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Shortness of Breath

Problems with breathing may occur in a variety of medical conditions. Shortness of breath is the most frequent of all respiratory symptoms. It can normally occur after strenuous activities and intensive sports such as running or it can be related to certain medical conditions. Not only that lung diseases cause shortness of breath but this symptoms may be also connected to disorders of other organs such as the heart or it can be related to side effects of certain medications. The bottom line is that the underlying cause of these symptoms needs to be identified and the disease treated and eventually shortness of breath will withdraw.

Common Causes of Shortness of Breath


People who do not exercise regularly and are not fit, as well as those who lead sedentary lifestyles are prone to shortness of breath whenever exposed to strenuous activities. They may have problems with breathing if decide to climb stairs instead of taking elevator or if they suddenly decide to engage in any kind of sports activity. Morbidly obese people are also prone to shortness of breath.

Respiratory Diseases

Shortness of breath is typical for numerous respiratory conditions. As for the disease of the upper respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis may lead to shortness of breath. Allergies and asthma are two additional causes. Inflammatory diseases of the lungs as well as infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis and pleurisy are always accompanied by shortness of breath. This symptom also occurs in acute diseases such as pulmonary edema or in chronic conditions which include interstitial lung disease, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension. Lung cancer and mesothelioma lead to shortness of breath in later stages of the disease. Sudden shortness of breath is typical for pneumotorax no matter if it has been caused by injury or it has occurred spontaneously.

Heart Conditions

People who are suffering from heart conditions most commonly complain about problems with breathing. Shortness of breath is typical for coronary heart disease, heart attack and heart failure.

Other Causes of Shortness of Breath

Apart from the previously mentioned, shortness of breath commonly affects people who are suffering from different phobias as well as people who have generalized anxiety attacks. In pregnant women, in later phase of pregnancy, enlarged uterus may cause elevation of the diaphragm and lead to shortness of breath. It may also happen that women in the first trimester of pregnancy develop shortness of breath. Still this time the actual cause lies in hormone progesterone which induces chest discomfort and induces deeper breaths.

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