Having trouble breathing? This information might help

It's tough to make most of life unless you’re able to breathe correctly. If you are faced with a difficulty in breathing, it is a good idea to put finger on the problem as soon as you can. Understanding whether you are experiencing something as innocuous as common cold or as hazardous as a heart failure can be challenging. We will help you uncover the facts about your situation with consolidated advice from a variety of internationally recognized sources.

Where should you begin? Start with analyzing the trigger.

If you're feeling that you are not getting enough air, don't ignore it. If it begins right after a strenuous physical activity, stress, exposure to dust and stuffed nose, it is likely to be a mild condition which still requires medical attention. However, if you're experiencing severe chest discomfort and shortness of breath in abrupt spells, it might be a pre-indication to a serious ailment. Predominantly, a serious breathing condition is a result of some kind of lung, airway or heart anomaly.

Here's a quick look at some of these conditions:

Asthma: Symptoms include wheezing, coughing and tightness of chest. This is caused by inflammation of airways.

Bronchitis: Associated with incessant cough, fever, sore throat, wheezing and chest tightening, bronchitis, this condition is caused by irritation to the bronchial tubes.

Pneumonia: Manifested by chest pain, shortness of breath, muscle ache and coughing, pneumonia is the outcome of a kind of bacterial infection of lungs.

Sleep Apnea: Commonly indicated by loud snoring, choking during sleep, lack of concentration and extreme sleepiness during daytime. It involves blockage of airway during sleep causing breathing pauses.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Indications include chronic cough, wheezing, fatigue, headaches and chest tightness. COPD is a combination of progressive lung diseases which make breathing difficult over time.

Pulmonary Embolism: Another serious disorder with signs such as excessive sweating, unusual heart rate, chest pain, wheezing and in some cases, swelling of a body part such as leg. Occurs when a blood clot travels from a body part to a lung artery resulting in restrained oxygen supply among other complications.

Heart Diseases: Conditions related to the heart generally caused by artery damage, structural defects and heart rate disorders may also cause severe breathing problems.

Epiglottitis: Typical indications entail mouth drooling, difficulty in swallowing, intense throat soreness, peculiar breathing pattern and sounds. A medical emergency in most cases, epiglottitis implicates swelling of epiglottis, a tissue that wraps the windpipe.

What to do in case you're facing these indications?

Experiencing the above symptoms does not necessarily mean that you're suffering from one of the listed diseases but it's imperative to seek expert medical intervention without delay. Your doctor will examine you, study your symptoms and ask a few questions before charting a calculated course of action. And if considered crucial by your physician, some tests such as chest X-ray, CT scan, pulmonary function testing, pulse oximetry and blood tests will help in diagnosing and treating your condition more accurately.

Treatment Options

Altering Lifestyle: Not all breathing problems require medication. Your breathing discomfort might be a result of an allergic reaction which might get subdued just by avoiding exposure to irritants, wearing a mask and restricting dust build-up around yourself. Meditation and exercise might also prove to be quite beneficial in case of stress and anxiety induced breathing problems

Reducing Weight: Some breathing conditions are tightly linked with obesity. With a realistic weight loss plan under the supervision of your physician, it is possible to treat several respiratory disorders. In particular, weight control can prove to be highly beneficial for sleep apnea patients

Further Diagnostic Testing: Ask your physician for a sleep test. These tests collect data of breathing patterns and concurrent vital signs through overnight sleep laboratory visits or home stays. The results may suggest you are a candidate for specialized device such as a CPAP, APAP or in extreme cases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), long term oxygen therapies

Medication: There are various highly advanced medications developed to treat or manage all kinds of breathing difficulties. If it's a mild condition caused by some kind of allergy, your doctor is likely to prescribe decongestants, inhaled steroids and antihistamines which will help bring down the inflammation of airways. And if your condition is a serious disorder associated with your lungs or heart, then the doctors will order for medications or breathing support equipment dependent on your unique needs. In case of chronic disorders or diseases which have no cure, the healthcare provider's primary focus is to keep the impact to a minimum and ensuring an acceptable quality of life.

Surgery: For serious conditions, surgery may be the right answer to relieve you of symptoms from blockages, and altering the size of the airway may be necessary in order to clear the blockage

How can you minimize the risk of developing a breathing problem?

Damage done to the intricate mechanism of lungs is quite often irreversible. It is important to know how you can preserve them and reduce the risk of developing a breathing problem. Here are things you can do:

  • Getting medical care as soon as you encounter warning signs
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Keeping your weight under control
  • Avoiding exposure to irritants and dust
  • Incorporating lung-related exercise into your workout regimen

In addition, it is advisable to try finding out from your physician if your mild breathing discomfort requires the use of any respiratory support device as prevention. Products such as CPAP, VPAP or oxygen concentrators not only play a vital role in managing and treating a respiratory disease, but they can also help in preventing one if detected at an early stage.

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