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When should I be concerned about shortness of breath?

India to get new heart attack management programme

Shortness of breath is a symptom where patients develop breathing difficulties. The possible causes for shortness of breath are lungs or respiratory diseases, heart diseases, or other diseases related to psychology such as anxiety or panic attacks. Difficulty in breathing is not normal and if you experience this, please see a doctor. Normal and healthy individuals will not experience shortness of breath. Although the symptom is not frequent, if you have it, please go for a medical check-up. Diseases that are caused by psychology-related factors like anxiety are curable. All of us should be health-conscious and pay more attention to our health. Regular health screening is one of the ways to stay proactive in managing our health. 

  The example of heart diseases are:

  1. Coronary heart disease
  2. Valvular heart disease
  3. Infective endocarditis
  4. Pancarditis
  5. Septal defect
  6. Congestive heart failure
  7. Rheumatic heart disease

 The example of airway diseases are:

  1. Bronchial asthma
  2. Chronic obstructive airway disease
  3. Lung malignancy
  4. Tuberculosis
  5. Pneumonia
  6. Coronavirus disease (COVID 19)
  7. Pneumothorax
  8. Pleural effusion
  9. Hemothorax

 Other diseases that may cause shortness of breath:

  1. Allergic reaction
  2. Anxiety
  3. Panic attack
  4. Diabetic ketoacidosis
  5. Chronic liver disease
  6. Ingestion of foreign body that obstructs the airway
  7. Anemia

 Diabetic ketoacidosis is a complication of diabetes mellitus which is characterized by high blood sugar level, high blood ketone, and acidotic arterial blood or low bicarbonate level. Poor compliance with medications, no proper medical intervention, infections, and poor compliance with diabetic diet are a few reasons why diabetic patients may develop this complication. Allergy reactions may cause swelling of your airways and cause a blockage. An allergic reaction is not only characterized by itching or swelling of external body parts as it may cause internal structure swelling especially the upper respiratory tract.

 Coronary heart disease is a condition where the blood vessels supplying your heart are blocked. The blood vessels supplying your heart are small, hence small blocks may cause serious problems and lead to death. A high level of cholesterol in your blood will result in fat plaque formation within the blood vessels of the heart. This plaque will cause a partial blockage. Later, the plaque will burst and the body will wrongly interpret that as internal bleeding and will start forming large plaque. A bigger plaque will cause complete blockage and the heart will slowly die and fails.

   The more risk factors, the higher the percentage of a person to suffer from certain illnesses. There are two types of risk factors which are modifiable risk factors and non-modifiable risk factors. Modifiable risk factors are something you can intervene and alter for betterment, while non-modifiable risk factors are factors you can’t do anything to change them.


The threat factors for heart disease are:

  • Obesity or overweight
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Male
  • Family history
  • High-fat diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Stressful life
  • Unbalanced diet
  • Smoking

  Males are at higher risk to suffer coronary heart sickness compared to females because of hormonal factors. Higher estrogen in women has a protective effect. However, after menopause, the risk to develop coronary heart disease is equal in both genders. Coronary heart disease is also a long term complication of diabetes. Poor blood sugar control among diabetic patients will induce fat deposition within arteries. This includes the coronary arteries that supply the heart.


 Asthma is a chronic condition that usually starts early in life and diagnosis is often made around 7-12years of age. Asthma has no absolute cure which means individuals with asthma are always at risk of developing both symptoms and subsequently developing any complications if not treated.

  Prevention is better than cure. That phrase is the key to maintaining your health and in dealing with asthma. Asthma patients must avoid all the identified triggers to prevent them from developing any sudden asthma attack. The triggers for an asthma attack are pet dander, pollen, dust, smokes from cigarette or vehicle, some fruits or food, and airway infections.

Atticus Bennett: Atticus, a sports nutritionist, provides dietary advice for athletes, tips for muscle recovery, and nutrition plans to support peak performance.