How Shortness Of Breath Can Be Life-threatening?


Shortness of breath is a symptom that requires attention and should never be ignored. It is a serious health problem that requires treatment. In medical terms, shortness of breath is known as dyspnoea and it is characterized by the breathing discomfort.

Shortness of breath is considered to be the most important symptom in cardiorespiratory diseases and some other health problems. Some of the diseases that cause shortness of breath are as follows:


Asthma is a chronic and a complex disease of pulmonary airways and it causes difficulties in getting air in and out of the lungs. It is a disease that affects the lungs. Asthma causes inflammation which causes the airways to make thick and sticky secretions which are known as mucus. It also makes the muscles to become tight and constrict. This inflammation, mucus and tight muscles lead to narrowing of the airways and it becomes difficult for the air to get into or out of the lungs.

Shortness of breath is considered to be the most common symptom of asthma and this is because the narrowing of airways makes it difficult for an individual to breathe. People having asthma often feel that they are breathing through a straw. Apart from shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, abdominal pain, and increased pulse rate are some other symptoms of asthma.

Normally, people who have asthma have sensitive airways. Therefore, factors such as cigarette smoking, viral infections, allergies, and exercise can trigger the symptoms of an asthma attack. Asthma is a serious medical problem that requires treatment and it is very important to know how to take care of asthma. An asthma attack can be dangerous and an individual can die during an attack.   

Interstitial Lung disease

Interstitial lung disease is a medical term that includes more than 100 disorders, characterized by the scarring and inflammation of the lungs. The term interstitial lung disease involves a wide range of diseases that involve inflammation and fibrosis of the alveoli, distal airways and septal interstitium of the lungs. It causes stiffness in the lungs that leads to a restrictive type of functional abnormality and affect gas exchange.

In interstitial lung disease,  interstitium which is the tissue through which oxygen from the lung’s tiny air sacs passes to enter the lung’s small blood vessels is affected. A large group of different diseases can damage the interstitium to a great extent.

Whenever an interstitium is damaged, it leads to the reduction in the lung’s normal ability to deliver oxygen to the bloodstream. The most common symptom of interstitial lung disease is shortness of a breath and non-productive cough. At an initial stage, breathlessness occurs the only exertion but as this disease progresses, it can occur during the rest. Generally, the symptoms progress slowly but rapid worsening can also occur.

Also Read: Asthma: Threat to The Normal Life.

Congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure is a serious and complex clinical syndrome which occurs when the heart muscle fails to supply adequate blood flow to the vital organs of the body. As the heart muscle weakens, it can lead to disruption in the heart’s electrical system. This disruption can lead to sudden cardiac death. Congestive heart failure can also cause a problem with the kidneys. As not enough blood flows to the kidneys, it can cause water retention, swelling, and high blood pressure.

The most common symptoms of congestive heart failure are shortness of breath, chronic cough, extreme tiredness, and fluid retention. As this disease progresses, the symptoms can worsen. There is no one cause of congestive heart failure but there are various factors that can damage the heart muscles and makes it difficult for the heart to pump properly. Some of the factors that can cause heart failure are as follows:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Hypertension
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Drug abuse
  • Heart valve disease
  • Alcohol
  • Viral infection


Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that is rapid on onset and it is characterized by the life threatening airway, breathing, circulation problems and changes in the skin. The degree of seriousness of the disease varies from person to person. Some of the symptoms that occur in people having this disease include generalized flushing of the skin, swelling of throat and mouth, changes in heart rate, unconsciousness, dizziness, poor coordination, diarrhea, and uterine contractions. Anyone who is suffering from this disease does not necessarily mean that he or she will experience all the symptoms. But, most often there is an involvement of at least two symptoms. shortness of breath and difficulty breathing is the most common symptom of this disease.

The causes of this disease include food, insect stings, latex, and drugs. Peanuts, tree nuts, fish, dairy products and eggs are some of the cause of anaphylaxis. Non-food causes can include natural latex, bee sting, and any drug.

Share this post with your family and friends and make them aware of the causes of shortness of breath. Stay Safe, Stay Healthy!!



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