Why do we feel shortness of breath and when to take it seriously?

By Dr Ranjit Jagtap, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Ram Mangal Heart Foundation.

Isn’t it frightening to experience breathlessness regularly when you lie down, walk, or speak? It’s natural to gasp for breath when you’re walking up the stairs, exercising hard, sick, or anxious. Whatever may be the reason for shortness of breath, having a tight feeling in your chest or not breathing well can be pretty distressing.

If you face breathing issues that aren’t too severe, they aren’t necessarily a cause for concern. However, if your breathing has abruptly changed for no apparent reason or is gradually getting worse over time, especially if you didn’t experience this previously, it could be an indication of an underlying disease.

The possible causes for having shortness of breath

Shortness of breath usually occurs when you don’t get enough oxygen, making you feel like you have to work harder to breathe. And, if it persists for a long time, it can cut the supply of oxygen to your organs, which can have significant health repercussions. So, the foremost cause of difficulty in breathing could be pulmonary illnesses such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which affect the air passages.

Another cause of breathlessness is allergy. And there could be multiple reasons for it, such as being exposed to high pollution levels, dust, and pollens, because of which you may experience feeling out of breath and coughing. These allergens clog the airways in your lungs, causing breathing difficulties. It is common to see the problem of shortness of breath in people suffering from cardiovascular disease or if a person is experiencing heart failure. It is more likely to be found in people who have diabetes, high blood pressure, or atrial fibrillation.

Sometimes you can also feel breathlessness due to anxiety. It causes you to breathe too quickly. When you breathe too quickly, you take in too much oxygen and exhale too much carbon dioxide. As a result, your body feels like it isn’t getting enough oxygen.
Take this problem seriously
You are the better assessor of your body. If you suffer shortness of breath suddenly and have never encountered anything like this before, or if the symptoms you are experiencing start interfering with your everyday life, it is a matter of concern. Furthermore, if you experience chest pain or discomfort, feel dizziness when exercising, or remain awakened at night due to breathing problems, these are all symptoms that something is not correct. You should seek medical attention. It is preferable to handle controllable issues, so the sooner you discover something, the more likely you will intervene before severe or chronic damage happens.
Breathing is an essential act of survival, and COVID-19 proved it to us. Everyone struggles to breathe at some point in their lives, but don’t take it for granted. So, whatever the cause of your ailment, remember that meeting with a doctor is the first step toward receiving an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

This article was shared with Prittle Prattle News as a Press Release.

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