I am a sloucher! Not to be confused with a slacker...ha ha
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Yes! I've learned my posture makes a huge difference in my breathing. It's understandable, because it's hard to breathe with the diaphragm when it's all mashed and scrunched up.
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Jessie, oh my gosh, I also slouch at the computer, with one elbow on the tray that holds the keyboard. Time for me to learn to sit up straight.

Now I just need to get the cat out from behind my back :P
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Now that I've been paying more attention I've found that my typical O2 is only 95%. It doesn't take much breath holding and shallow breathing for it to go down into the worrisome zone. I'm learning some tricks on things that help, like sitting straight, instead of slouched when I'm on the computer. I work on the computer, so it's important to do that. I'm glad I got a pulse oximeter so I knew I had a problem. I wish I didn't have to think about breathing. When I'm in the kitchen now I remind myself to breathe deep. I wish I felt more at home here since it looks like I'm going to be here a while longer.
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JessieBelle, I too am a shallow breather but do have COPD. I also am in someone else's home and feel like I have to walk on eggshells on top of putting up with the insanity of aunt & uncle's AZ & dementia every waking hour, every day. I have inhalers & have found myself using the rescue inhaler more often than I should. I have to remind myself to breathe deeply. Some time away always helps but I do not get that as often as I need it.
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... or reacted like rabbits to vacuums. Run and hide! It's going to kill us for sure. My mother's reaction to vacuums are only slightly better. My way of de-stressing is to pet and groom my favorite rabbit. He is such a snuggle bunny -- total love and trust shared.
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Or FF what if parents reacted like dogs and started trying to bite it???

Good thing that valve got spotted. Could have got very nasty - phew!
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Ok, as a respiratory therapist I can tell you to relax and not panic about the 92%if it goes up when you take a deep breath! I work in an ICU, and everyone in america wants to be 100%, its the way we are wired..LOL 92% is not the end of the world.. its a a symptom of your breathing, not your overall health. Just relax and take a deep breath when you see it, and don;t fixate on the numbers. I run at about 97% all the time. I only worry about my patients if they are at 92% or lower all the time. Only a blood gas will tell the entire story , a low sat is easily fixed by more O2.. or a deep breath in your case. So unless you are always low and cant breathe it back up ... relax!
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Jessie, I had that same problem.... I would go for a walk and would be out of breath before I knew it. Turned out I had a leaking heart value... say what?... and my blood pressure was too high all due to stress [recovering myself from breast cancer and trying to help my parents].

Blood pressure pills really helped me breathe better but it took a while to get the right dosage that didn't make me fall asleep.

For me, a good stress reliever is vacuuming.... of course it raises the blood pressure on the cats and they dive under the beds. Too bad that doesn't work on one's parent(s).... keep them under the bed for a couple of hours :P
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Whiskey is awful to me. I hate the flavor of hard alcohol. It's like drinking hair tonic and mouthwash. Yuck! I do like beer and chardonnay. Most nights I treat myself to a beer at night after Mom goes to bed. I don't know how I used to drink more than one when I was younger. Where did I even put it? Getting old brings so many changes.
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Jessie, long before they had heart meds, there was whiskey. When grandma had "hardening of the arteries" the MD said to sip some "color water". So grandpa put a half shot of bourbon in a juice glass and topped it with water. Grandma would take little sips and breath in through her mouth. This would open her airways and dilate her blood vessels. Got her cheeks rosy.
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Singing is good, too. You have to belt it out and not worry who's listening. Or join a choir! - if you can get any time away, that is, of course.

That tension reliever where you breathe in through your nose pushing out the bottom of your chest, then blow steadily out - oooooooooohhh - through your mouth really does work. I find myself holding my breath, too - Captain's right, it's sheer tension.

Or, as Joyce Grenfell put it in one of her schoolteacher sketches: "Breathe, Peggy dear! Don't forget to breathe!!!"
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Yoga and meditation will teach you to deep breathe, relieve your stress and tension. Get one of those 20 minute morning and night tapes. Jess you got to get atop the stress, exercise, therapist, or more downtime. I see a therapist once a month. He does more to relieve my stress and give me perspective than anyone. He has taught me to detach from situations I have no control over. Focus on what I can do, and relax and enjoy what time I have left with Dad. He gives me strength. We are here for you, keep talking somehow putting words to the stress makes it manageable.
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No Ativan for me. I don't like that medication. Xanax is good, but I don't want to get into taking medications. I am going to have to retrain my brain. I am wondering if there is something faulty in me that doesn't recognize the low O2 and trigger deeper breathing. I'll try not to get too neurotic about it, though, and just try some behavior modification when I catch myself breathing shallowly.

book, I also overextended a few times, which made me want to stop breathing. What I found is good is to put my hands on my lower ribs. When doing the diaphragm breathing right, the lower ribs go up about 1-1.5". It is calming to breathe like this, so who needs drugs. :)

I am glad that I bought a pulse oximeter. I would have never known I did this if I hadn't. I read that some people get low O2 when they exercise because they hold their breath. I'm hoping I can get the breathing corrected so I'll do it automatically. Maybe I need a little diaphragm alarm -- my internal one seems faulty.
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I'm a shallow breather. When I attended my first therapy, the therapist covered ways to deal with stress...like Mindfulness, Breathing, and seeing grays (not just black and white.) I remember trying to do those deep breathings - and several times got light-headed. I think I over-stimulated my poor oxygen-deprived brain with too much oxygen. Unfortunately, I still have that problem if I do prolonged deep breathing.

Another good reason to stop our shallow breathing is that according to Teepa Snow's YouTube video, by doing shallow breathing and/or holding our breathe, we are depriving our brain of the needed oxygen. We're starving it. And this has been linked with dementia.
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jesse,
its tension , not to be confused with, but caused by stress . tension simply meens tensed up muscles . at rest , when you should be relaxing them they are staying wound instead . wound muscles restric blood flow , hence low o2 , AND urn fuel and leave subsequent waste material . the added waste material is poisoning you . you need ativan for yourself during this period .. im a doc , remember ? im docs agent for the purpose of purchasing building materials and his firewood cutter / stone mason / equiptment operator -- close enough ..
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Sometimes when my Mom gets dizzy, I remind her to breathe. She, too is a very shallow breather. As am I. I try to remind myself too.
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Ain't that the truth!?
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