Why There May Be Shortness Of Breath

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Why There May Be Shortness Of Breath
Why There May Be Shortness Of Breath

Shortness of breath is a disturbance in the frequency, rhythm or depth of breathing associated with any obstruction to exhalation or inhalation, accompanied by painful sensations of lack of air. This symptom often occurs during exercise, but it can have more serious causes.

Why there may be shortness of breath
Why there may be shortness of breath

Physiological cause

Shortness of breath occurs when there is a lack of oxygen in the body. The brain receives this signal and breathes faster. After physical exertion, the normal respiratory rhythm is restored rather quickly. It is not difficult to cope with such physiological shortness of breath - it is enough to make the exercises regular; in trained people, shortness of breath is not so pronounced.

Emotional reason

Breathing problems can also occur with emotional stress, intense excitement, anger, fear. These emotions increase the production of adrenaline, which, when released into the bloodstream, causes hyperventilation. Heartbeat and intestinal motility may also increase. Such emotional shortness of breath is not dangerous, but if stress and anxiety escalate into panic attacks, it is better to see a therapist.


With a decrease in hemoglobin, less oxygen is supplied to the brain, as to the rest of the organs. The body compensates for this condition, as a result of which the depth and frequency of breaths increase. That is, the lungs are trying to "pump" more oxygen into the blood. This condition is more typical for women. In these cases, the doctor prescribes iron supplements with an additional intake of vitamin C for better absorption of iron.


With obesity, organs and tissues cannot receive a sufficient amount of blood, since it is difficult for the heart to deliver it through the body of fat. Fat is stored in internal organs and makes it difficult for the heart and lungs to function. Obesity in most cases is accompanied by atherosclerosis and arterial hypotension - factors that also contribute to the onset of shortness of breath.

Pulmonary diseases

Shortness of breath is a symptom of most diseases of the lungs and bronchi. Oxygen cannot normally penetrate through the walls of the alveoli into the blood, which results in difficulty breathing. In bronchial asthma, the inflammatory process in the bronchi is accompanied by a spasm of their walls. Shortness of breath always develops paroxysmal, it is easy for the patient to inhale air, but it is very difficult to exhale (expiratory dyspnea). Shortness of breath with pneumonia is mixed, the patient has difficulty breathing in and out. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchitis also give difficulty in exhaling.

Coronary heart disease

Such shortness of breath is manifested by a feeling of lack of air, inferiority of inhalation. Dyspnea is often accompanied by constricting pain in the left side of the chest. The appearance of these symptoms is a reason to call an ambulance.

Heart failure

With heart failure, shortness of breath is characteristic during physical exertion, walking. If the disease progresses, then constant shortness of breath may occur, which persists even at rest, in a lying state, in a dream.

High blood pressure

An increase in blood pressure leads to overworking of the heart and shortness of breath. Along with shortness of breath, other characteristic manifestations of hypertension occur - dizziness, headaches, hot flashes, weakness, tinnitus, periodic heart pains.

Myocardial infarction

In this acute and dangerous condition, the death of a portion of the heart muscle occurs. The function of the heart deteriorates sharply, the tissues do not have enough oxygen, the patient often has severe shortness of breath. If, along with shortness of breath, there are severe stitching and burning heart pains that do not go away after taking nitroglycerin, cold sticky sweat, a decrease in blood pressure, a feeling of interruptions in the work of the heart, you should immediately call an ambulance.

Pulmonary embolism

Signs of this condition are abruptly appeared severe shortness of breath, turning into suffocation, excruciating cough, stitching pains in the chest. The harbingers of thromboembolism can be edema, heaviness in the legs, cramps in the calf muscles.

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