It's hard to breathe, it's difficult: why there is not enough air, the reasons for what to do

You notice when you go fast with an elderly person, he slows you down and says: " I suffocate , can I go slower".Yes, sometimes, for some reason, including the old age, it becomes hard and difficult for the to breathe , for some reason the lacks air .Let's talk about the what to do if it becomes difficult to breathe at home.

In medicine, the state of shortage of air is called " disapnoia "( dyspnea).Dyspnoea should be distinguished from suffocation - an acute attack of lack of air( extreme degree of disapnoia).

Of course, without special knowledge in medicine, independently determine the reason why there is not enough air for breathing, because the number of diseases, including certain physiological states in the norm, causing difficulty in breathing is great.


Why there is not enough air: the causes of

There may be a number of reasons for lack of air, some ofthey are serious diseases of the respiratory, cardiovascular system, others - natural border physiological states.

List of possible diseases, with symptoms of dyspnea:

  1. Bronchial asthma. Oncological neoplasms of bronchi and lungs.
  2. Bronchiectasis.
  3. ischemic heart disease( ischemic heart disease).
  4. Congenital and acquired heart defects.
  5. Hypertensive disease.
  6. Emphysema.
  7. Endocarditis.
  8. Ventricular failure( as a rule, we are talking about lesions of the left ventricle).
  9. Infections of the bronchi and lungs( pneumonia, bronchitis, etc.).
  10. Pulmonary edema.
  11. Respiratory tract block.
  12. Rheumatism. Angina pectoris( "angina pectoris").
  13. Hypodinamy and, as a consequence, obesity.
  14. Psychosomatic causes.

Here are the most common reasons. It can also be about thermal lesions of the lungs and bronchi( burn), mechanical and chemical damage, but in a domestic environment it is rare.

Asthma bronchial

A dangerous disease affecting the bronchial tree. Typically, the cause of the disease lies in the acute immune response to an endo- or exogenous stimulus( allergic asthma) or an infectious agent( infectious asthma).Appears paroxysmal. The intensity and nature of the seizures depend on the severity of the disease and can range from minor dyspnoea( for example, from fast walking) to a rapidly developing suffocation. Regardless of this, the mechanism is quite simple. Lining the internal surface of the bronchi, the ciliated epithelium swells, as a result of the edema stenosis( constriction) of the lumen of the bronchi occurs and, as a result, an increasing suffocation.

Bronchial asthma is an insidious disease, the degree of lethality of pathology is high, at the first manifestations, when there is not enough air, you should immediately go to a specialist and undergo a complete examination.

Oncological neoplasms of bronchi and lungs

According to statistics, neoplasms of the lungs are almost at the top of the frequency of development. In the risk group are, in the first place, heavy smokers( including passive, which means we all, because it is impossible to hide from cigarette smoke), as well as people with heavy heredity. It is quite easy to suspect an oncology if there are a number of specific signs:

  1. Choking( dyspnea) occurs repeatedly, periodically.
  2. Weight loss, weakness, fatigue are observed.
  3. There is hemoptysis.

Only the doctor can distinguish oncology from tuberculosis in the first stages. In addition, at the first stages there can be only a slight lack of air.


Bronchiectasis is a pathological degenerative formation in the bronchial structure. Bronchi and bronchioles( with which the bronchial tree terminates) expand and take the form of sacciform formations filled with fluid or pus.

The exact causes of the disease are unknown, a certain role is played by previously transmitted lung diseases. Very often formed in smokers( along with emphysema).

As ectases develop, functional tissues are replaced by cicatricial and the affected area "turns off" from the respiration process. The result is a constant incessant dyspnea, the cause of which is a decrease in the quality of breathing. The patient does not have enough air to breathe.

Heart Disease

Causes a decrease in the functionality of the organ, a decrease in the flow of blood to the lungs. As a result, a vicious circle is formed: the heart loses oxygen because it can not provide the lungs with the optimal amount of blood for enrichment. Blood that is not sufficiently enriched with oxygen returns to the heart, but is unable to provide the heart muscle with the right amount of nutrients.

