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Shortness of Breath

Few sensations are more terrifying than not being able to breathe. Shortness of breath, also known as dyspnoea in medical terms, is commonly described as a tightening in the chest, trouble breathing, breathlessness, or a feeling of suffocation.

Breathlessness

Shortness of breath, or feeling “winded,” can make taking a full breath difficult. You might feel as if you’ve just completed a sprint, a flight of stairs, or an aerobics workout. These sensations may be familiar if you exercise regularly, but they might be disconcerting when they occur outside of that environment. Shortness of breath can be a sign of a number of medical problems, including heart and lung problems. Continue reading to find out more about how the shortness of breath feels and what can cause it.
What causes shortness of breath?
Shortness of breath is a fairly common symptom that can occur as a result of a variety of medical issues. Dyspnoea is the medical term for shortness of breath. If it lasts for hours to days, it’s termed acute. If it lasts longer than 4 to 8 weeks, it’s termed chronic.

 

Shortness of breath can be caused by anxiety, whether it’s brief and situational or a persistent disorder. Anxiety or a panic episode might be mistaken for a heart attack on occasion.
However, you don’t have to be having a panic attack to be out of breath. This can also be caused by low-level anxiousness.

 

 
Shortness of breath can often occur due to other circumstances, such as:
• High altitudes
• Bad air quality, as a result of carbon monoxide or smog, for example
• Extreme temperatures
• Arduous physical activity

 

Knots in your muscles, particularly those on trigger points, might make you feel out of breath.
Shortness of breath can be caused by a variety of medical disorders, both acute and chronic. Shortness of breath can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
• Allergies
• Anemia
Asthma
• Congestive heart failure
• COPD
• Guillain-Barré syndrome
• Heart arrhythmia or heart attack
• Heart disease
• Lung disease
• Myasthenia gravis
• Obesity
• Pleurisy
• Pneumonia
• Pulmonary oedema
• Pulmonary embolism
• Pulmonary arterial hypertension
• Sarcoidosis
• Tuberculosis
Shortness of breath can be intermittent or continuous. You may also have symptoms of other medical issues depending on the underlying reason for your shortness of breath.
Shortness of breath can occur even while you are at rest, such as when you are sitting at your desk at work. Because of poor posture, prolonged sitting can induce shortness of breath.
Shortness of Breath & COVID-19
Shortness of breath is one of COVID-19’s distinctive symptoms. Fever, cough, and fatigue are other common COVID-19 symptoms.
 
The majority of patients infected with COVID-19 will have mild to moderate symptoms that can be managed at home. If you’re sick and think you could have COVID-19, the UK government suggests taking the following steps:
• Get tested for COVID-19. Call your doctor to find out where you should go to get tested.
• Stay home and separate yourself from all family members as much as possible.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes and wear a face mask if you must be around other people, but try to stay 2 meters away at a minimum.
• Stay in touch with your doctor and call ahead if you end up seeking medical attention.
• Wash your hands often.
• Avoid sharing household items with other people in your home.
• Disinfect common surfaces often.
 
You should also monitor your symptoms while at home. Seek emergency care immediately if you experience:
Breathing trouble
• Rapid shallow breathing
• Pressure in your chest, heaviness or pain
• Bluish or grey lips, skin, or nail beds
• Rapid heart rate
• Confusion
• Drowsiness
People with darker skin tones may have more trouble than people with lighter skin tones, observing skin colour changes that indicate oxygen deprivation.
Get the latest information on COVID-19.
What does shortness of breath feel like?
Shortness of breath can be a frightening sensation. It’s a subjective experience that can’t be quantified. Doctors can, however, assess other factors that may contribute to shortness of breath, such as your blood oxygen levels. If your blood oxygen level is too low, it means you’re not getting enough oxygen into your body, and it’s not getting to your red blood cells. This is risky, especially if your blood oxygen levels fall too low. If you’re having trouble breathing, you may feel as if you can’t get enough air into your lungs – or that you can’t do it fast enough. It may appear that you are running low on oxygen. Inhaling and exhaling may be more challenging. You could feel prompted to take a breath before you’ve finished exhaling at times.

