What are the Causes of Shortness of Breath and Cough?

Man with Shortness of Breath Symptoms

Shortness of breath (dyspnea), in some cases, is a very common issue. During aerobics or any other heavy exercising period, you may experience shortness of breath to a mild degree.

The best course of action to do then is to rest. However, if you are experiencing a sudden shortness of breath or shortness of breath and cough, then there may be a severe underlying issue.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of different reasons why a sudden shortness of breath may occur. This can make it confusing to perform a self-diagnosis and tell your doctor of your symptoms with a possible reason.

If you are wondering what are the causes of shortness of breath and cough, then continue reading for more information to ultimately find out if you require shortness of breath testing.

Chest Muscle & Wall Diseases

There are multiple diseases of the nervous system and muscles that can result in shortness of breath and cough by impeding the body’s ability to open up the lungs to work properly.

One notable example of a muscle disease that can disrupt normal respiration is muscular dystrophy. This disorder includes a wide range of diseases that weakens and eliminates muscle mass.

This, ultimately, weakens the lungs and can cause a sudden shortness of breath that can become a chronic issue. In addition, nervous system diseases like paralysis can cause shortness of breath and cough.

Heart Diseases

The heart and the lungs work in sync to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body. As such, when there is an issue with one of these systems, the other will be affected. This is commonly why people who experience a heart attack have extreme shortness of breath.

The heart pumps blood through the lungs. The lungs rely on this flow to function properly. If there is an issue with the heart, the lungs may lose the capacity to work normally.

Chronic heart diseases like congestive heart failure and valve diseases can contribute to shortness of breath and cough.

Lung Tissue Diseases

There is a wide variety of lung tissue diseases, ranging from temporary to common, from chronic to uncommon. This includes infections such as, viruses, bacteria, acute bronchitis, pneumonia, cancers that have spread to the lungs, radiation and chemical lung toxicity, fungus infections, allergic reactions, and many others.

Airflow Obstructions

Blockage to airflow can take place anywhere along the narrow passageway of the air we breathe from our lungs to our nose or mouth. Sudden obstruction to the airways can cause choking. If the obstructions aren’t removed, then they can cause shortness of breath and cough.

What Else Causes Shortness of Breath and Cough?

There are other maladies that can cause sudden shortness of breath. These health issues include:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia (also pneumothorax)
  • Anemia
  • Lung Cancer
  • Inhalation injury
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Anxiety
  • COPD
  • High altitude with lower oxygen levels
  • congestive heart failure
  • Arrhythmia
  • Allergic reaction
  • Anaphylaxis
  • subglottic stenosis
  • interstitial lung disease
  • Obesity
  • Tuberculosis
  • Epiglottitis
  • Emphysema,
  • pulmonary fibrosis
  • pulmonary artery hypertension
  • Pleurisy
  • Croup
  • Polymyositis
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Sarcoidosis
  • rib fracture
  • carbon monoxide poisoning
  • aerobic exercise.

Shortness of breath and cough can also be associated with the following health conditions:

  • neck pain
  • heart palpitations
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • chest tightness and pain
  • chest injury
  • bloody sputum

When is Shortness of Breath Testing Necessary

As you can see, there are many causes for sudden shortness of breath. If you are experiencing a variety of the conditions above, then you should contact your local healthcare provider. It’s often better to be safe than sorry by signing up for shortness of breath testing to receive peace of mind.

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