Dyspnea Symptoms: Dyspnea Symptoms

What are the symptoms of dyspnea?

The most common symptom of dyspnea is shortness of breath during exercise.

Shortness of breath during exercise is one of the most common symptoms of dyspnea.

It may occur even when you don’t feel tired at all. This symptom is called Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea (PNND). It occurs in approximately 20% of patients with asthma.

Other symptoms include:

Difficulty breathing or wheezing while standing up from sitting down;

A feeling of tight chest pain; and/or

Chest discomfort such as pressure, squeezing, or heaviness.

The other common symptom is dizziness, which may cause falls. Dizziness occurs in about 10% of patients with asthma.

The other symptoms of dyspnea are:

Panting or open-mouthed breathing;

Tightness or fullness in the chest or throat;

Feeling of heaviness, pain or discomfort in the chest; and

Experiencing frequent, sometimes sudden, attacks of coughing or wheezing.

Dyspnea Meaning: Dyspnea Meaning

What does dyspnea mean?

Dyspnea is shortness of breath.

The word “dys-” means “abnormal” or “poor”, and the word “pnea” means “breath”.

Dyspnea is defined as difficulty or discomfort when breathing.

One of the most common symptoms of dyspnea is shortness of breath during exercise.

It occurs in patients with heart or lung problems, such as asthma.

Dyspnea is included in the classification of respiratory disorders.

You can also find this word in the glossary of a book about respiratory medicine called “Greenberg’s Guides: Respiratory Disorders”.

Dyspnea treatment: Dyspnea treatment

How is dyspnea treated?

Treatment for dyspnea depends on the cause.

The specific treatment may include medicines, medical procedures, lifestyle changes, or a combination of the four.

The goal of the treatment is to improve or resolve symptoms.

What are the treatment options for dyspnea?

Treatment may include any of the following:

In some cases, treating the underlying condition that is causing dyspnea is enough to resolve it.

For example, if a patient has a lung infection or narrow airways, it can be treated with an antibiotic or inhaled steroid, respectively.

Other times, treating a disease may not fully resolve the dyspnea.

For example, patients with emphysema may have trouble breathing even after their lungs are cleared of infection. In these cases, it may be necessary to use a lung volume enhancer.

There are some medicines that can help improve dyspnea. For example, fluticasone is a drug that is an inhaled steroid, which helps to open up the airways in the lungs and reduce swelling.

There are also some other types of drugs that can help with dyspnea, such as:

Anticholinergics, which are inhaled drugs that help to relax the airway muscles; and

Theophylline, which is a drug typically used for asthma.

There are also some medical procedures that can help to improve dyspnea. For example, patients who have COPD may benefit from lung volume enhancers. This device helps to strengthen breathing.

Other patients may need a lung transplant.

Some lifestyle changes can also help to reduce dyspnea. For example, an exercise program can increase a patient’s endurance and allow them to do more physical activity.

There are some lifestyle changes that can help to prevent or reduce dyspnea, such as:

Quitting smoking;

Reducing exposure to respiratory irritants and pollutants, such as secondhand smoke and chemical fumes; and

Cessation of the use of illicit drugs.

Anyone who is experiencing shortness of breath should seek medical help immediately.

In addition, those with a history of respiratory problems or who have a diagnosis of a lung disease should make an appointment to see their doctor on a regular basis.

This will help to ensure that any potential problems can be detected early and treated promptly.

Who is at risk of getting dyspnea?

Anyone can get dyspnea, but some people are more at-risk than others. These include:


Those who have had lung disease in the past; and

Those who have been diagnosed with another medical condition, such as asthma or heart disease.

How can I prevent dyspnea?

Some people may be able to prevent dyspnea by making lifestyle changes. For example, quitting smoking is the most effective way to prevent many of the complications that are associated with it.

In addition to quitting smoking, it is recommended to limit exposure to other respiratory irritants and pollutants, such as secondhand smoke and chemical fumes.

It is also important to see a doctor on a regular basis, so any potential problems can be detected early and treated promptly.

What is the history of dyspnea?

Before the advent of modern medicine, dyspnea was sometimes treated with gruesome surgical techniques. These involved opening the chest and massaging the heart.

In the 16th century, the Spanish introduced “trepanation” to North America. This was a technique in which holes were drilled in a person’s skull in an attempt to relieve pressure on the brain.

While trepanation was sometimes effective, it was a risky procedure that often resulted in death.

During the 17th century, dyspnea was sometimes treated with a bizarre medical device called an “electrical machine”. The patient would lay their head on one dish of the device and a technician would shock them with electrical current for about 15 minutes.

The origins of this treatment are unknown, but it is believed to have been popular in Italy. An upgrade on this was the electrical therapy hat, which was a metal hat with sharp electrodes on it.

The patient would wear this hat while technicians shocked them for about 15 minutes. This bizarre treatment was last used in the late 1800s.

Other treatments for dyspnea that have been used in the past include:


Cupping; and


Researching the history of medical treatments can sometimes make you thankful for modern medicine.

Article Sources: Wikipedia and Other Sites.

Sources & references used in this article:

Pathophysiology of dyspnea by HL Manning, RM Schwartzstein – New England Journal of …, 1995 – Mass Medical Soc

Dyspnea in terminally ill cancer patients by DB Reuben, V Mor – Chest, 1986 – Elsevier

The sensations of pulmonary dyspnea. by S Janson-Bjerklie, VK Carrieri, M Hudes – Nursing research, 1986 – psycnet.apa.org

Evaluation of clinical methods for rating dyspnea by DA Mahler, CK Wells – Chest, 1988 – Elsevier

Respiratory muscles and dyspnea. by KJ Killian, NL Jones – Clinics in chest medicine, 1988 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

An official American Thoracic Society statement: update on the mechanisms, assessment, and management of dyspnea by …, ATS Committee on Dyspnea – American journal of …, 2012 – atsjournals.org

The measurement of dyspnea: contents, interobserver agreement, and physiologic correlates of two new clinical indexes by DA Mahler, DH Weinberg, CK Wells, AR Feinstein – Chest, 1984 – Elsevier

Mechanisms of dyspnea by NK Burki, LY Lee – Chest, 2010 – Elsevier

Dyspnea: pathophysiology and assessment by C Ripamonti, E Bruera – Journal of pain and symptom management, 1997 – Elsevier