Common Specialities
{{speciality.keyWord}}
Common Issues
{{issue.keyWord}}
Common Treatments
{{treatment.keyWord}}

Shortness of Breath: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment?

Shortness of breath or dyspnea is a discomforting condition where people face difficulty with their breathing. Heart and lung disorders can inhibit the air from getting fully into the lungs and cause trouble breathing. The problem of dyspnea varies from person to person and the duration of this condition can last for about a few hours to a few days and sometimes to about a few weeks.

Most of the times shortness of breath occurs as a side effect of another medical emergency. Aside from heart and lung disorders shortness of breath can occur as a result of anemia, as a result of hyperventilation or because of smoking habits or pollutants in the air that cause irritation. Dyspnea can also occur as a result of chronic conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis and pulmonary fibrosis.

The signs and symptoms of dyspnea include wheezing, chest tightness, fevers, chills, feelings of breathlessness, headaches, muscle and lung pain, fatigue, bloating and swollen limbs (legs).

If you experience these symptoms it is advised that you seek help from your healthcare provider right away, then on consultation with him/her you notify the doctor of your medical history. Avoid smoking and environmental pollutants, do not share eating utensils with anyone and take warms baths.

How is the treatment done?

Shortness of breath or dyspnea can be treated either with medications or without it. If you are opting for a treatment that does not involve drugs then you would have to go for a ‘pulmonary rehabilitation’ treatment method. This method uses an exercise program that is well-structured. The method also uses in combination therapies, such as making the breathing muscles go through a training process where it will learn new breathing techniques. This rehabilitation method is very helpful because it treats the dyspnea condition even in a situation where the actual underlying disease cannot be cured.

Treatments that involve taking drugs include bronchodilators such as atrovent, albuterol, spiriva and serevent. The bronchodilator medications are effective for shortness of breath when a shrinking of the muscles happens and causes narrowing of the lungs. People who suffer from Asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) are often prescribed to take these drugs. Anti-inflammatory medications are given to people suffering from COPD, asthma and interstitial lung problems where there is swelling of the lung airways and as a consequence there is a contraction of the passage. These medications work slowly overtime to reduce the swelling.

People who experience shortness of breath are generally heard to complain that while this condition occurs they feel a lack of oxygen within themselves. In such a situation giving the patient supplementary oxygen support reduces their condition of shortness of breath. Doctors may also prescribe taking corticosteroids, anti-coagulant and diuretics.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

All those who are experiencing dyspnea or shortness of breath are eligible to go for this treatment. Also, patients who are experiencing dyspnesa as a side effect to a treatment of another disease are also eligible.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

People who are allergic to any of the ingredients contained within the medications mentioned above are generally not eligible for this treatment and should consult with their doctor regarding alternative methods.

Are there any side effects?

Patients who have been prescribed bronchodilator medications such as beta-2 agonists are likely to experience side effects such as muscle aches, headaches, trembling sensations, sudden palpitations and nervous tension. Anticholinergics can produce side effects such as constipation, dryness of mouth, headaches, trouble swallowing, heartburn and throat irritation. Theophylline, another bronchodilator can produce side effects such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, palpitations and insomnia.

Side effects of corticosteroids if used for long can cause side effects such as high blood pressure, weight gain, diabetes, easy bruising, osteoporosis, mood swings, muscle weakness and eye disorders.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

In order to prevent any future attack of dyspnea you need to adhere to certain post-treatment guidelines such as quitting the habit of smoking both first-hand and second-hand and losing weight (as that reduces stress on the lungs and heart). Also, it is advised that you try to take precaution against inhaling environmental pollutants.

How long does it take to recover?

Information not available

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Information not available

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of this treatment can be permanent if the patients adhere to the post-treatment guidelines well. Environmental triggers and other lung infections can once again lead to dyspnea.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Some alternative treatment methods include yoga and homeopathy. The homeopathic medications for dyspnea includes Arsenic album for people suffering from asthma, Antimonium Tart and Ipecac homeopathic medication for shortness of breath that is experienced during coughing, Ammonium Carb and Stannum Met homeopathic medications for shortness of breath experienced by people during walking, Carbo veg and Silicea homeopathic medication for the aged and Lachesis and Grindelia medication for dyspnea experienced by people during the process of sleep.

Safety: High Effectiveness: High Timeliness: Medium Relative Risk: Low Side Effects: Low Time For Recovery: Medium Price Range: Information not available

Popular Health Tips

Asthma - What Precautions Should You Take?

MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine, FNB-Critical Care, Europeon Diploma In Adult Respiratory Medicine, Europeon Diploma In Intensive Care, Fellow
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Asthma - What Precautions Should You Take?