Heart, as an answer, begins to increase blood pressure, and more often beats. There is a false sense of lack of air. Thus, the autonomic nervous system tries to increase the intensity of the lungs to somehow make up for the lack of oxygen in the blood and avoid tissue ischemia. Almost all serious diseases of the heart and cardiovascular system: angina pectoris, ischemic heart disease, heart disease, hypertension( without adequate therapy), etc.

Emphysema of the lungs

Its signs are similar to bronchiectasis. Similarly, in the bronchial structure, vesicles are formed, but they are not filled with liquid or pus. Pathological extensions are empty, and over time they burst, forming cavities. As a result, the vital capacity of the lungs decreases and a painful shortness of breath sets in.

It's hard for a person to breathe without enough air, even with the slightest physical exertion, and sometimes in a calm state. Emphysema is also considered a disease of smokers, although it may also occur in convinced advocates of a healthy lifestyle.

Psychosomatic causes of

Bronchial spasm can occur when emotional upheavals and stresses occur. Scientists have noticed that such manifestations are typical for people with a special type of character accentuation( dysthymas, hysterias).


No matter how trite it sounds, for people with obesity, shortness of breath is typical almost always. In the quality of analogy - it is enough to imagine a man carrying a bag of potatoes. At the end of the work - he gets tired, breathes heavily and "sweats later" from intense physical stress. People with obesity carry their "bag of potatoes" constantly.

Thus, answering the question why there is not enough air, the reasons can be different. But almost always they are associated with harm to health and the threat of life.

Not enough air: symptoms of lack of breath

Symptoms of lack of air can not be, because shortness of breath and choking - themselves are symptoms. The difference is that with different diseases they enter into different symptomatic complexes. Conditionally all the complexes can be divided into infectious, cardiac, directly pulmonary.

In infections, in addition to the sensation, as if there is not enough air, there are symptoms of general intoxication of the body:

  1. Headache.
  2. Hyperthermia( from 37.2 to 40 and more, depending on the type of agent and the severity of the lesion).
  3. Pain in bones and joints.
  4. Weakness and high fatigue combined with drowsiness.

In addition, there may be chest pains that increase with breathing. Grimaces and whistles at the entrance or exhalation.

When heart diseases are almost always characteristic is a number of concomitant symptoms:

  1. Burning behind the sternum.
  2. Arrhythmia. Tachycardia( palpitation).
  3. Increased sweating.

All this can be observed even in a calm state.

Typically, pulmonary pathologies and pathological processes are more difficult to recognize by symptoms, since special knowledge is required. Only a doctor can make a true diagnosis. However, you can still suspect yourself of certain diseases.

So, with oncological lesions, the symptoms are manifested by increasing and include:

  1. Dyspnea, increasing with time. Occurs periodically, then permanently.
  2. Weight loss( a sharp decrease in weight, provided there is no diet).
  3. Hemoptysis( caused by damage to the capillaries of the bronchi).
  4. Pain behind the sternum during breathing( both on inhalation and exhalation).

Oncology is the hardest to recognize. Without special instrumental methods, this is completely impossible.

Malignant tumors are easily confused with tuberculosis and even bronchiectasis.

However, bronchoectatic disease is characterized by expectoration of brown sputum( usually in the morning).In the structure of sputum, veins of multilayer pus are observed( necrosis of bronchial structures in the lesions leads to mass death of cells) with blood impurities. This is a very formidable symptom.

With emphysema, the main symptom is a growing feeling of lack of air. Answering the question why there is not enough air in this case, we should say about the formation of air cavities in the bronchi themselves.

Bronchial asthma is relatively easy to recognize. It flows paroxysmally. The attack is accompanied by pronounced suffocation( or shortness of breath).If it does not stop immediately - whistles, wheezing with breathing and expectoration of colorless( transparent) sputum are added. As a rule, the trigger of an attack is contact with an allergen( or a transferred infectious disease, if it is an infectious form).Most often, the etiology of asthma is allergic.

It is even easier to recognize the shortness of breath of a psychosomatic origin. It provokes situations, associated with increased emotional and mental stress. More predisposed to such a "disease" of a woman.

Not enough air: diagnostics

It is necessary to diagnose not a symptom, but a disease that provokes it.

