Dyspnea is a medical term that is used to describe shortness of breath or air hunger as known in common terminology.
It can vary from one person to another as short standing and mild to long-standing and severe. However, in both cases is an uncomfortable condition to deal with.
Dyspnea; What To Know About It And Ways To Cure It
Diagnosis and treatment of dyspnea are quite difficult as there is a number of reasons behind its occurrence.
According to the data of the Cleveland Clinic for Continuing Education, one in every 4 people suffer from the condition and visits a doctor for the same.
What are some of the symptoms of dyspnea:
The condition can be induced by a variety of reasons like spending time at high altitudes, overexertion or some other medical condition.
However, some of the common symptoms experienced by people suffering from dyspnea are shortness of breath experienced after exertion or because of any other condition, feeling of suffocation owing to the difficulty in breathing, feeling of tightness in the chest, labored breathing, heart palpitations, rapid and shallow breathing, coughing and wheezing.
Sudden occurrence of the condition or emergence of more severe forms of the symptoms can indicate some serious underlying health issues.
What causes the condition:
The occurrence of dyspnea is not always associated with the medical condition of an individual. An individual can experience an episode of dyspnea after heavy physical exercise, traveling through high altitudes, or during sudden changes in temperature.
At times it can indicate an issue like being overweight. Regular exercise and losing weight can help in improving the condition.
Under very rare conditions, it indicates some serious underlying medical issue. Experts believe that some of the most prevalent causes of dyspnea include asthma, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial lung diseases, pneumonia, and psychological problems like anxiety.
Acute dyspnea; and how to identify it:
If the shortness of breath starts suddenly without any prior medical history, it is termed a case of acute dyspnea.
It can be attributed to a number of reasons like asthma, anxiety, pneumonia, chocking on something that can block the breathing pathways, allergic reaction, anemia, blood loss, exposure to very high levels of carbon monoxide, heart failure, low blood pressure, blood clot in an artery going to the lungs, collapsed lungs and hiatal hernia. It is also common in people suffering from some kind of terminal illness.
If a person suffers from the symptoms of dyspnea for more than a month, the condition is called chronic dyspnea.
The occurrence of chronic dyspnea can be attributed to the factors like asthma, COPD, heart problems, obesity, and a condition called interstitial pulmonary fibrosis that is characterized by the scarring of the tissues in the lungs.
Heart and lung conditions that can trigger the condition:
Some of the lung conditions that can trigger the occurrence of dyspnea are lung injury, lung cancer, tuberculosis, pulmonary hypertension, and few other complications.
Some of the cardiac complications that can cause dyspnea to include heart rhythm problem, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and pericarditis.
How to treat dyspnea:
The treatment route that will be followed for dyspnea depends on the cause that has triggered the condition.
If the condition is caused due to overexertion, the person will start feeling better once he gets enough rest, or for those suffering from COPD or asthma, a rescue bronchodilator can help improve the condition.
For dyspnea caused by pneumonia or anxiety, any antibiotic aimed at curing the infection will relieve the symptoms. For treating the anxiety causing the breathing difficulty, medications aimed at treating anxiety can help with the symptoms.
There are certain preventive measures, that when followed by one suffering from dyspnea, can give some relief. These are quitting smoking, avoiding chemical gases and fumes, losing weight, and practising effective stress management to reduce anxiety, taking time to acclimatize to high altitudes, and reducing physical exercise at an altitude higher than 5000 feet.