Living with asthma can be tough, but not necessarily unmanageable to the point that it interferes living your life to the fullest. It all boils down to being aware of the triggers, signs and all the other relevant details and taking the necessary precautions to keep the asthma attack at arm’s length.

Here is an insight.

  1. Keep your home dust free: Dust which contains irritants like dust mite collect in your beddings, old rugs, and curtains and they cause severe allergic reactions. Wash your bedspreads and pillow covers weekly once with hot water to kill the dust mites. Wear a mask and gloves while dusting the interior of your home. Keep the interior of your house dry so that molds do not form in the dark and damp places like faucets and toilets.
  2. Keep your pets at bay: Pet dander triggers problems of asthma when they enter your respiratory system through breathing. If you have any asthma patient in your home, it is best to keep your home free from pets. You can make a separate accommodation outside your home for your pets. They should not be allowed inside the room of the family member with the asthma problem.
  3. Be aware of your warning signs: Signs such as nose block, running nose, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath are the common symptoms which trigger an asthma attack. You can measure your peak airflow with the help of a meter right at home. Thus, you can have an assessment of your lung function and take necessary precautions to prevent an attack. Keep your anti-allergic medicines and inhalers during the season you are susceptible to asthma attacks.
  4. A healthy diet keeps the doctor away: Your diet is directly related to your asthma problem as certain foods have an immediate allergic reaction in our body even before we understand clearly. Also, there are certain foods that have a magical effect on the prevention of asthma. Recent studies have shown Vitamins C& E, Beta-carotene, magnesium, selenium, flavonoids and Omega 3 fatty acids play a vital role in improving lung function and preventing asthma. Eat as much fresh fruits and vegetables as possible.
  5. A strict no-no to sulphites: Foods that are rich in potassium bisulphite or sodium sulphite may trigger your asthma attack. Both these ingredients are the used for preserving foods for a long time e.g., wine, beer, pickles, tinned or frozen berries, shrimps, etc. Due to the presence of potassium bisulphite, an asthmatic patient may suffer from bronchospasm and other symptoms of asthma attack. Dried fruits like raisins or apricots are also on the list.

Apart from the preventive measures mentioned above, regular exercises and yoga will strengthen the capacity of lungs and help you fight asthma with ease. A healthy diet and stress-free lifestyle is the key to keep this problem at miles away from you!

1878 people found this helpful

Common Breathing Problems - How To Treat Them?

MD, MBBS
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Common Breathing Problems - How To Treat Them?

We rarely take the time to think about the way we breathe. After all, breathing is an involuntary action that begins when we are born and never stops until the moment we die. However, some people find it harder to breathe than others. There are many different kinds of breathing problems that can affect the old and young and thankfully, most of them can be treated and controlled.

  • Some breathing problems are short-term and dictated by seasons while others are chronic and long-term.
  • Having difficulty breathing when you have a cold and a stuffy nose is considered a breathing problem.
  • At the same time, shortness of breath caused by asthma is also a breathing problem.
  • Other breathing problems include sinusitis, allergies and nasal congestion caused by diseases like chronic bronchitis or f chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Breathing problems can also be a result of diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, lung cancer and pneumonia.

Ways it can be treated

To treat a breathing problem, one must first understand and identify the factors triggering it. Avoiding these triggers can effectively reduce the frequency and intensity of breathing problems. For example, not allowing pets into your bedroom can help treat breathing problems caused by an allergy to pet dander. Similarly, wearing a nose mask when outdoors, can reduce breathing problems caused by dust and pollution.

Medication can also help treat breathing problems

  • Antihistamines and decongestants are common medications used to treat such problems.
  • These may be prescribed as tablets to be taken orally or in the form of nasal sprays. In some cases, steroids may also be prescribed.
  • This is usually in the case of sinusitis and chronic allergies. These drugs are intended to be inhaled so as to clear the airways.
  • For people suffering from long-term breathing problems that are triggered by seasonal changes, taking a flu shot can help.
  • These injections reduce the body’s sensitivity to allergens and provide relief in cases of breathing problems.

However, it is important to note that when it comes to breathing problems, one should never self-medicate. What works well for one person may be ineffective for another. This is because unless the medication addresses the cause of the problem, it will not be of any use. Hence, it is important to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis and understanding of your problem. It is also advisable to consult a doctor in the early stages of having a breathing problem rather than waiting for it to escalate.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2941 people found this helpful

Shortness Of Breath - Should I Be Worried?

MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Shortness Of Breath - Should I Be Worried?

