10 Surprising Causes of Breathlessness

Breathlessness, as a symptom of an underlying medical condition, can indeed be unpleasant and uncomfortable. Various factors can contribute to breathlessness, ranging from conditions like asthma to heart problems.

10 Breathlessness Causes you Didn't Know About
10 Breathlessness Causes you Didn't Know About

Breathlessness, also known as dyspnea, is characterized by the sensation of uncomfortable or difficult breathing. People experiencing breathlessness may feel puffed, short of breath, or winded, with a tightness in the chest and difficulty in breathing.

While it’s normal to experience breathlessness during intense exercise or unusual exertion, frequent occurrences of breathlessness warrant medical attention.

What are the factors that lead to difficulty in breathing

Breathlessness can stem from various factors. Here are some common causes:

1. Blocked or narrowed airways

Frequent sudden breathlessness may indicate an asthma attack, where the airways narrow, making it hard to breathe.

2. Heart problems

Breathlessness can be a symptom of a heart attack, alongside other heart-related issues like atrial fibrillation or supraventricular tachycardia.

3. Panic attacks

Anxiety or panic episodes can lead to hyperventilation, marked by rapid or deep breaths.

4. Partial lung collapse

Tears in the lung surface can trap air around the lungs, causing partial collapse and breathlessness.

5. Anaemia

Low oxygen levels in the blood due to a lack of red blood cells or haemoglobin can result in breathing difficulties.

6. Pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Blood clots in veins, particularly in the thigh, or other blockages like fat or tumor cells can impede airways and cause breathing problems.

7. Pneumonia

Lung inflammation due to infection can necessitate antibiotic treatment.

8. Obesity

Severe obesity can decrease respiratory muscle function, leading to breathing troubles.

9. Cancer

Lung cancer, especially when it spreads to the lungs, can exert pressure on airways, hindering airflow and causing breathlessness.

10. Medical treatments

Lung surgery or certain medications can inflame the lungs and affect breathing.

Mild breathing difficulty may not always be concerning, but if it becomes frequent or worsens over time, it warrants medical attention. If breathlessness is recurrent, it’s advisable to consult a doctor promptly.