Causes of Shortness of Breath

Causes of Shortness of Breath and How to Overcome It

Shortness of breath is a condition that occurs when breathing is difficult, uncomfortable, or fast. This is due to the reduced supply of oxygen to the body so that body parts such as the lungs, inner wall muscles, and diaphragm work harder to breathe.

Shortness of breath can occur anytime and anywhere, especially if you have a condition or factor that causes it.

MIKA’s friends should not take shortness of breath lightly, because if it is not handled properly, it can be dangerous and even risk causing death.

Then, what are the things that cause a person to experience shortness of breath suddenly? Find out the explanation in the following article.

Shortness of breath is a condition that occurs when breathing is difficult, uncomfortable, or fast. This is due to the reduced supply of oxygen to the body so that body parts such as the lungs, inner wall muscles, and diaphragm work harder to breathe.

Shortness of breath can occur anytime and anywhere, especially if you have a condition or factor that causes it.

MIKA’s friends should not take shortness of breath lightly, because if it is not handled properly, it can be dangerous and even risk causing death.

Then, what are the things that cause a person to experience shortness of breath suddenly? Find out the explanation in the following article.

What is shortness of breath?

Breathing is the activity of taking oxygen from outside air entering through the mouth or nose. Then oxygen reaches the lungs, then the lungs pump oxygen throughout the body to carry out activities. The rest of the oxygen is released into carbon dioxide (CO2).

Shortness of breath, or in medical terms called dyspnea is a natural response when the body needs more oxygen and energy.

Shortness of breath can occur in healthy people such as in obese people with difficulty breathing, people running or walking fast, being tense and afraid, the elderly, to pregnant women.

This condition is common and harmless because doing something requires physical effort and energy.

But there is also shortness of breath in sick people. Well, this is something to watch out for because usually shortness of breath is a symptom of certain diseases.

How to recognize emergency shortness of breath

To recognize dangerous shortness of breath, MIKA’s Friends must first identify the condition of the body as a whole, whether healthy or sick.

Humans can breathe 12-20 times per minute if they have certain conditions. However, the average breathing in healthy people with certain conditions is 12-14 times per minute.

In addition, the condition of respiratory failure in humans is considered dangerous if breathing 15 times per minute. The classification of respiratory failure is:

  • 15-20 times per minute: mild respiratory distress
  • 20-25 breaths per minute: moderate respiratory distress
  • 25-30 times per minute: severe respiratory distress, can stop breathing

Shortness of breath can also be dangerous if accompanied by cough, fever, chest pain, and enlarged tonsils. Go to the hospital immediately if you are sick and breathing more than 15 times per minute immediately take him to the hospital.

Causes of shortness of breath

There are all kinds of things that can cause people to have shortness of breath. Apart from being normal, shortness of breath can also be a symptom of certain health conditions, but often stems from lung or cardiovascular (heart-related) problems.

Sudden shortness of breath can indicate something quite serious that requires immediate medical attention. The following is an explanation of the causes of shortness of breath in humans:

Lung condition

Shortness of breath may be triggered by inflamed and narrowed airways, or by filling the airways with phlegm, making it harder for air to get in and out of the lungs.

The lungs are stiff and less elastic, making it more difficult to expand and fill with air. Several lung conditions can cause short-term (acute) shortness of breath, such as:

  • Asthma attack
  • Pulmonary embolism or blood clot in the lungs
  • Lung infections such as pneumonia or tuberculosis
  • Pneumothorax or collapsed lung
  • A buildup of fluid in the lungs or lining of the lungs which may be due to the heart failing to pump efficiently or it may be due to liver disease, cancer or infection.

In addition, lung conditions that cause shortness of breath, especially in the long term (chronic), are:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) or interstitial lung diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Industrial or occupational lung diseases such as asbestosis, which are caused by exposure to asbestos.
  • Lung cancer
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Heart problems

Some people may experience long-term shortness of breath due to heart problems. If the cause of shortness of breath is a problem with the heart, it often appears suddenly or suddenly.

Then, shortness of breath is worse when lying on your back at night or while sleeping. Diseases of the heart that cause shortness of breath are:

  • Cardiac tamponade (excess fluid around the heart)
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Arrhythmia (heart rhythm problems)

Anxiety (anxiety)

Anxiety or fear can cause sudden shortness of breath. This is a normal response as you may start to breathe faster and your respiratory muscles will become tense.

However, shortness of breath can be dangerous if it is caused by feelings of extreme anxiety or panic attacks. Panic attacks can be very scary when coupled with feeling unable to breathe.

When you breathe too fast in response to an anxiety disorder, you may inhale more oxygen or what is known as hyperventilation (excessive breathing).

When you do this, the balance of gases in the lungs is disturbed. A certain amount of carbon dioxide normally remains in the blood. If you breathe in too much air too often, carbon dioxide is pushed out of the lungs through the lungs. This affects the messages the brain receives to tell you to breathe.

During a panic attack, in addition to difficulty and inability to breathe, there are other symptoms such as:

  • Heart pounding
  • Feeling weak until you feel like passing out
  • Sweat
  • Sick
  • Trembling limbs

Other causes

In addition to the conditions mentioned earlier, here are some other causes of shortness of breath:

  • Being overweight or obese, because it requires more effort to breathe or move. Obesity can also develop obesity hypoventilation syndrome i.e. lower oxygen levels and higher carbon dioxide levels in the blood due to poor breathing regulation.
  • Lack of weight because it makes the respiratory muscles also become weaker.
  • Smoking habit.
  • Conditions that affect how muscles work, such as muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, or motor neuron disease.
  • Postural conditions that change the shape of the spine, and affect how the ribs and lungs develop, such as scoliosis and kyphosis.
  • Anemia, when a lack of iron in the body causes fewer red blood cells.
  • Kidney illness.
  • Thyroid disease.

Handling shortness of breath that appears suddenly

We should never take shortness of breath lightly. If it is already dangerous and has certain conditions, or is sick, shortness of breath that appears suddenly can be dangerous.

Following are the first aids for shortness of breath that MIKA Friends can do when they feel very short of breath:

  • Try to stay calm.
  • Call emergency services or your personal doctor if shortness of breath gets worse and suddenly for no apparent reason.
  • Use an inhaler if you have asthma.
  • Use oxygen if you are used to it.
  • Quit smoking if you are a smoker. Manage body weight to stay ideal.
  • Practice breathing control techniques.

There are several breathing control techniques that can help reduce shortness of breath, such as:

  • Relax, slow, breathe deeply: inhale gently through the nose and exhale through the nose and mouth. Try to stay relaxed and calm.
  • Rapid breathing, can be helpful when shortness of breath arises from walking fast or climbing stairs. Try to breathe in a rhythmic pace at a pace that is comfortable for you.
  • Controlled breathing, which involves using the diaphragm and lower chest muscles to breathe instead of the upper chest and shoulder muscles. Breathe in gently and keep your shoulders and upper chest muscles relaxed.
  • Organize the items you use every day so that they are easily accessible. Try to stay active but take a break when you feel short of breath and then start again.
  • Use different comfortable sitting and standing positions when you feel short of breath.

Different positions suit different people but examples include:

  • When standing, lean back from your hips with your forearms resting on something at a comfortable height, such as a chair or kitchen work surface.
  • When standing or walking, place your hands on your hips or in your pockets.
  • When sitting, lean forward, placing your forearms on your knees, on the arms of a chair, or on a table.
  • If shortness of breath does not subside despite taking these steps, go to the hospital immediately. Treatment will depend on the possible cause of the shortness of breath.