causes of shortness of breath

Breathing difficulties or dyspnea contain a wide range of symptoms of mild to severe disorders or conditions that can interfere with normal breathing and respiration. The most common underlying condition of breathing difficulties is a feeling that you cannot get enough air. Difficulty breathing can be caused by a blockade of the airway, trauma, inflammation, infection, cancer and other irregular processes.


Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airway tubes of the lungs. It is characterized by various symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing and tightness in the chest. The greatest concern with asthma is that it can lead to respiratory failure and the incapacity to breathe. If this becomes a continual issue for a person, then it might be necessary for them to visit a facility that provides respiratory therapy.


Pneumonia can affect one or both lungs with an infection. It is characterized by inflammation of the of lung’s air sacs (alveoli) that fills with pus or fluid making it hard to breathe. Pneumonia can be caused by a virus, bacteria or fungi. Symptoms can vary from mild to life-threatening depending on many variables like: The severity of your pneumonia usually depends on age, cause of inflammation, your general health and the kind of organism that caused the problem.


Emphysema is a disease of the lungs that gradually damages the air sacs. According to the Mayo Clinic, smoking is the leading cause of emphysema. However, it can also occur in people who are exposed to irritants on a regular basis. Symptoms include shortness of breath even when resting, lack of mental alertness and lips or fingernails turn grey or blue with exertion. Less severe symptoms may include quick heartbeat, loss of weight, depression and exhaustion.

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Prolonged Heart Condition

Because the heart is one of the most important organs in the human body, it can be quite sensitive. So many different things can be going on with it that can be making it difficult for you to breathe. With Congestive Heart Failure, for example, a person experiences shortness of breath, fatigue and an irregular heartbeat. Another heart-related issue, is called Heart Rhythm disorder where a person experiences both shortness of breath and chest pain. There are few other disorders as well that you might want to look at if you’ve been feeling like you’re not getting enough air.

If you think that you may be experiencing any of the above four conditions, seek help now. Don’t ever hesitate when it comes to your health.

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. For your respiratory therapy needs, Hannah recommends Corner Home Medical.

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