What do Breathing Problems Indicate?

Breathing problems can occur to anyone and at any time. People suffering from cold and flu often experience a change in their breathing pattern for a few days. However, if it lasts for more than 4-5 days it can also be a sign of an underlying disorder or disease. It’s best to consult a doctor at this stage who will be in a better position to get to the root of the problem and keep various disorders at bay. If left undetected these problems can often lead to a life threatening disorder.

Let’s take a look at the different kinds of disorders and which breathing problems are its symptoms.

Bronchitis
The bronchial tubes play the function of carrying air in and out of your lungs. Acute bronchitis can occur temporarily during cold and flu and can be easily treated. It usually lasts for a few days or weeks. However, in extreme cases the bronchial tubes get inflamed or infected and become a chronic disorder.

Causes
Acute bronchitis can be a result of bacterial infection or exposure to substances that might cause irritation to the lungs. These substances include, dust, vapors, tobacco and air pollution.

Chronic bronchitis is a result of damaged air tissue and irritation in the lungs. Smoking is commonly the lead cause of it. Other causes include long-term exposure to dust, fumes and air pollution as well as continual acute bronchitis.

Symptoms

  • Troubled breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills
  • Sore throat
  • Breathlessness
  • Wheezing
  • Body ache
  • Cough that produces mucus

Asthma
A person suffering from Asthma has a narrow or blocked airways, as a result of which they have breathing problems. The airways of those suffering from asthma are sensitive to certain allergens, whenever these allergens or irritants come in contact with the airways, the sensitive area becomes narrow and tight. Severe symptoms may lead to an asthma attack.

Causes
There are several causes of asthma and these causes can also be called triggers. The three most common triggers of asthma are, allergic rhinitis, hereditary causes and bronchial irritability.

Allergic rhinitis occurs when there’s extreme discharge of mucus in the nose or when veins get congested in the nasal cavity. This can cause nose blockage and irritation in the sensory nerves of the throat and nose.

A big cause ofasthma in children is hereditary. Which means that it is a genetic condition passed on to children by parents.

The third cause or trigger for asthma is irritation in the bronchial walls which causes inflammation and eventually leads to asthma.

Symptoms

  • Severe coughing, especially in the morning and at night
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightening
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath during exercise

COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung disease that obstructs the air passages and makes the flow of air difficult. It is a progressive disease and gets worse over time. COPD involves two related diseases namely bronchitis and emphysema. In some people both these forms exist together.

The inflammation of the air passages causing airflow obstruction is called chronic bronchitis. Whereas in emphysema there’s prolonged destruction of the lung tissue, specifically in the alveoli.

Causes
Smoking is the major cause of COPD. About 90% of the reported cases of COPD are a result of smoking. Those with lung diseases experience problem when exposed to air pollutants such as silica and cadmium. People who work at construction sites, in cotton companies or in the coal mines are at a higher risk of developing COPD.

Symptoms

  • Chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest infections
  • Wheezing
  • Airways clogged with mucus
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Lack of energy
  • inability to perform many physical activities

Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts when they are asleep. When left untreated sleep apnea can prove to be dangerous for health. The breathing pauses can last anywhere between 15-20 seconds and can occur innumerable times in one night.

Causes
It usually occurs in overweight males who are above the age of 40. Those who have a large tonsil and small jaw bone are also at risk.

Symptoms

  • High blood pressure
  • Loud and chronic snoring
  • Gasping for breath while asleep
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Restless sleep
  • Morning headaches

Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs. Fungi, virus and bacteria can cause the lung’s air sacs to inflame and fill it with pus or fluid, making breathing difficult. Seriousness of this disease can range from mild to life threatening. Infants and young children as well those above the age of 65 will find it difficult to cope with it because of a weak immune system.

Causes
Chemical or physical injury to the lungs or infection due to bacteria, parasites and fungi are common causes of pneumonia. Cold and flu viruses can also sometimes cause pneumonia, especially in very young children.

Symptoms

  • Chest pain
  • Breathing problem
  • Nausea
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Fever and vomiting


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