Difficulty breathing

Also known as Breathing stopped, Can't breathe, Labored breathing, Heavy breathing, Respiratory distress, Trouble breathing, Dyspnea On Exertion, and Exertional Dyspnea

Respiratory distress is a medical term that refers to both difficulty in breathing, and to the psychological experience associated with such difficulty, even if there is no physiological basis for experiencing such distress. The physical presentation of respiratory distress is generally referred to as labored breathing, while the sensation of respiratory distress is called shortness of breath or dyspnea. Respiratory distress occurs in connection with various physical ailments, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, a serious reaction to various forms of injuries to the lung, and infant respiratory distress syndrome, a syndrome in premature infants caused by developmental insufficiency of surfactant production and structural immaturity in the lungs.

Source: Wikipedia

What causes it?

The most common causes of difficulty breathing are asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd), and common cold. Other possible causes, such as acute bronchitis, are more rare.

What symptoms are related?

Within all the people who go to their doctor with difficulty breathing, 60% report having cough, 43% report having sharp chest pain, and 39% report having shortness of breath.


What might my doctor prescribe?

Common Tests and Procedures

Patients with difficulty breathing often receive radiographic imaging procedure, plain x-ray, hematologic tests, complete blood count, electrocardiogram, intravenous fluid replacement, kidney function tests and glucose measurement .

Common Medications

The most commonly prescribed drugs for patients with difficulty breathing include ipratropium, combivent, prednisolone, dopamine, vitamin k 1 (mephyton), cefepime, cefotaxime, poractant, vecuronium, norepinephrine, ceftazidime, phenylephrine nasal and methacholine .

Who is at risk?

Groups of people at highest risk for difficulty breathing include age 75+ years, age 1-4 years and age < 1 years.

Age

< 1 years
2.7x
1-4 years
1.6x
5-14 years
0.9x
15-29 years
0.6x
30-44 years
0.7x
45-59 years
0.8x
60-74 years
1.1x
75+ years
1.5x

Sex

Male
1.1x
Female
0.9x

Race/Ethnicity

Black
1.0x
Hispanic
0.9x
White
1.0x
Other
0.8x
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