 

Shortness of breath can cause the following symptoms:
  • A feeling of heaviness in your chest
  • A feeling of being suffocated
  • Feeling as if you had to use more effort than usual to catch your breath
  • Do you feel like you need to breathe more frequently or quickly?
  • Feeling as if your body isn’t getting enough oxygen?
  • Feeling as if you are unable to take full breaths
  • It’s difficult to catch your breath completely.
You may sense yourself becoming progressively short of breath over time, or it may strike you out of nowhere. Shortness of breath can occur even while you’re at rest, but it’s more evident when you’re physically active, such as climbing stairs or trying to exercise.
When to seek medical assistance
The British Lung Foundation recommends talking with your doctor whenever you experience shortness of breath that isn’t expected due to your current activity and fitness levels. You should also contact your doctor if you don’t respond to treatment for shortness of breath.
 
Other concerning symptoms, in addition to shortness of breath, that should be addressed by a physician include:
• Pressure or pain in your chest
• A “winded” sensation that lasts longer than 30 minutes after you’ve rested
• When you inhale and exhale, you may notice wheezing or a whistling sound
• A stridor is a high-pitched sound made when you breathe
• Nausea
• Fainting
• Coughing, chills, and a high body temperature
• Blue fingertips or lips
• Swollen feet and ankles
• Worsening shortness of breath after you have used an inhaler
• Difficulty breathing while lying flat on your back

 

If you have any combination of these symptoms along with shortness of breath, it’s important to call your doctor or visit an emergency room for immediate medical care.
 
Being out of breath is not the same as having breathing problems. When you’re experiencing trouble breathing normally, you may experience the following symptoms:
• You can’t completely inhale or exhale
• Your throat or chest are closing up or it feels like there’s a squeezing sensation around them
• An obstruction, narrowing or tightening of your airway
• Something is physically keeping you from breathing

 

Difficulty breathing is also an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

How is shortness of breath treated?

 
Shortness of breath is treated differently depending on the underlying cause. Following a medical examination and diagnosis, you may be prescribed one or more of the following treatments:
Medication. Your doctor may prescribe medications like bronchodilators to help you breathe easier or steroids to reduce swelling in your lungs.
Prescription supplements. If you’re anaemic, you may need to take prescription supplements to raise your iron levels.
Surgery. Surgery may be a treatment option for certain conditions, such as chronic blood clots or structural problems with your heart.
Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy. If you have an infection such as COVID-19, you may be given oxygen therapy to help support your breathing. You may also be given supportive drugs such as antiviral medications.
Antibiotics. If you have a bacterial infection, you may be given antibiotic medication.
Avoiding tobacco and allergy triggers. Your doctor may recommend that you quit smoking or avoid second-hand smoke to help you breathe more easily. It’s also important to avoid exposure to allergy triggers or other potential lung irritants.
Lifestyle changes. If obesity is a contributing factor, your doctor may recommend changing your lifestyle habits. This will likely include eating a balanced diet and exercising more often.
 
You can also attempt the following steps to help avoid and manage shortness of breath:
• Avoid strenuous physical activity above 5,000 feet unless you’re accustomed to a high altitude.
• Try not to overexert yourself.
• Get regular medical check-ups.
• Take all your prescribed medications exactly as instructed.
• If you’re on oxygen therapy, regularly check to make sure your equipment is working properly.
Risk factors
If you have any of the following, you may be at a higher risk of shortness of breath or other related conditions:
  • Muscles that are weak, especially those that are involved in breathing, such as the diaphragm
  • Asthma, COPD, or cystic fibrosis are examples of chronic respiratory diseases.
  • Low haemoglobin levels
  • A workplace or living environment that contains asthma triggers
  • A weakened immune system or a greater chance of contracting a respiratory disease
  • a tendency to smoke.

Shortness of Breath Mobile Header

SHORTNESS OF BREATH

FEW SENSATIONS ARE MORE TERRIFYING THAN NOT BEING ABLE TO BREATHE. SHORTNESS OF BREATH, ALSO KNOWN AS DYSPNOEA IN MEDICAL TERMS, IS COMMONLY DESCRIBED AS A TIGHTENING IN THE CHEST, TROUBLE BREATHING, BREATHLESSNESS, OR A FEELING OF SUFFOCATION.

