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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.