What are the signs of breathing problems?

Breathing symptoms are common symptoms of lung or heart conditions, emotions, or injury. The medical terms for breathing symptoms are dyspnea (difficulty breathing), tachypnea (rapid breathing), hypopnea (shallow breathing), hyperpnea (deep breathing), and apnea (absence of breathing). Breathing problems may occur in conditions that primarily affect the lungs or they may be present in association with more generalized conditions, such as dehydration or infections.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis) and asthma are common causes of breathing symptoms. Other common causes include infections, such as pneumonia or acute bronchitis. Inflammation can cause breathing symptoms, as seen in pleuritis or chronic bronchitis. Depending on the cause, breathing symptoms may originate from one or both lungs and may be accompanied by rapid heart rate (tachycardia), low blood pressure (hypotension), or other cardiovascular signs and symptoms.

Heart conditions can lead to breathing symptoms, especially in severe cases, such as congestive cardiac failure, in which the lungs fill with fluid because of ineffective pumping by the heart. Anxiety and panic attacks are common causes of breathing symptoms and include rapid breathing that may result in hyperventilation and fainting. Airway obstruction causes breathing symptoms that may include rapid shallow breathing. Lung injury from chest trauma can also lead to breathing symptoms.

Breathing symptoms can be a sign of a serious or life-threatening condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as sweating and severe difficulty breathing, severe sharp chest pain that may be combined with pale or blue lips, fast heart rate, high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), fainting, or change in level of consciousness or lethargy.

Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for breathing symptoms but mild symptoms recur or are persistent.


SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with breathing symptoms?

Breathing symptoms may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the respiratory tract may also involve other body systems.

Respiratory system symptoms that may occur along with breathing symptoms

Breathing symptoms may accompany other symptoms affecting the respiratory system including... Read more about breathing symptomssymptoms

CAUSES

What causes breathing symptoms?

Breathing symptoms are common symptoms of lung or heart disease, emotion, or injury. The medical terms for breathing symptoms are dyspnea (difficulty breathing), tachypnea (rapid breathing), hypopnea (shallow breathing), hyperpnea (deep breathing), and apnea (no breathing).

Chronic obstructive pulmonar... Read more about breathing symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Lungs, Breathing and Respiration


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