BREATHLESSNESS

Shortness of breath, or feeling “winded,” can make taking a full breath difficult. You might feel as if you’ve just completed a sprint, a flight of stairs, or an aerobics workout. These sensations may be familiar if you exercise regularly, but they might be disconcerting when they occur outside of that environment. Shortness of breath can be a sign of a number of medical problems, including heart and lung problems. Continue reading to find out more about how the shortness of breath feels and what can cause it.
What causes shortness of breath?
Shortness of breath is a fairly common symptom that can occur as a result of a variety of medical issues. Dyspnoea is the medical term for shortness of breath. If it lasts for hours to days, it’s termed acute. If it lasts longer than 4 to 8 weeks, it’s termed chronic.

 

Shortness of breath can be caused by anxiety, whether it’s brief and situational or a persistent disorder. Anxiety or a panic episode might be mistaken for a heart attack on occasion.
However, you don’t have to be having a panic attack to be out of breath. This can also be caused by low-level anxiousness.

 

 
Shortness of breath can often occur due to other circumstances, such as:
• High altitudes
• Bad air quality, as a result of carbon monoxide or smog, for example
• Extreme temperatures
• Arduous physical activity

 

Knots in your muscles, particularly those on trigger points, might make you feel out of breath.

Shortness of Breath Mobile 2

Shortness of breath can be caused by a variety of medical disorders, both acute and chronic. Shortness of breath can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

 

• Allergies
• Anemia
• Asthma
• Congestive heart failure
• COPD
• Guillain-Barré syndrome
• Heart arrhythmia or heart attack
• Heart disease
• Lung disease
• Myasthenia gravis
• Obesity
• Pleurisy
• Pneumonia
• Pulmonary oedema
• Pulmonary embolism
• Pulmonary arterial hypertension
• Sarcoidosis
• Tuberculosis

 

Shortness of breath can be intermittent or continuous. You may also have symptoms of other medical issues depending on the underlying reason for your shortness of breath.

 

Shortness of breath can occur even while you are at rest, such as when you are sitting at your desk at work. Because of poor posture, prolonged sitting can induce shortness of breath.

Overcome Shortness of Breath Mobile 3

SHORTNESS OF BREATH & COVID-19
Shortness of breath is one of COVID-19’s distinctive symptoms. Fever, cough, and fatigue are other common COVID-19 symptoms.

 

The majority of patients infected with COVID-19 will have mild to moderate symptoms that can be managed at home. If you’re sick and think you could have COVID-19, the UK government suggests taking the following steps:
• Get tested for COVID-19. Call your doctor to find out where you should go to get tested.
• Stay home and separate yourself from all family members as much as possible.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes and wear a face mask if you must be around other people, but try to stay 2 meters away at a minimum.
• Stay in touch with your doctor and call ahead if you end up seeking medical attention.
• Wash your hands often.
• Avoid sharing household items with other people in your home.
• Disinfect common surfaces often.

Overcome Shortness of Breath Mobile 4

You should also monitor your symptoms while at home. Seek emergency care immediately if you experience:
Breathing trouble
• Rapid shallow breathing
• Pressure in your chest, heaviness or pain
• Bluish or gray lips, skin, or nail beds
• Rapid heart rate
• Confusion
• Drowsiness

 

People with darker skin tones may have more trouble than people with lighter skin tones, observing skin colour changes that indicate oxygen deprivation.
Get the latest information on COVID-19.

Shortness of Breath Mobile 3

WHAT DOES SHORTNESS OF BREATH FEEL LIKE?
Shortness of breath can be a frightening sensation. It’s a subjective experience that can’t be quantified. Doctors can, however, assess other factors that may contribute to shortness of breath, such as your blood oxygen levels. If your blood oxygen level is too low, it means you’re not getting enough oxygen into your body, and it’s not getting to your red blood cells. This is risky, especially if your blood oxygen levels fall too low. If you’re having trouble breathing, you may feel as if you can’t get enough air into your lungs – or that you can’t do it fast enough. It may appear that you are running low on oxygen. Inhaling and exhaling may be more challenging. You could feel prompted to take a breath before you’ve finished exhaling at times.

