Marie Curie has created a new booklet to help people living with breathlessness. 

It covers information on how the lungs work, medicines to help breathlessness and how to get more support from health and social care professionals. 

It also has practical tips on how to manage breathlessness including breathing exercises.

Why the booklet was created

Breathlessness is a common symptom for people living with a terminal illness. 

It can be caused by illnesses such as lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis or heart failure. 

It can also be caused by side effects of treatments such as anaemia.  

Breathlessness can have a big impact on someone’s life. 

It can affect everyday activities like getting dressed, climbing stairs and having a shower. 

It can also make it difficult to eat and talk which can affect people’s relationships.

Patient involvement

Marie Curie worked with people who are living with breathlessness to find out which issues were most important to them. 

One of the most common questions they had was how to manage feelings of anxiety. 

Anxiety and breathlessness are closely linked and the relationship between them is sometimes described as a vicious cycle.

The new booklet has tips on relaxation including guided exercises. 

It also has information on how to get more support with anxiety form health and social care professionals.

Experts from across Marie Curie helped to create the booklet. 

Managing breathlessness

Marie Curie physiotherapist Ann shared some of her tips on managing breathlessness.

Sometimes simple measures such as opening a window or using a hand-held fan can help people to feel less breathless. 

There are lots of different types of medicines that can help someone with breathlessness. 

Oxygen can be helpful for some people. 

The booklet includes information on different medicines and oxygen therapy to help people understand how they work.

It also has a diary and action plan that people can fill out. 

The diary can be used to track their symptoms and plan activities to make the most of the energy people have. 

The action plan is a place for people to record what techniques and medicines work well for them when they feel breathless. 

This can be shared with health and social care professionals to help them understand how the person’s life is impacted by breathlessness.

You can order or download the booklet here.