Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath can occur due to many reasons. Most of the diseases and conditions related to lungs and heart can have shortness of breath as a major symptom. However, shortness of difficulty in breath is a serious situation which needs immediate medical attention.

Shortness of breath is also known as dyspnea. It is defined as the difficulty in breathing. You will feel you are not getting enough of air to breath. You may feel tightness in the chest. Also cough, fever, chest discomfort may also accompany.

Causes of shortness of breath

As told earlier, shortness of breath can happen due to various reasons ranging from blockage in the breathing passages to lung diseases or illness related to heart muscles and blood vessels. Here goes some of the major reasons:

  • Asthma: Shortness of difficulty in breathing is the major sign of asthma, and inflammatory disease.
  • Lung diseases: Pneumonia, lung cancer, emphysema etc can cause shortness of breath
  • Heart attack: Shortness of breath can be indicating a possible heart attack
  • Heart diseases: Coronary artery disease, mitral valve prolapse, vale stenosis, valve regurgitation, etc can be reasons for shortness of breath.
  • Panic attacks: Emotional and panic attacks can also provoke shortness of breath

Shortness of breath and heart attack

Shortness of breath can be a clear indication of heart attack. Understanding other signs of heart attack might help you to seek medical attention immediately when you get an attack. However, don’t ever wait for other symptoms to happen to seek medical attention.

  • Chest discomfort or chest pain
  • Discomfort in the upper part of the body like neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, and upper part of the abdomen
  • Pressure, tightness, squeezing or aching sensation in the chest
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Nausea, light-headedness etc.
  • Excessive sweating
  • Discomfort in the abdomen

You are at a higher risk of heart attack if you have:

  • Age above 50
  • Family history of heart disease
  • High cholesterol or high blood pressure
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Consumption of alcohol at higher levels routinely
  • Physical inactivity
  • Emotional stress
  • Obesity

Act fast for medical help

A heart attack asks for medical help immediately. The signs and symptoms of the heart attack may develop suddenly for some patients. However once you develop signs of heart attack, quick action is very much needed. Action should be taken as soon as possible without delay in order to save life.

On the other hand, the signs and symptoms of heart attack may take up to months to develop in some patients. You need to consult with the doctor if you observe these symptoms as it may be hinting a possible heart attack.

  • Unusual fatigue or sweating
  • Discomfort or pain in the upper part of the body
  • A pain in the back, neck or the jaw

Sometimes the symptoms disappear, but it may be hinting of possible heart attack. Hence you should visit a cardiologist to avoid chances of heart attack.

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