 

Shortness of breath can cause the following symptoms:
  • A feeling of heaviness in your chest
  • A feeling of being suffocated
  • Feeling as if you had to use more effort than usual to catch your breath
  • Do you feel like you need to breathe more frequently or quickly?
  • Feeling as if your body isn’t getting enough oxygen?
  • Feeling as if you are unable to take full breaths
  • It’s difficult to catch your breath completely.
You may sense yourself becoming progressively short of breath over time, or it may strike you out of nowhere. Shortness of breath can occur even while you’re at rest, but it’s more evident when you’re physically active, such as climbing stairs or trying to exercise.
WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
The British Lung Foundation (BLF) recommends talking with your doctor whenever you experience shortness of breath that isn’t expected due to your current activity and fitness levels. You should also contact your doctor if you don’t respond to treatment for shortness of breath.
 
Other concerning symptoms, in addition to shortness of breath, that should be addressed by a physician include:
• Pressure or pain in your chest
• A “winded” sensation that lasts longer than 30 minutes after you’ve rested
• When you inhale and exhale, you may notice wheezing or a whistling sound
• A stridor is a high-pitched sound made when you breathe
• Nausea
• Fainting
• Coughing, chills, and a high body temperature
• Blue fingertips or lips
• Swollen feet and ankles
• Worsening shortness of breath after you have used an inhaler
• Difficulty breathing while lying flat on your back

 

If you have any combination of these symptoms along with shortness of breath, it’s important to call your doctor or visit an emergency room for immediate medical care.
 
Being out of breath is not the same as having breathing problems. When you’re experiencing trouble breathing normally, you may experience the following symptoms:
• You can’t completely inhale or exhale
• Your throat or chest are closing up or it feels like there’s a squeezing sensation around them
• An obstruction, narrowing or tightening of your airway
• Something is physically keeping you from breathing

 

Difficulty breathing is also an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

HOW IS SHORTNESS OF BREATH TREATED?

 
Shortness of breath is treated differently depending on the underlying cause. Following a medical examination and diagnosis, you may be prescribed one or more of the following treatments:

• Medication. Your doctor may prescribe medications like bronchodilators to help you breathe easier or steroids to reduce swelling in your lungs.

• Prescription supplements. If you’re anaemic, you may need to take prescription supplements to raise your iron levels.

• Surgery. Surgery may be a treatment option for certain conditions, such as chronic blood clots or structural problems with your heart.

• Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy. If you have an infection such as COVID-19, you may be given oxygen therapy to help support your breathing. You may also be given supportive drugs such as antiviral medications.

• Antibiotics. If you have a bacterial infection, you may be given antibiotic medication.

• Avoiding tobacco and allergy triggers. Your doctor may recommend that you quit smoking or avoid second-hand smoke to help you breathe more easily. It’s also important to avoid exposure to allergy triggers or other potential lung irritants.

• Lifestyle changes. If obesity is a contributing factor, your doctor may recommend changing your lifestyle habits. This will likely include eating a balanced diet and exercising more often.

You can also attempt the following steps to help avoid and manage shortness of breath:

• Avoid strenuous physical activity above 5,000 feet unless you’re accustomed to a high altitude.

• Try not to overexert yourself.

• Get regular medical check-ups.

• Take all your prescribed medications exactly as instructed.

• If you’re on oxygen therapy, regularly check to make sure your equipment is working properly.

RISK FACTORS
If you have any of the following, you may be at a higher risk of shortness of breath or other related conditions:
  • Muscles that are weak, especially those that are involved in breathing, such as the diaphragm
  • Asthma, COPD, or cystic fibrosis are examples of chronic respiratory diseases.
  • Low haemoglobin levels
  • A workplace or living environment that contains asthma triggers
  • A weakened immune system or a greater chance of contracting a respiratory disease
  • a tendency to smoke.