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Shortness of Breath: What your body might be telling you?

Published On : December 04, 2023

Did you experience any sudden shortness of breath? Well, it's time to be alert. An episode of shortness of breath should not be taken lightly. On a serious note, any episode of shortness of breath must be addressed in the right way.

If you have ever experienced any shortness of breath, it is important to be aware of the causes, symptoms, treatment, solution, and prevention of shortness of breath. In this context, GS Hospital Hapur, the top heart care hospital in Ghaziabad, is well-known for its expertise in addressing serious symptoms related to shortness of breath. The hospital aims to spread awareness about shortness of breath among people which can cause many complications if left untreated.

Let us kick start this blog with a deep breath and learn more about shortness of breath in the next part of the article.

Shortness of Breath: What your body might be telling you?

All you need to know about shortness of breath

Shortness of breath is considered as difficulty in breathing where enough oxygen does not reach into the lungs. This may result in gasping for breath. The breathing mechanism becomes very difficult and uncomfortable. Shortness of breath is medically termed as Dyspnea.

Shortness of breath occurs when the body is not getting enough oxygen requiring it harder to breathe more quickly and deeper. Not getting enough oxygen can cause many complications to other systems of the body affecting the overall health and well-being.

Types of breathlessness

There are two types of shortness of breath which include the following:

1. Acute Breathlessness:

An episode of breathlessness that has a sudden onset is considered acute breathlessness. This may be due to sudden changes in weather, extreme exertion, cardiac issues related to heart failure, or heart rhythm problems and respiratory problems making it difficult to breathe.

2. Chronic Persistent Breathless:

Persistent breathlessness is also known as chronic breathlessness. This is mainly prevalent in cases when the cardiac or respiratory condition is extreme and cannot be managed well leading to severe and recurrent episodes of breathlessness.

Causes of shortness of breath

The causes of shortness of breath may be medical or non-medical. The causes of shortness of breath are as follows:

1. Medical causes of shortness of breath:

  • Heart conditions such as angina, heart attacks, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythm, and atrial fibrillation.
  • Fluid buildup in the lungs like pleural effusion or pulmonary edema
  • Lung infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Asthma or COPD
  • Lung cancer
  • Blood clots in the lungs
  • Low Hb count
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Allergic reactions such as anaphylactic reaction or urticaria

2. Non-medical causes of shortness of breath:

  • Physical exertion such as climbing stairs or shopping
  • Exercising such as gym, walking, or jogging
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Pollution or exposure to carbon monoxide
  • Living in a dusty environment
  • Inhalation of fumes and chemicals

It is important to remember that there are different reasons for breathlessness related to the heart. If your heart isn't pumping enough oxygen-enriched blood, then the body responds in a negative manner leading to breathing faster in order to get enough oxygen making you feel restless and short of breath. It is important to stay positive about your health while dealing with shortness of breath.

Signs and symptoms due to shortness of breath- What your body is telling you?

The signs and symptoms due to shortness of breath are as follows:

  • Difficulty in catching breath
  • Noisy breathing
  • Gasping for breath
  • Very fast and shallow breathing
  • Labored respirations
  • Feeling suffocated
  • Sudden increase in pulse rate
  • Wheezing
  • Chest congestion and chest pain
  • Breathless on exertion also known as exertional dyspnea
  • Anxiety and panicky feeling
  • Cold clammy and sweaty skin
  • Pale skin which looks slightly blue and cyanosed
  • Dizziness with tiredness and low energy levels
  • Air hunger and working harder to breathe
  • Reduced ability to work
  • Chest pain associated with leg swelling
  • Blurry vision with lightheadedness

How breathlessness can affect daily lifestyle?

Your breathing mechanism is a natural process and should be completely unforceful. Steady breathing makes you feel good and is regular, making your lungs healthy. Breathing is an automatic process and is carried out without any effort. When breathing becomes a conscious effort, it is a matter of concern. The episode of breathlessness can be very frightening especially if you have never experienced it before.

Breathlessness can affect your daily lifestyle. It can make you feel edgy while dealing with your activities. Many people with breathlessness feel frustrated or frightened at times. But, on a positive note, it is important to know that you can cope with breathlessness in the right manner. Most patients with breathlessness may feel overwhelmed, depressed, stressed, and anxious. Do not feel lonely or edgy with breathlessness.

Diagnosis of breathless

Diagnosis and early detection of breathlessness is very important. This is possible under the guidance of your doctor. Here are the important steps for diagnosis which can be done by your doctor.

  • Complete physical examination
  • Checking oxygen saturation levels
  • Detailed case-taking to know about the episodic attacks of breathlessness
  • X-ray scans
  • Computerized tomography scan or CT scan of the chest
  • Electrocardiogram or ECG
  • Spirometry Test
  • Pulmonary function tests or PFTs

Top tips to manage shortness of breath

Here are some of the top tips to deal with shortness of breath through lifestyle modifications. Let's begin!

  • It is important to know the cause of shortness of breath and get it treated in the right way under the guidance of your doctor.
  • It is essential to always sit in an airy room with a fan, AC, or open windows which allows good oxygen support.
  • Ensure to take a regular walk or jog in an open environment early morning or evening which provides you with fresh air.
  • In case of any episode of breathlessness, it is important to find a comfortable position that will ease out your breathlessness such as lying in bed, resting on a reclining chair, or lying down with support on cushions or bed rest.
  • Control your stress levels and stay calm all the time to avoid any kind of breathless attacks.
  • You can also practice some breathing techniques such as taking slow and relaxed breaths right from your tummy with expansion and contraction of the chest wall.
  • Practice mindful breathing with meditation through yoga which helps in deep inhalation and exhalation to improve the functional capacity of the lungs.
  • Take a warm or cool shower whichever is relaxing for your morning and evening.
  • Ensure to sip in water to keep yourself hydrated all the time.
  • Avoid any kind of physical and mental overexertion.
  • Deal with anxiety and worries in a positive manner by listening to music, and gentle stretching exercises.
  • Plan your day according to schedule and ensure to take regular breaks to reactivate yourself.
  • Opt for smaller meals rather than big ones which can make you feel heavy and breathless.
  • If breathlessness is not associated with internal or external problems, your breath will recover after rest.
  • Be open about the breathlessness issue and reach out to your friends and family members.


GS Hospital Hapur, a top private hospital in Delhi NCR, is focused on providing quality care and support to patients with cardiac and respiratory-related shortness of breath. This makes it the best heart hospital in Uttar Pradesh. Living with breathlessness can be quite difficult at times. You need to find the right way to cope with it.

GS Hospital Hapur, the best hospital in Meerut, offers exceptional care and support to all its patients battling with shortness of breath. The hospital is located in the heart of Delhi, NCR, with a team of professional and dedicated doctors who help you to adapt to daily life positively as you battle out shortness of breath related to cardiac and respiratory issues. Shortness of breath can make life difficult to deal with. With the right kind of treatment and lifestyle modifications, you can overcome the problem of shortness of breath.

If shortness of breath continues to progress in spite of lifestyle modifications and treatment, it is important to reach out to your doctor who shall refer you to a pulmonologist or cardiologist for medical intervention.

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