WELL I NEVER KNEW THAT- On the subject of bloating

Diaphragmatic breathing and Losing Belly Fat – This can improve your life!

Was reading a very interesting piece this morning on bloating and COPD. I have suffered this for a few years now and I thought it was the steroids that I have consumed over the past 5 years. However, now I am wondering if there is more to this problem than I previously realised and, if there is, can I do anything to improve my round tummy as well as dieting of course!images (1)

After reading a number of other articles on the subject my interest was really peaking. Apparently the diaphragm can get pushed by the stomach and it can change shape as COPD worsens. I also found out that 70% of your oxygen comes from the bottom part of your lungs, interesting, seen as how I don’t need supplemental oxygen and its the top of my lungs that is my problem. That explains a lot! And, I was quite cheered up to realise after a quick bit of mental arithmetic that the top of your lungs, where my problem is, only 30% is responsible for making oxygen. Well, if this is true, what else could be interfering with my big 70% allowance. So after reading this wonderful piece by a well know UK writer of COPD, I decided to research if fat played an even bigger role than bloating and I was so surprised at what I found. I put ‘fat stomach and breathing’ into the search engine and I was inundated with loads of information. This information, I have condensed and related below, I am definitely going to do exercise and lose as much weight as I possibly can after reading this research.

Large Waist Size May Lead to Troubled Breathing

Excess belly fat is strongly associated with impaired lung function. Researchers analyzed images (12)information from more than 120,000 people and found that the larger a person’s waist size, the smaller their forced vital capacity -the maximum volume of air that a person can exhale after breathing in as much air as possible. One factor that may contribute to the problem is the inflammation associated with fat tissue. But excess fat may also constrict the lungs, making it harder to breathe. The weight of the fat on the chest wall decreases the amount of room for the lungs. It also pushes up on the diaphragm, restricting its movement, particularly when bending over or lying down. I dont know if you have ever noticed that when you bend down to do something you are more out of breath, it happens to me when I am filling and emptying the washer.

“Carrying around extra weight is work,” says Gail Weinmann, MD, the deputy director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institutes Division of Lung Diseases. “The more you weigh, the more work it is to carry it around. Its like carrying a backpack. For someone who has a reduced lung capacity, the extra weight would be like carrying suitcases.”

Women and men with abdominal obesity were twice as likely as those with a normal waist size to have a low forced vital capacity. The association between waist size and lung function was seen even in people of normal weight.

Excess belly fat may affect breathing by pushing on the diaphragm and chest wall, makinglesson-10-nutrition-and-lung-disease-9-638 it harder for the lungs to fill with air. The American Heart Association considers a waist circumference of more than 35 inches for women (mine is over 40!) or 40 inches for men to be abnormal. And, as I have mentioned in another of my posts, steroids actually make you put weight on in that particular place, see Making Life Easier With COPD. Sometimes, I wonder if all the steroids I’ve taken and the weight I have gained have actually caused my COPD to get worse, as I have asthma as well, this can be an additional problem. The study didn’t look at whether losing weight can help improve lung function, but previous research and common sense suggest that it can.

Being overweight puts a burden on your entire body, says Norman Edelman, MD, the chief medical officer at the American Lung Association. More oxygen must be moved around for the excess tissues; this causes the heart to work harder and places a greater burden on the cardiovascular system. It is also more difficult to breathe when someone is overweight. Dr. Edelman says diseases like asthma tend to be more severe in heavier individuals. (Many people with COPD have asthma too.)

Source:American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Volume 179, page 509; March 15, 2009

long-breath-diet-revealed-01sSo what can be done about this, well as I previously mentioned losing weight is probably a necessity and also getting those core muscle groups toned is another. Its very difficult though when you have COPD, its difficult to breathe at the best of times. So, probably the best thing is to start getting the weight down first and then gradually feed in the exercises. One exercise that can be done whilst losing that weight is ‘Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises’. You can actually lose weight just by doing those regularly, this was news to me! So I am now very keen on getting into this.


It is said that when you sigh and when you are sleeping the breathing technique that people most use is in fact this diaphragmatic breathing. I think I am going to sleep with a tape across my mouth now, no not really, only joking. But, I think that I must do this when I am sleeping because I snore a lot when I am asleep, or so my daughter says. Well, here is a video showing you diaphragmatic breathing and it’s supposed to help you get the tone back into your tummy muscles too. So that can’t be bad.

Also this other video I have found I think explains it very well. I think that Yoga uses this technique in the breathing exercises and when you sing you also can use this type of breathing technique.

I also trawled the net looking for information on losing weight from the stomach and I gained the following information –

  1. Stop using salt because it encourages bloating. My family have been telling me this for years, I love salt. So now I really am going to do without salt and processed meats and processed foods, I am going to seriously give this a go.
  2. Get a good nights sleep at lease 7 hours a night.
  3. Drink Lemon juice, this you can make yourself. In one video I saw them mix in ginger, cucumber and mint with the drink. This suits me very well because I am addicted to lemon juice, I drink a lot of it!
  4. Grapefruit, eat a grapefruit before every meal, no probs I love grapefruit and can eat it like an orange.
  5. Snack on healthy things all day to stop your blood sugar levels from falling and sending your body into starvation mode, sweet things that you crave can be stored as fat in the abdominal region.
  6. Also don’t get stressed because, if you allow yourself to become mentally stressed, scientific studies have shown that when stress levels are high it increases your appetite, your cravings for sugar and this is typically stored in the abdominal region.

So I am going to try the above methods for a few weeks, I have another appointment at Jimmy’s in Leeds on the 9th March, lets see how I get on getting this tummy of mine down. Are you going to have a go with me?


If you want to read more on the subject there is another post on COPD net COPD BLOATING 1    COPD BLOATING 2

2 thoughts on “WELL I NEVER KNEW THAT- On the subject of bloating

  1. Pingback: The 10-Step Programe – does it work? | COPD - MY JOURNEY & YOUR INFO HUB

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