Diagnostic measures include:

  1. Primary collection of anamnesis at internal admission and examination of the patient.
  2. Laboratory tests( general blood test, biochemical blood test).
  3. Instrumental Research( Computed Tomography, Radiography).

Since there are many diseases that are accompanied by the fact that it is difficult to breathe without enough air, the treating specialists can be different: pulmonologist, cardiologist, neurologist, infectious disease specialist and therapist.

First of all, it makes sense to go to an appointment with a pulmonologist, since it is he who specializes in the pathologies of the respiratory system.

At the initial examination the physician establishes the character of the symptomatology, its intensity, duration. When collecting anamnesis, close attention is paid to the following aspects:

  1. Heredity .What diseases were with relatives. Propensities to inheritance have both oncological diseases, and cardiovascular pathologies, and diseases associated with allergies.
  2. Nature of work , contact in the past or present with harmful chemical reagents or other aggressive substances.

At the reception the doctor "hears" the lungs and determines the nature of the breathing. This will help the specialist to determine by sight the alleged source of the problem and make up a diagnostic strategy.

Laboratory tests, primarily blood tests, are designed to identify:

  1. Inflammatory process( typical for infectious diseases and even some cardiac ones).
  2. Eosinophilia( indicative of allergies and, presumably, the presence of asthma).
  3. Oncomarkers( indicators of the oncological process).
  4. High concentration of basophils( mast cells are also allergy markers).

Instrumental methods are very diverse. They include:

  1. Bronchoscopy. Endoscopic examination of the bronchi. Extremely informative and allows you to identify the majority of diseases of the lungs and bronchi. However, with bronchial asthma and heart diseases, it is contraindicated and not informative, and therefore the doctor prescribes this examination only by eliminating asthma and cardiovascular pathologies.
  2. Cardiography, Echo KG - are intended to reveal the pathology of the heart.
  3. Computerized tomography. MRI is intended, to a greater extent, to assess the condition of bones and in general the musculoskeletal system. When it comes to soft tissues, CT is much more informative.
  4. Biopsy. If there is a suspicion of an oncological origin of a shortage of air.
  5. Allergic tests, stress tests - are aimed at revealing the sensitivity to one or another allergenic substance.

If no organic causes are revealed by the results of the examinations, it makes sense to consult a neurologist, since lack of air, as it was said, can be associated with psychosomatic factors.

Lack of air: treatment, what to do?

It is clear that you need to treat not the lack of air, but the disease itself. With treatment alone can not be determined, in addition, self-treatment is very dangerous. If a person has difficulty breathing lacking air, one should consult a doctor so that he or she can prescribe a treatment.

Each of the diseases requires its own approach.

Therefore, it makes sense to talk only about the ways to remove such an unpleasant condition as shortness of breath and choking.

If shortness of breath( choking) is associated with heart disease - should be discontinued from any physical activity of .If the condition lasts more than 10 minutes, even if there is no activity, it is necessary to take a drug that reduces the heart rate. Better yet, call an ambulance.

Dyspnea associated with emphysema, tuberculosis, bronchiectasis, as a rule, is not removed practically anything. The main recommendation is to stop physical activity.

Bronchial asthma attacks are stopped by non-hormonal bronchodilators: Salbutamol, Berotek, Berodual , etc. Constant therapy involves the administration of corticosteroid preparations in the form of inhalers. Specific names and dosage should be selected by a specialist.

Lack of air: prevention

Prevention measures include several general recommendations:

  1. If possible, choose an environmentally friendly area.
  2. Refuse bad habits, first of all, from smoking. If there was at least one person in the family who was diagnosed with a malignant lung tumor - smoking cessation is vitally important. To exclude cardiovascular diseases, alcohol withdrawal is important.
  3. Optimize the diet. Abandon fat, excessive intake of salt.
  4. Maintain a high level of physical activity.

Thus, breathing disorders can be the result of the development of a variety of pathologies. In general - this is a very formidable symptom, requiring immediate reaction. Postpone the visit to the doctor should not be the same as doing self-medication. Only a specialist can choose the right treatment. On the side of the patient, a large proportion of prudence and consciousness is required, since most of the diseases can be avoided by following a true lifestyle.

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