Breathing Difficulties: Overview, Causes & Symptoms
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What causes shortness of breath? 180 possible conditions

Breathing difficulty is a broad term that is used to describe discomfort when breathing, and the feeling that you cannot draw a breath. This can develop gradually, or your breathing may suddenly become more labored. Breathing difficulties make you feel as... Read more

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

Emphysema

Emphysema is a lung disease that, along with chronic bronchitis, represents a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Lack of oxygen may give skin and lips a bluish hue.

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2

Asthma Overview

Learn about asthma. Explore the types of asthma and read information about their symptoms, causes and treatments. Continue reading!

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3

Choking Adult Or Child Over 1 Year

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Choking occurs when an object, food, or liquid becomes lodged in the throat. Emergency signs of choking include the inability to speak, cough, or breathe. Lips may start to turn blue from lack of oxygen.

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4

Heart Attack Overview

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

A clot blocks the blood flow to the heart (heart attack), and damages heart muscle. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, and a blue or grey tinge to the skin.

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5

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic condition that affects the chambers of your heart. CHF refers to fluid buildup around your heart.

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6

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. General symptoms include chest pain, fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

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7

Anaphylaxis

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Anaphylaxis can occur when you have a severe reaction to certain allergens. Learn what the symptoms are and what to do if this happens.

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8

Pneumothorax (Collapsed Lung)

Pneumothorax, or collapsed lung, occurs when air is trapped in the space around your lungs. Learn about the types of pneumothorax and the treatment for it.

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9

Abnormal Heart Rhythms

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

An abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) is a change in the heart's beating pattern. There are many different types with different causes and effects. Possible symptoms are feeling faint, chest pain, and sweating.

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10

Pulmonary Edema

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Pulmonary edema is a condition in which the lungs fill with fluid. When this occurs, the body struggles to get enough oxygen, often resulting in breathlessness, coughing, excessive sweating, and bluish skin or lips.

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11

Lung Cancer Overview

Lung cancer is a cancer that originates in the lungs. Lung cancer often goes undetected in the early stages, since symptoms don't usually present themselves until the advanced stages of the disease.

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12

Congestive (Dilated) Cardiomyopathy

Congestive cardiomyopathy, also known as dilated cardiomyopathy, is characterized by a weak primary pumping chamber in the heart. Your heart automatically attempts to correct for this inefficiency. In turn, thi...

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13

Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis causes symptoms like chronic coughing, coughing up blood, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Read about treatment options.

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14

Deviated Septum

The nasal septum is a thin structure, separating the two sides of the nose. If it is not in the middle of the nose, then it is deviated.

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15

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is your body's response to specific allergens. It causes uncomfortable symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes.

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16

Head Injury

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

A head injury is an injury to your brain, skull, or scalp. All head injuries should be treated seriously and assessed by a doctor.

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17

Epiglottitis

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Epiglottitis is characterized by inflamed tissue in your epiglottis. It's a potentially life-threatening illness. The epiglottis is at the base of the tongue.

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18

Empyema

An empyema is a condition in which pus collects in the pleural space, which is the area between your lungs and the inner surface of your chest wall.

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19

Respiratory Acidosis

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Respiratory acidosis occurs when the lungs cannot remove enough of the CO2 produced by the body. It is typically caused by an underlying condition.

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20

Chronic Bronchitis

People often develop acute bronchitis after a viral chest infection. Blue-colored lips ankle or foot swelling can result.

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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