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What Is Breathing Difficulty?
"Life is in the breath. He who half breathes half lives."
As this old proverb exactly says, breathing is life and the breathing of a person can determine how healthy a person is. With that mentioned, breathing difficulty is a condition wherein the breathing abnormalities or breathing is unlike the normal is noticed for any underlying health condition. In case if you feel difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath, it becomes tough for the body to breathe in the oxygen that your body needs. It appears for you as if you're running out of the air around you and this condition may be a sign of some serious disease or illness.
Unlike the type of breathing problem like allergies, asthma, etc., you're facing, it's of great importance and need of the moment to maintain an active and productive living. Difficulty in breathing can be of any way like you may not be able to take a whole breath in or breath out or you may notice discomfort while breathing. This type of breathing difficulty can either build slowly or come by suddenly. However, some breathing difficulties like that after an aerobics class or Zumba dance don't come under this category.
Breathing difficulties can be caused by many different conditions. They can also develop as a result of stress and anxiety or due to a common cold or the flu.
Breathing Difficulty Symptoms
Difficulty in breathing can be because of various reasons such as increased stress and anxiety or common cold or flu. Breathing difficulty can be identified with a few symptoms that are not limited to those listed below and can further worsen the situation. Some breathing difficulties last long while some last for a short period.
- Stuffy nose
- A sore throat
- Inflamed airways
- Excess mucus in the airways
- Bloody sputum
- Chest injury or pain or tightness
- Labored breathing etc.,
What causes breathing difficulty
The various causes of shortness of breath can be;
- Inhalation injury
- Lung cancer
- Pulmonary embolism
- High altitude with low breathable oxygen levels
- Interstitial lung disease
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Pulmonary artery hypertension
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Rib fracture
- Aerobic exercise
- Carbon monoxide poisoning etc.
All these cause symptoms that lead to difficulty in breathing. It is also noticed in some that they experience breathing difficulty due to cold as well. Infections like sinusitis also cause difficulty in breathing and this condition may last for around 1 to 2 weeks. Some other breathing problems like sinusitis, allergies, asthma, etc are chronic and so last for a long time. The nasal passage is the route for different allergies and viruses to step into your lungs and so your sinuses and nose are prone to many lung disorders.
How To Diagnose Breathing Difficulty?
The diagnosis starts with the doctor asking for the various symptoms, doing some physical examinations, checking your overall health condition with some tests like pulmonary lung function test, etc. In a few other cases the diagnosis also includes the doctor taking some tests like;
- Chest X-rays
- Test for allergy
- Tests on lungs
- CT scans
- Methacholine and spirometry challenge tests
- Analysis of arterial blood gas
Treatment For Breathing Difficulty
Breathing difficulties can be caused by any possible reason. Doctors at first understand the symptoms and thereby the cause of the problem. Asking the patient about the symptoms may be enough in certain cases to understand and treat, whereas in some cases, few more tests are carried out to determine the cause.
- So, depending on the cause of the problem the treatment procedure proceeds. Few of the usual treatments include but not limited to
- Removal of the obstacles in the throat in cases of choking
- Medications for some cases
- Usage of inhalers in the cases of asthma or any other as such upper respiratory problems.
- For anaphylaxis, an autoinjector as EpiPen
- In cases of acid reflux or COPD, making to eat smaller meals
Tips To Get Rid Of Breathing Difficulty
There are various ways to be followed to avoid the problem of talk, few of those potential ways are noted here;
- Breathing with pursed lip
- Sitting forward or with support by a table
- Standing with back support
- Standing with arms support
- Sleep in a comfortable and relaxing way
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Practice eating by sitting up and smaller meals
- Be sure to clear your lungs before eating and as well use oxygen during meals
- Avoid overeating and also be sure to match your meals with your energy levels.
- Avoid gas-causing foods.
- Practice deep breathing
When To See A Doctor
It's always better to consult a doctor if you notice any of the symptoms, the earlier the better. If in case you face severe breathing difficulty, then immediately rush to the doctor.
Make an immediate doctor appointment, if you notice breathing difficulty with chest pain, nausea, bluish lips to tongue, lips or nails or mental alertness, breathing difficulty with cough as at times these may lead to pulmonary embolism or heart attack.
Meet your doctor also in the cases where you notice;
- Feet and ankles swelling
- Difficulty in breathing when you lie flat
- High fever, cough, and chills
- Further deteriorating your preexisting shortness of breath
- Also, in cases to avoid and help keep chronic breathing shortness from getting further worse
Also, for some women breathing difficulty during pregnancy happens and it needs careful monitoring.
So, either to avoid the breathing difficulty or control it and stop further worsening following a healthy lifestyle and following the prescribed medication should work. As prevention of a disease is better than curing it, take and follow all necessary to be done to avoid breathing difficulties.