Shortness of breath: causes

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Shortness of breath can be quite frightening, but can also be mild. During heavy exertion, such as sports or heavy labor, the body uses more oxygen. When the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygen, it can no longer do its job properly and insufficient blood is pumped around. Shortness of breath can also occur as a result of an allergy.

Short of breath

Anyone who is short of breath feels short of breath and has the feeling that they are not getting enough air. Shortness of breath can be quite frightening, but can also be mild. Shortness of breath is often caused by problems with the lungs. But even without an underlying cause, shortness of breath sometimes occurs in healthy people. This is after heavy exertion. This shortness of breath disappears after some time of rest. Shortness of breath after heavy exertion serves to compensate for the temporary increased oxygen requirement. Shortness of breath usually manifests itself during a moment of exertion and heavy work.

Shortness of breath due to iron deficiency

Sometimes people have an iron deficiency. As a result, not enough new red blood cells are produced. The red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. So when there is a shortage of red blood cells, not enough oxygen reaches the organs and muscles. During heavy exertion, such as sports or heavy work, the body uses more oxygen and therefore does not receive enough oxygen. People then breathe faster to make up for the shortage. Anyone who often has this during sports or heavy exertion would do well to have this checked.

Heart problems

When the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygen, it can no longer do its job properly and insufficient blood is pumped around. This causes a lack of oxygen in other parts of the body. Shortness of breath also occurs. Shortness of breath occurs most often during exertion. This condition is called angina pectoris . During a heart attack , part of the heart muscle dies because it no longer receives oxygen. Shortness of breath also occurs here, even at rest. In heart failure , the pumping function of the heart is reduced. The tissues and organs receive less oxygen, causing shortness of breath.

Lung problems

In pneumonia , the alveoli are inflamed. The alveoli weaken, causing the lung capacity to become smaller. As a result, people have to work harder to get enough oxygen into the body. A blockage of a pulmonary artery is called a pulmonary embolism : the lungs cannot absorb enough oxygen and shortness of breath occurs. Lung cancer also causes shortness of breath. An inflammation of the airways is called bronchitis . This is caused by a bacteria, virus or allergy. Shortness of breath occurs. In emphysema, the air capacity of the lungs is reduced and the elasticity is reduced.

Allergy

Shortness of breath can also occur as a result of an allergy. For example, if you have an allergy to certain pets. An allergy to dust mites also causes shortness of breath. Or for pollen. Pollen is referred to as hay fever, and shortness of breath sometimes occurs. In asthma , the immune system overreacts to everything that enters the lungs, such as dust mites, pollen and pet dander. This causes the airways to become inflamed and shortness of breath occurs.

Psychological causes

Sometimes shortness of breath has a psychological cause. A consequence of this is that hyperventilation can occur. With hyperventilation it seems that one is not getting any oxygen, but the problem lies in taking in too much oxygen. This causes shortness of breath. Hyperventilation is often part of a panic disorder.

Die faster

People who experience shortness of breath, such as when walking up stairs, are forty percent more likely to die within 2.5 years. This is evident from an American study published in The New England Journal of Medicine . Heart complaints are most often the underlying cause of this. If you have shortness of breath, it is advisable to visit your doctor.