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5 Causes of Shortness of Breath and their Treatment

There can be many causes for breathing difficulty; it can sometimes be the result of exercise or a sign of a more serious health ailment.

Lung Diseases By Editorial Team / Oct 15, 2014

Shortness of Breath Causes

Shortness of breath, also referred to as ‘dyspnoea’ refers to the discomfort felt when breathing, or the feeling that you cannot draw breath. There can be many causes of breathing difficulty; while it can sometimes, be the result of exercise, it can also be a sign of a more serious health ailment. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)


Inflammation (swelling and excess mucus build-up in the airways) and airway constriction (tightening of the muscles surrounding the airways) are the two characteristics of asthma. The symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)

Cure for Asthma

As of now, there is no definite cure for asthma but with the right care and medical intervention, most people with asthma can reduce their symptoms, including countring breathing difficulty. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)

Heart Problems

In heart diseases, the heart fails to pump enough blood to supply oxygen to your body. As a result, one of the complications turn out to be breathlessness. Sometimes, heart attacks don’t have obvious symptoms such as chest pain and overwhelming anxiety, but shortness of breath may be the only warning sign you have during a heart attack. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)

Treatment for Heart Conditions

A combination of lifestyle changes and medicines or surgery can help one deal with heart diseases and assist the heart in pumping better. The treatment focuses on stabilizing the condition, controlling symptoms over the long-term and providing a cure when possible. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)

Lung Problems

Another one of the common causes of breathlessness is a problem with your lungs or airways. Airways that have narrowed and are producing more phlegm (sticky mucus) can make you breathless. Pneumoni (lung inflammation) is another cause of shortness of breath. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)

Treatment for Lung Problems

There are certain medicines that can be delivered directly to your lungs, and help relieve breathlessness. Most lung conditions require immediate medical attention. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a medical condition that lowers the lungs' ability to move air in and out of the body. The condition is characterised by inflammation and subsequent damage to various functional structures in the lungs. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are primary causes of COPD. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)

Treatment for COPD

COPD is a chronic condition but treatable. The treatment approaches aim to control symptoms and reduce the risk of future complications. The treatment involves precautions (such as quiting smoking and making dietary changes) to cope with the lifestyle changes this disease brings. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)


Obesity – an excess amount of body fat or a body mass index greater than 30 – can lead to many health problems, including shortness of breath. Several studies have linked obesity with a higher prevalence of asthma. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)

Obesity Treatment

You need to create a long- term plan with your doctor to treat obesity. The treatment approach will involve dietary changes (particularly reduction in the number of calories you eat, eating healthier foods) and physical activity. If you body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher, weight-loss surgery is recommended. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)


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