When you experience shortness of breath for no reason, you might wonder if there is something to worry. Breathing difficulty (dyspnea) affects around 1 in every 10 adults. The causes are varied, and just like other health problems like dizziness, fatigue, and abdominal pain, shortness of breath too has several causes. While a few are harmless, a few may be the signs of a possible complication. Though a common complaint in adults, it is a tough diagnostic challenge. Being aware of the symptoms will take you a step further in deciding whether or not the breathing difficulty is a cause of concern.

Causes

  • In older people: If you are an older person, then your breathing problems will most likely be associated with a heart or lung disease such as COPD, pneumonia, and heart failure. Other causes include a stroke and cancer. It is advised to consult a doctor if you are experiencing serious breathing problems since the past few days and more so if you see other symptoms. Symptoms to worry about are pain or trouble staying upright.
  • In the young: The common causes of shortness of breath in younger people are usually minor and partially treatable. Shortness of breath may occur due to myofascial pain syndrome. This is a condition in which trigger points or muscle knots occur in the respiratory muscles. Other causes are pneumonia and bad respiratory habits and/or weak breathing muscles.
  • Stress can be the cause: Another common cause of shortness of breath in teenagers and working professionals is anxiety. This is a very significant cause and should be taken seriously because this may not necessarily be a minor problem. Its diagnosis is still reassuring when compared to other medical problems since this can be worked upon with a few techniques.

Should you worry or not?

  • When the breathing difficulty is caused due to an acute condition like pneumonia or a chronic condition like asthma, treating the cause is imperative. Because, when the cause is treated, the episodes of shortness of breath is reduced.
  • Any patient suffering from any one or more of the problems mentioned above can still take a sigh of relief as remedies are available. Various pressure point massages can be performed with proper technique to ease out the trigger points when you are suffering from muscle knots.
  • When it comes to bad breathing habits, old habits die hard. Although changing your bad breathing habits may seem frustrating at first, it is relatively easier to achieve this if taken up with the mentality of achieving a goal. If regular breathing exercises are performed, respiratory strength can be increased. Moreover, breathing correctly has many long-term benefits as well.
  • Anxiety is more of a mind over body kind of thing. Although it may seem tough to overcome, determined and head strong people can find relief if they try.

Ensuring safety first
If you are wondering about whether your condition is serious or not, it is advised to tell your doctor about any persisting symptom. If you have developed any new symptoms such as a chronic wheeze or a cough, fatigue and pale appearance, dry, painful cough and shortness of breath during physical activity, then these are slow and sneaky indicators of an onset of some serious medical problem.

Thus, breathing difficulty occurring often is a reason to worry, and you must seek medical advice at the earliest.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3792 people found this helpful

Chronic Bronchitis - 7 Tips To Help You Get Well!

MBBS, MD -Pulmonary Medicine-Tuberculosis ,Respiratory Disease Medicine , Diploma in Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases (DTCD), European Diploma in Respiratory Medicine
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Chronic Bronchitis - 7 Tips To Help You Get Well!

Are you suffering from chronic bronchitis and are looking for ideal treatment measures? Bronchitis occurs when your windpipe or trachea and your large and small bronchitis within your lungs get inflamed because of infections and several other causes. The condition is considered to be chronic when your cough with mucus is persistent for at least three months. Chronic bronchitis is a condition that falls under the group of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Smoking, inhaled irritants, secondhand smoke, inhaled fumes, and certain viruses are primary causes of chronic bronchitis.

Symptoms
The symptoms and characteristics of chronic bronchitis are as follows:

  1. Phlegm may be produced. The production of excess phlegm indicates that your lung and the lower respiratory tract are infected.
  2. The cough experienced is present on almost all days of the month, for over a period of three months.
  3. The forceful coughing because of chronic bronchitis is painful, and makes your abdominal and chest muscles sore. The coughing is likely to be very severe, and may injure your chest walls or make you faint.
  4. During exacerbations of chronic bronchitis, wheezing may be experienced because of inflammation in the airways and muscular tightness. This, in turn, leads to shortness of breath.

Treatment
The treatment of chronic bronchitis depends on the cause. There is no specific cure for the condition, and its treatment aims at improving your lung function and reducing the symptoms.

  1. Several medicines are used for managing the cough, and for loosening and clearing secretions. In the case of uncontrollable coughing spells, cough suppressants might be prescribed.
  2. Broncho dilator inhalers are used for opening the airways and for the management of wheezing.
  3. Certain nebulizer treatments are also recommended in some cases.
  4. Corticosteroids are used for reducing the inflammation in the airways. These may be used in the form of inhaled corticosteroids, or may be taken orally.
  5. In some cases, antibiotic medications may be required for the treatment of chronic bronchitis. Antibiotics are usually used when there is a bacterial infection, and in people with chronic lung problems, who require antibiotics to be treated.
  6. Home oxygen might be required in extremely serious cases of chronic bronchitis.
  7. In very rare cases, a patient may have to be hospitalized in case of severe breathing difficulty that does not respond to treatment. This is necessary in cases of complications in chronic bronchitis, and in patients who suffer from underlying heart problems.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

1954 people found this helpful

Shortness Of Breath - 4 Most Common Reasons Of It!

