10 Common Medical Causes of Trouble In Breath And Its Treatment

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Trouble in breath or shortness of breath is referred to as “Dyspnea or breathlessness” it affects millions of people, especially older people.

There are various causes of breathlessness including medical like (COPD) or non-medical reasons like (excessive exhaust)

However, exhaust due to reaching a high altitude at warm or cold temp is a temporary situation, which can go after taking a rest.

On the other hand, medical situations that enhance day by day and lead to asthma, COPD, and other lung diseases, need treatment.

So today’s post will describe why these causes lead to shortness of breathing In deep, and their treatment.


It is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs that affect the airway and can trigger by viruses, allergies, and exercise (1)

But how does asthma lead to trouble in breath?

In asthma muscles surrounding the walls of the airways get tightened, which causes the bronchi to become narrow and prevent air to reach the lungs, causing shortness of breath.

Apart from shortness of breath asthma has some common symptoms (2) such as:

  • Whistle sound with breathing
  • chest tightness
  • cough with or without spit
  • discomfort on the chest or pain

It is commonly seen in older people, but can also see in children (due to certain triggers like pollen, etc) and adults (due to smoking).

A man is shown with his hands on his knees
Older People Are More Chance To Shortness of Breathing Due to Weak Muscle


It is a disease caused by Microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites, that particularly affect our lungs.

Due to these microorganisms, lung air sacs called Alveoli to get inflamed, and this inflation makes the fluid in our alveoli cause shortness of breath.

Other symptoms of pneumonia include:

It is contagious, that may spread from one person to another person through sneezing, coughing, and air droplets.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory disease of the airways similar to asthma (3)

Smoking is the main factor in COPD, resulting in reducing the airways and leading to dyspnea, cough, and sputum production (4)

People with COPD develop emphysema due to damage to their lungs due to cigarette smoke.

Many people with COPD have trouble in breath (which is one of the common signs of it) due to emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Pulmonary embolism

PE is also a lung disease, caused by a blood clot in the lungs that travel from deep veins in the legs and arms.

Clotting is a natural and normal response of the body to prevent excessive bleeding when we are injured.

PE is a life-threatening cardiovascular condition and shortness of breath may be the only symptom indicative of PE (6)

Other common signs and symptoms (7) of Pulmonary embolism include:


See, our body is stabilized in such a way that it needs constant air to maintain the level of oxygen in the blood.

Anemia is caused by a lack of RBC or hemoglobin in the blood, and that is caused by a deficiency of vitamin B12, Iron, and folic acid.

During anemia, low red blood cells occur, and as we know that RBCs carry oxygen (8)

If the number of RBCs is at a low level, the oxygen demand of the body will not be sufficient, resulting in shortness of breath.

It is common in elderly patients, often due to poor nutrition, alcoholics, and during the menstrual cycle due to blood loss (7)

Heart Failure

Several studies showed that trouble in breath is a common symptom of heart failure and angina (a type of chest pain)

But how does heart failure leads to shortness of breath?

Heart failure is caused by the decreased ability of the heart to fill and empty, producing elevated pressures in the blood vessels around the lung.

And shortness of breath are common symptoms of heart failure (8)

Check Out – Heart Attack: Symptoms, Reason, At Young Age, And More Extra


Extra fat on the chest or neck can make a person have difficulty in breathing, which can also affect sleep.

Obesity is a situation, where a person receives an alarm that their health is now at more risk of several diseases.

A study reported a sensation of breathlessness on exertion in 37% of 30 otherwise healthy obese women.

According to a report in 2020, about more than 2 billion adults (39% of the adult global population) were overweight.

Obesity and lung disease are strongly connected and obesity affects the mechanics of the lungs and chest wall (9)

This effect leads to a decrease in respiratory muscle function and lung volumes, and thus increases the work of breathing (10)

Anxiety and stress

It is a feeling of fear, or worry, it can occur as a reaction to stress, and it can also happen without any clear trigger.

Stress is typically tied to a specific situation. Once that situation resolves, it also goes away.

When a person is anxious, they may feel irritable, and lack concentration. And in severe anxiety, people may go into a panic attack (11)

During anxiety, the brain acts as a fight or flight response, where heart rate and blood pressure increase, which ready the muscle to action.

And can cause a person to breathe more quickly to provide more oxygen to the muscle, result shortness of breath (12)

Also, chronic stress can lead to anxiety and severe anxiety lead to depression.

Thyroid Disease

When the thyroid hormone level is decreased in the body, it can cause hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid.

Hypothyroidism has a wide range of respiratory consequences ranging from mild dyspnea up to severe respiratory issues (13)

Study highlight that patients with hyperthyroidism can experience effort and rest shortness of breath (14)

Hyperthyroidism is also known as overactive thyroid where the thyroid makes a high level of T3, T4, or both, this condition speed up your metabolism.


It is one of the greatest risk factors for most respiratory diseases, including shortness of breath.

Studies showed in their result, that smokers for 11 to 13 years are 2 to 3 times higher risk of developing dyspnea and attack of breathlessness.

Tobacco leaves in the cigarette generate over 4 to 5 thousand chemicals when they are burned, the best known of which is – nicotine.

Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical and high toxicity that contains nitrogen.

Check Out – Is Smoking Cause Weak Eyesight And Blindness?

Other Potential Causes of Trouble in Breathing

These are common medical condition that causes trouble in breathing, and there are several other causes of it including:

  • Bronchitis
  • fever
  • emphysema
  • arrhythmia
  • excessive exhaust
  • sepsis
  • high altitute
  • neuromasuclar disease
  • allergic reactions
  • lung cancer
  • infection like covid-19
  • croup
  • pregnancy
  • ascites
  • being unfit
  • rib fracture


The type of treatment depends on the causes of trouble in a breath.

If it is diagnosed with heart failure, and pneumonia then certain medications and other treatments may be added to relieve it.

If you face shortness of breath even at little work, then you should consult your doctor, who will find it exact reason.

By doing several physical examination like chest X-ray, ECG, nusclear scan, heart function measure, lung function test, etc.

If a person has asthma (asthma can’t be cured, it can be only managed) with an asthma inhaler, medication, and biologic therapies.

In an anemia case, the doctor may suggest increasing iron intake with medication, supplements, and food.

Make sure to avoid smoking, which is a major risk factor for COPD, among other lung diseases.

Down Line

There are many cause of trouble in breathing and one of the common medical condition is asthma, especially affect older people.

However, smoking is one of the greatest risk factors for most respiratory diseases in all ages, include Dyspnea.

All these common causes of dyspnea have several- treatments and can be managed by an healthy lifestyle.


Hello, I'm Sahil bisht, I am a Mechanical engineer, As well as, aspiring blogger with an obsession for health. This blog delicate to people who want to learn in health.

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