Relieving Chest Tightness in Dyspnea

Health / Life

Child is inhaling a bronchodilators to treat dyspnea / Photo by Shutterstock


The medical condition for “air hunger” or shortness of breath is called dyspnea. The shortness of breath may be temporary and mild or long-lasting and serious. The chest tightness that one feels is an uncomfortable feeling and it may sometimes not easy to diagnose.

What is the Reason for Lack of Breath in Dyspnea?

Dyspnea is usually related to other health problems. While sometimes the symptoms may be improved by exercise, it can also be a symptom of a serious health condition. The most common causes include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), psychogenic problems, pneumonia, or interstitial lung disease. Anxiety could also be the reason for lack of breath.

The other causes are inhaling something that blocks the air passageways or choking, anemia, allergic reactions, loss of blood, exposure to dangerous carbon monoxide level, heart failure, low blood pressure, a collapsed lung, pulmonary embolism, and hiatal hernia. 


Bacteria pneumonia in the lungs / Photo by Shutterstock


The Known Dyspnea Symptoms

The feeling that you cannot get enough air in your lungs or that you cannot catch your breath includes the list of dyspnea symptoms. Tightness in the chest, air hunger, breathlessness, and unable to deeply breathe are also some of the symptoms. These symptoms may be experienced long-lasting (chronic) or sudden (acute). Acute dyspnea begins in just a few minutes or hours and may be experienced along with other symptoms, such as a cough, rash, and fever.

Chronic dyspnea, on the other hand, can make you feel air hunger even with your daily tasks, such as standing up from a seated position or just walking. The labored breathing is the main symptom of dyspnea.


Coughing is one sympton of acute dyspnea / Photo by Getty Images


Reason to Breathe Efficiently to Reduce Health Risks

Proper breathing techniques offer great significance in our health. One obvious reason to breathe efficiently is that it helps relieves your stress. The other reasons include lowering your heart rate, lowering blood pressure, promotes clear or focused thinking, increases metabolism, supports detoxification, and improves circulation. Proper breathing can also help prevent heart attacks.


Woman having a relax breathing of fresh air at the beach / Photo by Getty Images


What are Some Dyspnea Complications?

Mild symptoms of dyspnea are common to pregnant women because their breathing capacity is reduced by up to 20 percent. However, the respiratory rate or the number of breaths per minute do not typically change. There are dyspnea complications, though, for older people with serious health conditions. The shortness of breath may be treated using drugs, which may cause the person to unnecessary problems.

Pediatric emergency also includes the list of dyspnea complications. Dyspnea is one of the common causes why infants experience shortness of breath. Inflammation of windpipe, inhaling a foreign object, and croup are common dyspnea causes among infants.


Mother putting a bronchodilator on the baby / Photo by Getty Images


Dyspnea Diagnosis and Procedure

The doctor will examine the patient and listen to their lungs. Dyspnea diagnosis may also involve a lung function test or a spirometry in order to measure how much air one can blow in and out of the lungs or how fast the whole process usually takes. This test will also help diagnose COPD and asthma.

The other tests include pulse oximetry and blood test.


Pulse oximeter to test the lungs / Photo by Wikimedia Commons


What are the Different Dyspnea Treatments?

The first part of the treatment is to know the underlying cause of chest tightness or other symptoms of dyspnea. If the causes are having a poor fitness level and obesity, the form of treatment will be exercise and diet. If it’s been a long time that a person has a medical condition limiting their activity level, a part of the dyspnea treatments would be maintaining a safe exercise routine.

Other treatments include cardiac rehabilitation for heart-related causes and pulmonary rehabilitation for lung problems. Maintaining a healthy weight will also avoid health problems. A dietician or a nutritionist can help one plan for the meals and eating style.


Group of people exercising in the gym / Photo by Getty Images