Dyspnea: Its Types, Causes, Symptoms and Preventions

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If you have ever felt you could not breathe in enough air, you also have a condition known medically as dyspnea or shortness of breath. Dyspnea or Shortness of breath can be a symptom of health problems, that are related to heart or lung disease. But you can also feel temporary dyspnea after intense workout.

Always you should describe dyspnea with grading.

The New York Heart Association and-functional classification applied to dyspnea

Grade 1 No breathlessness.

2th Grade Breathlessness on severe exertion.

Grade 3 Breathlessness on mild exertion.

4th Grade Breathlessness at rest.


Are Such as;


Orthopnea is the sensation of shortness of breath that start when you are in the recumbent position, relieved by sitting or standing.

Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (PND)

PND is a sensation of dyspnea that start when the patient awakes, after 1 or 2 hours of sleep, and is usually relieved in the upright position.


It is a sensation of dyspnea that start when you are in one lateral decubitus position as opposed to the other.


Platypnea is a sensation of dyspnea that start when you are in the upright position and is relieved with recumbency.


The main symptom of shortness of breath is labored breathing. Dyspnea last for a minute or two after intense activity. Or it could be a chronic problem. You also have the sensation of just not getting quite enough air into lungs all the time. In serious cases, you may feel you are suffocating. Bouts of dyspnea also bring on chest tightness.

Dyspnea that occurs after strenuous exercise is understandable. However, soon check your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • shallow breathing
  • heart palpitations
  • shortness of breath after exertion or due to a medical condition.
  • feeling smothered or suffocated as a result of breathing difficulties.
  • Also labored breathing.
  • tightness in the chest.
  • rapid, shallow breathing.
  • heart palpitations.
  • wheezing.
  • coughing.


Causes of shortness of breath are such as:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Asthma
  • A blood clot in your lungs
  • Broken ribs
  • Excess fluid around your heart
  • Choking
  • A collapsed lung
  • Heart attacks
  • A low red blood cell count
  • Heart failure
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Also Pneumonia and other respiratory infections
  • Pregnancy
  • A severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis
  • Sudden blood loss
  • Fluid around the lungs

Some other causes are:

  • Asthma
  • Being out of shape
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and pneumonia
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Heart disease, including congestive heart failure
  • Inflammation of the tissue around the heart
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Scarring of the lungs
  • Stiff, thick, or swollen heart muscle, aka cardiomyopathy


Following preventive measures, you should follow:

  • Pursed-lip breathing
  • Sitting forward
  • Sitting forward supported by a table
  • Standing with supported back
  • Standing with supported arms
  • Sleeping in a relaxed position
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Using a fan
  • Drinking coffee

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes include:

  • quitting smoking and avoiding tobacco smoke
  • avoiding exposure to pollutants, allergens, and environmental toxins
  • losing weight if you have obesity or overweight
  • avoiding exertion at high elevations
  • staying healthy by eating well,
  • getting enough sleep,
  • following the treatment plan for any underlying illness such as asthma, COPD, or bronchitis

Physiotherapy Management

Both acute or chronic type of Dyspnea with acute occurring during 3 weeks and chronic more than 4 up to 8 weeks.

Following Exercises, you should adopt to get rid of Dyspnea:

  • Aerobic
  • walking
  • Cycling
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Resistance exercise training
Sajid Saleem

Sajid Saleem

We struggle over for students of general and medical education. Also, we play an essential role in the acquisitions of knowledge and in intellectual development. In general Education we provide the knowledge and the skills needed by everyone, regardless of their future field and occupation. In medical Education we provide knowledge and skills to the students of medical field. A Nutritionist from our team who is expert in food and nutrition can help patients to choose the right things to eat. He is also writing very helpful content for the students of nutrition and diet.

One thought on “Dyspnea: Its Types, Causes, Symptoms and Preventions

  1. Β· May 31, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    PND is a sensation of dyspnea that start when the patient awakes, after 1 or 2 hours of sleep, and is usually relieved in the upright position.πŸ˜ΆπŸ‘πŸ‘

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