Healthcare Tips

Shortness of Breath – A Go-To Guide!


Shortness of breath, or clinically called dyspnea, can be defined as difficulty or restriction in breathing and feeling breathlessness. A healthy person may have shortness of breath after performing strenuous activities like exercise or lifting, going to higher altitudes, and experiencing extreme temperatures. However, sudden or severe shortness of breath is a matter of concern and needs to be seen by a doctor as it can be related to various health problems.

Shortness of breath is also a significant symptom of COVID-19 caused by a coronavirus. COVID-19 can worsen the issue of shortness of breath as there may be a decrease in the oxygen level, and the lung may get filled up with fluid or cell debris of the infected person. One should not take any chances and should get tested for COVID-19. GatherWell provides the testing for shortness of breath in Otsego and can help you get tested on the same day and provide you with results in just 15 minutes.

Significant symptoms associated with shortness of breath:

  1. Air hunger.
  2. Tightening of the chest or experiencing chest pain.
  3. Sudden feeling of wheezing.
  4. Sometimes, the patient may experience chest pain while breathing when they lie flat.
  5. Having pus of blood in the sputum.
  6. Occurance of swelling, especially in feet and ankles.
  7. Decrease in oxygen level of the body when measured.
  8. Pulse rate getting extraordinarily high or low.

You need to get checked by your doctor if the above symptoms arise.

Causes of shortness of breath:

  1. Infection of lungs like pneumonia.
  2. Severe allergic reactions to some things( anaphylaxis).
  3. Lung diseases like asthma.
  4. Poisoning caused by carbon monoxide.
  5. COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  6. Sudden feeling of anxiousness, physiological issues such as anxiety, and panic attacks.
  7. COVID-19 caused by coronavirus.
  8. Heart failure, heart attack, change in heart rhythms called arrhythmia.
  9. Lung injuries like pulmonary fibrosis.
  10. Hypoxia – decreases in the oxygen level of the body.
  11. Collapsed lungs, pulmonary embolism, lung cancer, tuberculosis, and other lung problems.
  12. Obstruction of airways which can cause difficulty in breathing.
  13. Severe blood loss can cause loss of oxygen hence breathing difficulties.
  14. Shortness of breath may also result from obesity in some individuals.
  15. Various heart issues like pericarditis and cardiomyopathy.
  16. Trauma or injury to the chest.

Things to do and avoid shortening of breath:

  1. Regular exercises to increase your blood flow.
  2. Quit smoking.
  3. Stay away from pollutants and products that cause allergic reactions.
  4. Follow up a regular check-up with your doctor.
  5. Lung and heart conditions require following proper medication.

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