My Symptoms

Difficult breathing (dyspnea): the causes

Different causes may cause respiratory difficulty:

> For a start, dyspnea may have a high origin (larynx), or low (bronchioles, alveoli).

> In a small child who suddenly has difficulty breathing, one of the first questions is whether he would not have swallowed a peanut, or any other small object ...
In a young child, laryngitis can lead to breathing difficulties, coughing, and signs of infection.

> In an infant, bronchiolitis often leads to difficult breathing. This time, the origin is a viral attack of the bronchioles (lower and end of the bronchi). The baby coughs, has fever. This disease occurs most often in December, January.

> A child, or an adult, has an asthma attack that is a narrowing of the size of the bronchi, has difficulty breathing, and coughs. Emergency care may be essential.

> In adults, respiratory difficulty can have very different origins. In the case of pneumothorax (air entry into the pleura), for example, respiratory discomfort occurs quite abruptly, often with a sore point in the thoracic region.

> Breathing problems can also occur gradually, as in the case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The person loses from year to year his respiratory capacities. This can even lead to respiratory failure requiring assistance with oxygen. It should be noted that the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is tobacco.

Most pulmonary or bronchial conditions cause respiratory problems: emphysema, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, bronchial dilatation, pulmonary embolism, pleurisy ...

Heart origins

The other main reason for difficulty breathing is related to a heart problem. The heart acts as a pump that allows the blood to circulate, and thus ensure the gaseous exchange between the tissues and the blood, but also between the lungs and the blood. When the heart pump is working less well, breathing difficulties can occur.

Thus, one of the signs of heart failure is difficulty in breathing: on exercise, in case of moderate heart failure; and even at rest if the cardiac involvement is major. If heart failure is important, edema can occur in the lungs (acute pulmonary edema).

Heart rhythm disorders can also cause shortness of breath.

Other causes

To be short of breath may have other reasons. Thus, an allergy may be manifested by a sudden difficulty in breathing, sometimes with the onset of Quincke's edema. Neurological or muscular diseases can also cause an attack of the muscles of the breathing, and in particular of the diaphragm.

In case of renal insufficiency, among the various symptoms of which the patient suffers, it can be hindered by a difficulty of breathing.

Sometimes anxiety or anxiety attacks lead to breathing problems, a feeling of suffocation ...

You want to react, to give your testimony or to ask a question? Appointment in our FORUMS Respiratory diseases or A doctor answers you!

Read also :

> Heart rhythm disorders
> Pulmonary emphysema: symptoms to treatment

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