The breathing problems occur when you are not able to draw the breath completely inside your lungs. It is a condition that develops at once or it comes out slowly. The breathing difficulties are associated with a large number of different medical conditions that need to be sorted out to diagnose the cause.
If you suffer different episodes of sudden breathing difficulties it means that you are undergoing some serious health issues which need to be sorted out.
Stress and anxiety also cause breathing difficulties but they are temporarily and you become normal as soon as the triggering factors of stress and anxiety are removed.
Causes of Breathing Problems
There are numerous causes of breathing problems and it depends upon the organ causing them. The major problems occur in the respiratory and circulatory system which are the main cause of breathing difficulties a patient suffers.
The triggering factors of lung conditions are given down below:
Pneumonia is a condition that occurs due to inflammation occurring in lung tissue. The fluid and pus accumulate in the lungs and cause breathing difficulties, chest pain, fever, and productive cough.
Asthma is a condition that occurs due to the narrowing of lung channels. It is usually due to the hypersensitivity of lung tissue to various environmental factors like pollen, smoking, and weather changes. The person suffers shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness
Pulmonary embolism is due to blockage of arteries which are supplying the lung tissue. The Other symptoms associated with it are cough, wheezing, sweating, and difficulty in breathing.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
It includes a variety of lung diseases that occur obstruction and poor lung function. The patient suffers difficulty in breathing, chest tightness, and cough.
Pulmonary hypertension is a condition that occurs when the blood pressure supplying the lung tissue has a higher pressure. It occurs due to heart failure and chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue are the main symptoms of this condition.
Croup occurs as a result of infection of lung tissue and is associated with breathing difficulties and barking cough. It is a disease that occurs in children of age less than 3 years old.
Symptoms and Signs
The main symptom of breathing problems is that you feel that you are not able to breathe in a sufficient amount of air to supply all the lung tissue. You feel shortness of breath and you may suffer other signs as well which are:
The person breathes faster in order to make maximum oxygen to reach the lung tissue.
There is wheezing which is due to the narrowing of air channels. Wheezing is referred to as a sound that is made out of breathing.
The color change of the person and he may have red or blue colored complexion as a result.
The lips and fingernails may become blue.
There is excessive flaring of nostrils which is due to increased efforts to make the oxygen reach inside lung tissue to treat the breathing problems.
The person may suffer excessive sweating as a result.
There may be other symptoms that indicate a serious underlying problem and may suggest that the cause is other than the lung tissue.
Various heart conditions can also cause respiratory difficulties.
Other signs and symptoms associated with breathing problems are:
- tightness in the chest
- barking cough
- a sense of pressure inside the chest
- high grade fever
- sitting up constantly to relieve shortness of breath
- difficulty to sleep at night due to do breathing difficulties
How to Diagnose Breathing Problems?
For making a diagnosis of your breathing problems, you need to consult your physician. He will examine you and will ask you about a brief history which we include some questions like:
- For how long have you been suffering from this problem?
- Is the condition mild or severe?
- Does this condition aggravate at night time?
- Does the sitting position affect your problems?
- Is it associated with other conditions like fever, chest tightness, and cough?
After taking a short history from you, he will perform your physical examination to rule out the blueness of nails, pale complexion, or blue lips.
Depending upon your physical examination he may ask you to perform one of the following
- Complete blood count
- Chest X-ray
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Pulmonary functions tests
- Helical chest X-ray
- CT scan
Treatment Options to Treat Breathing Difficulties:
antihistamines are usually given to the patient who has allergies and the breathing difficulties are triggered by exposure to pollen, dust, or exercise. They reduce the allergic reactions occurring inside the body and hence treat the patient.
In extreme cases when the patient is really critical he may need oxygen therapy with a hundred percent oxygen. It is usually given at the end stage of disease when the other therapies have failed.
The inhalers provide us sudden relief from breathing problems. Whenever you suffer an attack of shortness of breath, you inhale some medicines which may treat it.
Inhaling moist air/ steam
Moist air can help to relieve a variety of breathing problems and you may try giving steam to the person suffering from shortness of breath.
Changing Lifestyle may resolve your symptoms readily. If you have sinusitis or if you are living at high altitude, the symptoms of your breathing problems may aggravate so it is important for you to treat underlying conditions and try to live at a lower altitude to treat your condition.
The prognosis of this condition is usually good, if the disease is treated as early as possible. The earlier the disease therapy is started, the more are the chances of patients to survive the condition.
When to Seek Medical Help?
When you are suffering from breathing problems associated with chest tightness, fever, wheezing, productive cough, you may need to consult your health care provider. Your physician after performing your general physical examination may give you medications that may help you to relieve your breathing difficulties.
The earlier you seek medical help the more are your chances to enjoy a healthy life.