Causes of difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath or hard breathing

Emobileclinic Trending Topic : Causes of Dyspnea

Oxygen is important to the survival of human beings. It is a common experience where some have difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath or hard breathing; these conditions are known as Dyspnea in the medical parlance. The presence of high carbon dioxide in the body and the inability of the heart to pump blood do causes cessation in breathing.

The most causes of dyspnea are as follows:

Nose Problem

Several nasal conditions do impair air flow through the cavity. It does not pose as much as a problem as an impediment in the throat or lower airways since the mouth is the alternate pathway for airflow. Most of the nasal conditions that can contribute to the sensation of feeling it hard to breathe are as a result of mucus collection leading to nasal congestion.

Rhinitis is the inflammation of the nasal cavity. The inner mucus-producing lining becomes inflamed and there is excessive amounts of mucus then congest the nasal passages. Viral infections and allergies are some of the common causes.

Sinusitis is the inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. The mucus production within the sinuses drains in to the nasal cavity and when excessive it can cause nasal congestion. Bacterial, fungal and viral infections as well as allergies are some of the causes.

Nasal polyps are benign growths that protrude from the inner nasal lining. It is caused by recurrent infections, chronic inflammation associated with allergies and certain immune disorders.

Deviated septum refers to the displacement of the thin bone that divides the nose into the left and right side. It should lie very close to the middle but can sometimes shift more towards one side and impair air flow through that side.

Throat Problems

The throat is a much large channel than the nose and air flow is not usually restricted significantly in mild conditions.

Pharyngitis is inflammation of the throat. Often the tonsils are also inflamed (tonsillitis) and collectively these conditions are referred to as tonsillopharyngitis. Most of us simply call it a sore throat. It is mainly due to an infection especially in children and a chronic case particularly in adults is often due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Epiglottitis is a condition where the epiglottis is inflamed. The epiglottis is a small flap that closes the airways when swallowing food or drink. Epiglottitis is usually caused by upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) and is continuous with pharyngitis and/or laryngitis.

Laryngitis is inflammation of the larynx, the part of the throat where the vocal cords are located. It is also referred to as the voice box. Most cases are due to infections like with pertussis (whooping cough). A hoarse, raspy voice and sometimes voice loss are common symptoms.

Chest Problems

Lower airway condition that impairs breathing is often described as chest problems since this is where these structures are located.

Tracheitis is an inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) which is most of the time due to a bacterial infection. It is mainly seen in young children and usually arises after a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.

Asthma is a situation where the bronchi become inflamed with exposure to certain triggers and also constrict (broncospasm). It usually arises in childhood and is often linked to allergies. Exercise, psychological stress and airbone triggers like pollen can be a problem.

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi that usually arises with an infection. The swelling of the bronchi walls and the excessive mucus leads to narrowing and restricted airflow. Chronic cases are often associated with long term cigarette smoking.

Bronchiectasis is a situation where the airways widen due to damage and scarring. As a result, the airways are unable to clear mucus effectively which then increases the risk of infections. Bronchiectasis is caused by repeated infections.


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