Shortness of breath is usually caused by heart or lung disorders. This is due to the heart and lungs being essential organs in the transportation of oxygen through the body. Acute shortness of breath can be caused by any of the following conditions.
Some of the heart conditions associated with chronic shortness of breath include: cardiomyopathy, heart arrhythmias, heart failure, and pericarditis.
Shortness of breath can be caused by a number of conditions including heavy physical exertion, high altitude, or extreme temperatures. However, there are a number of indicators that breathlessness is a symptom of a more serious medical issue. Persistent shortness of breath or sudden and severe breathlessness may indicate a more serious issue. Breathlessness while at rest or lying down or extreme or out of the ordinary shortness of breath from physical activity are also warning signs. Furthermore if breathlessness is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, medical attention should be sought.
Treatment will depend on the underlying root cause of the breathlessness. For example, if the shortness of breath is due to heart failure, the patient may be treated with fluid pills, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, digoxin and beta blockers, as well as the treatment to improve the heart function. Similarly, if it is due to asthma or lung disease, medications will be prescribed to reduce the inflammation and spasm of the bronchi. Patients can take care to improve breathlessness by avoiding smoking, avoiding exposure to allergens, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and taking medications as prescribed.