Shortness of Breath—Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Shortness of Breath—Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

May 01, 2022

Shortness of breath is feeling winded or not being able to breathe in enough air. You might be experiencing this after running a sprint, climbing several stairs, or taking an aerobics class, for example.

These feelings may be familiar if you are on a normal exercise regime — but outside of the context of regular activity, they can be worrying. A healthy adult breathes in and out up to 20 times a minute; that’s nearly 30,000 breaths a day.

A hard workout can, however, affect this from time to time, but most people never feel severe shortness of breath.

If you have a shortness of breath or an existing health condition that makes you feverish or coughing, visit an ER near you to find out if you might have COVID-19.

Shortness of breath is a symptom of many medical problems, such as heart or lung conditions.

What Causes Shortness of Breath?

Dyspnea is the medical name for shortness of breath. Acute dyspnea will last only for hours to days before it goes away, but chronic dyspnea lasts for weeks or months.

Anxiety and panic attacks, whether situational or chronic, can cause shortness of breath, and they can be mistaken for heart attacks. But, low-level anxiety can cause shortness of breath too, and some individuals may not even realize they are suffering from anxiety.

Anxiety can cause you to feel short of breath or dizzy. It is advisable to visit emergency care in Houston, TX if you have these symptoms for assistance.

Other causes of shortness of breath include:

  • Poor quality of air like carbon monoxide
  • High altitudes
  • Extreme temperatures

Certain medical conditions, both acute and chronic, can cause you to lose breath, and they include:

  • Lung problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, pulmonary embolism
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Allergies
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • heart disease or attack
  • Obesity
  • Bad posture. It is not easy to get enough oxygen when you sit for a long time. Sitting with poor posture may lead to shortness of breath.

Shortness of breath can be transient or constant, depending on the underlying cause. And you may also have other symptoms associated with loss of breath if you have an underlying condition.

What are the Risk Factors of Shortness of Breath?

Several factors can predispose you to dyspnea, including weak muscles, asthma, anemia, compromised immune system, and smoking.

What Are the Symptoms of Shortness of Breath (Dyspnea)?

When you have shortness of breath, you might feel:

  • Tightness in your chest
  • Winded or out of breath
  • Unable to breathe deeply
  • Suffocation

Dyspnea can be sudden (acute) or long-lasting (chronic). Sudden dyspnea starts within a few minutes or hours and can happen with other symptoms like fever, rashes, coughs. Chronic dyspnea makes you experience shortness of breath with everyday tasks like walking or standing up. Shortness of breath can be worse or better depending on certain body positions. Pay attention to how often you lose your breath; call an emergency room in Houston if you have frequent shortness of breath.

What are the Treatment Options of Dyspnea?

The treatment of dyspnea depends on the underlying cause. After diagnosis, the doctor will choose a suitable treatment, and it will involve one or more of the following:

  • Medications like bronchodilators to help you breathe easily
  • Prescription supplements can help raise iron levels and are ideal if you are anemic
  • Surgery
  • Oxygen therapy can support breathing
  • Antibiotics fight the bacterial infection
  • Lifestyle changes are great if obesity is contributing factor
  • Avoid smoking tobacco
  • Avoid strenuous activities that can cause shortness of breath
  • Get regular medical checkups

When to See a Doctor

Some people might experience mild shortness of breath, which can be painful and usually go away on its own. Visit a 24-hour emergency clinic for the doctor to provide you with some useful information. If it’s a known condition, home remedies such as those cited above can be safe ways of addressing the issue.

Go to a walk-in clinic if you experience shortness of breath for the first time without knowing why.

Take Action!

Visit Ascent Emergency Room if you have severe shortness of breath or feel chest tightness.

Are you looking for an emergency room in Houston, TX? At Ascent Emergency Room, we care about your health and their emergency needs. We are located just a little away from you and provide exceptional and comprehensive emergency care appointments for the surrounding Houston area:

  • (Southampton) University Place
  • Rice Village
  • Bellaire
  • Old Braeswood
  • Gridiron
  • Brookhaven
  • Southside
  • Riverside Terrace
  • Greater Third Ward
  • Greater Eastwood
  • East Downtown
  • Midtown
  • Montrose
  • Westmoreland Houston
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