MBBS, MD -Pulmonary Medicine-Tuberculosis ,Respiratory Disease Medicine , Diploma in Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases (DTCD), European Diploma in Respiratory Medicine
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Shortness Of Breath - 4 Most Common Reasons Of It!

Shortness of breath, medically known as dyspnea, is the sensation of tightening of chest accompanied by a feeling of suffocation. Most of us would have experienced this while doing intensive exercise, while in extreme temperature or high altitude to a certain extent. But when the breathlessness is severe, it is due to a lung or heart ailment. The lungs and the heart play the most important role in transporting oxygen to our tissues and removes carbon dioxide. And so, any kind of problem in either of the organs can affect our breathing.

Causes:
Numerous underlying conditions can lead to a shortness of breath. An insight into the most common causes are enumerated below.

  1. AsthmaOne of the common reason for shortness of breath is asthma. It is a serious condition in which the passage of air becomes narrow and swells up and produces extra mucus. This can result in shortness of breath, triggers wheezing, coughing and also makes breathing difficult. It cannot be cured but the symptoms can be controlled, and it is also necessary to consult with the doctor to track the symptoms and adjust the treatment.
  2. Carbon monoxide poisoningAnother leading cause of shortness of breath is carbon monoxide poisoning. It is caused when carbon monoxide builds up in our blood stream. When there is excessive carbon monoxide in the surrounding air, our body replaces the oxygen in our red blood cells or RBCs with the carbon monoxide in the air. Appliances that are improperly ventilated and engines, especially in a sealed or tightly enclosed space might allow carbon monoxide to accumulate in our blood stream to a dangerous level.
  3. A hiatal hernia: This is caused when part of our stomach pushes upward through your diaphragm. Our diaphragm usually has a small opening through which our esophagus or food pipe passes and connects the stomach. The stomach pushes up through this opening in case of a hiatal hernia and results in shortness of breath. In most of the cases it can be cured by medications, but in some situations, surgery is required.
  4. Pulmonary embolismIt is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. In 95% of the cases of pulmonary embolism, it is caused due to blood clots that travel to the lungs from the legs or some other parts of the body. As the clot blocks the flow of blood to the lungs, it can also be life threatening besides causing a shortage of breath.

Apart from these conditions, others such as bronchitis, pneumonia, lung cancer, COPD, arrhythmia, hypertension, and many other lung and heart ailments can result in shortness of breath and can lead to dire consequences in certain cases. Thus, it becomes paramount to consult a pulmonologist when you frequently experience such breathing difficulty.

1888 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

I am 42 year male. I am taking budamate 200 inhaler since last two months & my sgpt sgot levels have been on the rise ,is it because of the budamate inhaler?

MD (Physician), MD (Pulmonology)
Pulmonologist, Bareilly
Dear Lybrate user, there is no documented / reported case of liver toxicity with use of budesonide & formoterol (budamate) inhaled drugs. Since you have observed a rising of liver enzymes, it would be advisable to contact your treating doctor and reduce the dose of your inhaler (because all medicines pass through liver and may cause further problem) you also need to contact a dm gastroenterology and try to find reason for liver problem. Wishing you good health.
1 person found this helpful

I am facing chest related issues, short breath, frequent cough and cold and sneezing, low stamina, bi monthly recurring pain in left side of head, I was diagnosed with acute bronchitis 9 months ago and I left smoking then and there. I work for call center and in night shifts. please guide me to the right treatment. I often have irregular sleep due to night shifts. And I am allergic to dust and smoke.

MD (Physician), MD (Pulmonology)
Pulmonologist, Bareilly
Dear Lybrate user, you may be suffering from Seasonal Chest infection. Please get your CBC ESR & Chest X RAY done and you can get proper advice from this platform. Meanwhile you can try steam inhalation to relieve congestion. Wishing you speedy recovery.

Table of Content

What is the treatment?
How is the treatment done?
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Are there any side effects?
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
How long does it take to recover?
What is the price of the treatment in India?
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
Play video
Breathlessness
When you experience shortness of breath for no reason, you might wonder if there is something to worry. Breathing difficulty (dyspnea) affects around 1 in every 10 adults. The causes are varied, and just like other health problems like dizziness, fatigue, and abdominal pain, shortness of breath too has several causes.
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice