Shortness of breath literally means facing a difficulty in breathing due to lack of sufficient quantity of oxygen. It may affect one’s productivity while performing even daily tasks.
Shortness of breath generally occurs due to infections, allergies, asthma or other nervous and respiratory disorders. Difficulty in breathing and fatigue are closely related to each other as the latter is a prominent indicator of a person suffering from shortness of breath. Frequent cough, fever and pain in the chest are the most general signs which highlight the presence of this disorder in an individual. You should contact your family doctor immediately, if you face any of the above problems as prevention is better than cure.
Shortness of breath is also called dyspnea in medical terms. In most of the cases, breathlessness is a result of overexertion, asthma, congestive heart failure, interstitial lung disease, and bronchitis. Some of the major reasons that can cause breathing problems are given below.
Subjecting your body to a lot of stress by doing laborious work for several hours without adequate sleep is known as overexertion. Overexertion can be both-physical and mental. Exercising for prolonged period which is beyond the capacity of the body to withstand is an example of physical overexertion. Work tensions in professionals, examination and performance related tensions in students are fine examples of mental overexertion. More the exertion, more intense will be the breathing problems. Dizziness, nausea, vomiting and lack of flexible body movements are symptoms of overexertion. This problem causes fatigue which is a condition of extreme tiredness.
The causes of fatigue are: obesity, depression, nutrition problems, low blood pressure, atmospheric pollution, changes in the body due to hormone development, infections, stress, and lack of proper exercise.
Serious pneumonia, infections which result into swelling, lung hemorrhages, intense bronchospasms are some pulmonary disorders which lead to breathlessness. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is responsible to cause chronic dyspnea.
Disturbance and malfunctioning of the heart, artery diseases, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction and arrhythmias of heart are the cardiovascular diseases causing problems while breathing. Insufficient supply of blood to the muscles of the heart muscles cause heart diseases which further cause chronic dyspnea. Heart related diseases, like presence of tumors in the heart and damage caused to the pericardial membrane, also contribute to dyspnea.
Injuries to the chest and serious penetrating wounds cause lung problems and ribs of the heart to fracture. Any trouble in the heart occurring even for a short time duration should be reported to the physician to detect breathing problems before the condition becomes critical.
Emotional conditions like grief, over anxiety, phobia, intense anger, over excitement cause temporary or prolonged shortness of breath. These emotions may result in experiencing hyperventilation in affected people.
Neuromuscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy and myasthenia gravis, both affecting voluntary muscles, are also likely to cause difficulty breathing.
Tests and Treatments
Difficulty in breathing is may not always be a cause of concern, but if it is prolonged and painful, a trip to the doctor is advised. The doctor you visit is likely to ask you to have an X-ray of your chest taken. The electrical signals of your heart will be studied using an electrocardiogram machine. You may be advised a Computerized Tomography (CT) scan and have a blood test done. The oxygen content of your blood and breathing strength will also be measured. Regular exercise and avoiding addictions like smoking and drinking will definitely help in achieving our goal.
Breathing problems are common in cities than in the suburbs. Improving our lifestyle is the key to maintain a good health which in turn is the key to a happy life.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.