Shortness of breath is an unpleasant condition which is characterized by inability to draw in enough air. In the emergency department, priority is given to individuals with breathing difficulty since life is at danger if the condition radically worsens. Except for individuals with asthma and have breathing issues, they are regularly managed with inhalers and other medications.
It is vital to call for emergency assistance right away if shortness of breath occurs abruptly without any cause or accompanied by possible heart attack symptoms. Call a doctor if the individual starts to experience the following:
- Shortness of breath after exercise, while at rest or after mild exertion
- High fever and/or chills
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the foot or ankle while lying down
Individuals who are obese or not used to exercise are common factors for shortness of breath as well as abrupt changes in location to high altitudes where the air has less oxygen.
Can allergies cause shortness of breath
Allergic reactions can lead to shortness of breath. These reactions can occur due to exposure to mold, dust, certain foods, dander, medications or insect bites or stings. An individual who has been stung by a wasp or bee that suddenly experiences shortness of breath might be in a critical condition that requires emergency assistance.
Airways that are obstructed after inhaling a foreign object can lead to shortness of breath. There are respiratory conditions in which breathing conditions can be a symptom such as asthma, anemia, bronchitis, bronchiectasis, chronic sinusitis, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, interstitial lung disease, pleurisy, pleural effusion, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, pneumothorax, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary embolism, tuberculosis and pulmonary hypertension.
Shortness of breath can be an indication of heart conditions such as heart arrhythmia, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and heart attack especially if accompanied by prolonged chest pain, nausea, fainting and vomiting.
Mental factors and other possible causes
The shortness of breath can be a symptom for individuals who are suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, heavy stress, fear or anger. Those who have hiatal hernia can experience difficulty breathing as well as those who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).