Shortness of Breath: What to do and First AID

Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath can happen to anyone. The causes may also vary, which range from allergies asthma to lung ailments. Usually, shortness of breath is accompanied by pain in the chest. If this happens to you or the people closest to you, what should you do? Learn more about Shortness of Breath: What to do and First AID here.

Doing a lot of things with various activities, certainly makes you tired. There are a variety of factors that can cause shortness of breath whether it is accompanied by a cough or without coughing. You can find out what can cause and when to worry about shortness of breath, considering the shortness of breath can also be deadly if not handled properly.


Do you know what is Shortness of Breath?

Shortness of breath is a condition when a person has difficulty breathing. In medical terms, this condition is also known as dyspnea. It can also be a sign of a disease.

Shortness of breath can occur suddenly and in a short period (acute), but it can also occur over a long period or recurrent (chronic). If not treated properly, shortness of breath can result in the body lacking oxygen and causing serious complications.


What causes a individual to experience shortness of breath?

Shortness of breath occurs because the respiratory system and blood circulation are unable to circulate enough oxygen to the body. However, in addition, shortness of breath can also be a symptom of a person’s psychic disorder.

The following is an explanation of the types of disorders that can cause shortness of breath:

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Lung disorders

Shortness of breath due to impaired lungs can occur due to obstructions in the airways, reduced lung surface area, or un-elastic lungs. This condition can occur over a long or short time.

  • Some lung disorders that can cause chronic shortness of breath are:
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (a lung disease that blocks airflow and makes breathing difficult).
  • Asthma
  • Interstitial pulmonary disease (a disorder that causes progressive scarring of lung tissue).
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Asbestosis
  • This is long-term inflammation and scarring of the lungs due to asbestos fibers)
  • Lung cancer

The disorder in the lungs is called pulmonary Edema. This disorder can be characterized by symptoms of shortness of breath. You can read more on Pulmonary Edema: Symptoms, Type, Causes and How to Treatment.


Meanwhile, lung disorders that can cause an acute shortness of breath include:

  • Asthma attacks
  • Pulmonary embolism: A condition where one or more blood vessels in the lungs become blocked by blood clots.
  • Lung infections, such as pneumonia and COVID-19
  • Pneumothorax
  • Fluid buildup in the lungs
  • Heart disorders


Shortness of breath due to heart problems can occur when the heart is unable to pump oxygen-filled blood optimally. Several heart disorders that can cause shortness of breath are:

  • Coronary heart disease: Damage or disease of the main blood vessels of the heart.
  • Arrhythmia: Abnormal heartbeat, whether irregular, too fast, or too slow.
  • Congestive heart failure: A chronic condition when the heart does not pump blood properly.
  • Heart valve disease: a condition in which the heart valves do not function normally.
  • Pericarditis: A swelling and irritation of the membrane such as a thin sac that wraps around the heart (pericardium).
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Psychic disorders

Shortness of breath due to psychic disorders can occur because the respiratory muscles experience tension in response to stress or panic attacks. Psychic disorders that can cause shortness of breath, among others:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Somatoform disorders

Somatoform disorder is a mental illness in an individual characterized by a group of erratic bodily complaints, but not observable during physical exam. The visual appeal of the disorder is usually brought on by anxiety and a great deal of thoughts.


Risk factors for shortness of breath

Shortness of breath can strike anyone. However, several factors can increase the risk of shortness of breath, namely:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Too skinny
  • Suffers from muscle-weakening diseases, such as myasthenia gravis or muscular dystrophy
  • Suffering from anemia
  • smoke
  • Work in an environment full of pollution or dust
  • Located on the plateau


What are the symptoms of Shortness of Breath?

Shortness of breath is a condition when a person has difficulty breathing. This condition can be a symptom of certain diseases, such as lung disorders. A person experiencing shortness of breath usually experiences complaints such as the following:

  • Chest sensations such as being bound or unable to move freely
  • Such feelings need to catch your breath more or faster
  • The body doesn’t feel enough to get air
  • Difficulty breathing deeply


When to see a doctor?

Acute shortness of breath needs to be immediately checked to a doctor, especially if accompanied by symptoms, such as:

  • Chest feels full for more than 30 minutes
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling of the feet and ankles
  • Cough and fever
  • There is a whistling-like sound when pulling and exhaling
  • Bluish on lips and nails
  • Tightness worsens while lying down
  • Nauseous
  • Faint
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If you have acute shortness of breath which is a recurrent condition, such as asthma, do the treatment at home as instructed by the doctor. If the tightness still does not improve, immediately check with a doctor.

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