How to determine if shortness of breath is the cause of anxiety or heart problems?

shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath is the cause of anxiety or heart problems: The symptoms of anxiety and a heart attack can be very similar, making it difficult to tell the difference. Symptoms of a heart attack can also cause someone anxiety, and that makes the situation more confusing. If someone feels that they may be having a heart attack, they should take immediate medical attention.

What is shortness of breath?

To determine the causes of shortness of breath, first, we need to know about breath Shortness, it is not a disease it is a symptom. It can be a sign of many health issues. Whenever you feel a lack of oxygen inside your lungs or not getting a sufficient amount of air to breathe or feel heavy or tightness inside your lungs, you can tell it’s a shortness of breath. 

breath Shortness for a short period of time is not a big issue but it becomes a serious problem when it comes frequently and becomes life-threatening.  breath Shortness is very common and occurs often in people with some medical conditions such as Anemia which occurs due to low levels of red blood cells, Asthma, Anxiety, Heart or lung problems, History of smoking, Infections, Poor fitness, and Severe obesity.

Various conditions that cause shortness of breath such as:

  • Anxiety: Anxiety can cause rapid or heavy breathing therefore anxiety is the most common reason for breath Shortness. For anxiety attacks, doctors prescribe Xanax 1mg
  • Heart attack: it is also known as cardiac arrest, it is a blockage that stops blood flow to the heart and can cause panic and breathlessness. If you notice this symptom along with other heart attack symptoms, take immediate medical assistance.
  • Heart disorder: in heart disorder, the heart does not work properly, it does not exhale and inhale blood properly. This disorder may cause fluid to accumulate in your lungs, making it feel difficult to breathe.
  • Asthma: in this medical condition airways become narrow which causes asthma and makes it difficult to breathe.
  • Lung disease: when tissues of the lungs are damaged due to some disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can also cause shortness of breath. Tumors, such as lung cancer, can also be a reason for breath Shortness.
  • Obesity: Obesity is a complex disease in which an excessive amount of body fat occurs and being overweight can strain your lungs and can cause breath Shortness.
  • Poor fitness: having poor fitness, due to some medical condition or lack of inactivity can also be a cause of shortness of breath.
  • Allergies: sometimes allergic reactions might cause breath Shortness.
  • Choking: choking is a blockage inside your throat, making it difficult to exhale or inhale air from your lungs.
  • Pulmonary embolism: it is a serious condition in which there is a blood clot inside your lungs. And this condition can also cause breath Shortness.
  • Infection: An infection like bronchitis or pneumonia may produce mucus inside your lungs that blocks airflow to pass through other parts of the lungs. And this reduces the oxygen diffusion to the blood and causes breath Shortness.
  • Injury: some injuries like broken ribs, bleeding, and anemia makes breathing painful and difficult and it lowers the number of red blood cells, which reduces the amount of oxygen carried in the blood and causes shortness of breath.
  • Medication: if you are allergic to some medicine or have taken an overdose or missed some doses then these conditions can also cause breath Shortness.
  • Extreme temperatures: Sometimes sudden temperature changes such as extreme hot or extreme cold can make you feel like you are having trouble breathing and cause shortness of breath.

When a person is having anxiety, (valium 10mg without prescription) it is difficult to tell whether the symptoms are due to anxiety or due to another health issue. And this becomes especially challenging when the symptoms are severe. But the most common symptoms that arise with anxiety are breath Shortness or having difficulty breathing.

Anxiety can show various physical and psychological symptoms such as;

  • Dry mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness 
  • Sweating 
  • Chills 
  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Shaking 
  • Muscle tension
  • Rapid breathing
  • Chest pain
  • A choking sensation
  • Fear of losing control
  • Agitation feeling jittery or frustrated
  • Frightening thoughts, mental images, or memories
  • Poor concentration
  • Confusion 
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty speaking

Anxiety occurs when stress hormones trigger the body’s “fight or flight” response, which causes an increase in heart rate, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

In the case of a heart attack, a blockage in a coronary artery or veins reduces the sufficient amount of the blood flow to the heart muscles which may cause the same symptoms such as chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and breathlessness.

Although anxiety and heart attack has a number of similarities. One of the main differences between the two is that a heart attack generally occurs during physical activities, when the workload of the heart increases, for example, while a person is doing some physical activities or running up the stairs or climbing or cycling whereas anxiety usually occurs at rest.

Another difference is duration, anxiety tends to gradually decrease and resolve on its own within about 20 minutes. But in a heart attack, symptoms can continue and may worsen the condition over time.

Symptoms Comparison Between Anxiety and Heart attack;


  • Headache 
  • Pain that gets better over time
  • Symptoms that resolve in 20-30 minutes
  • Racing heart rate
  • Shortness of the breath
  • Sweating
  • Shakiness 
  • Tingling in the hands

Heart attack

  • Squeezing pain and pressure in the chest
  • Sudden onset or onset during physical exertion, eg- climbing stairs
  • Pain that gets worse over time
  • Pain that radiates to the arm, jaw, or shoulder blades
  • Longer-lasting symptoms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting

Treatment for the shortness of breath

Your doctor will start treatment by physical examination detailed medical history and taking details about the nature of the breath Shortness like when it gets at pick when it gets downer and other additional symptoms such as chest pain, cough, wheezing, lips turning blue, dizziness, and trouble breathing when you’re sleeping or lying down, these all may indicate a serious problem.

After doing a physical exam your doctor may ask for some pathological examination or additional tests such as blood tests, imaging tests such as a chest X-ray or CT scan, lung function tests, or an echocardiogram.

You should visit your doctor if you feel breath Shortness or any other symptoms without any cause or any activity and the current state of your fitness or health. If shortness of breath does not reduce with time and goes along with other symptoms, such as chest pain, you should get to a hospital immediately and consult a doctor.

You can ease or relieve shortness of breath and may prevent it for some period of time by some helpful tips such as:

  • Practice some breathing or relaxation techniques to improve your breathing function.
  • Avoiding inhaling those substances like paint fumes and car exhaust that can irritate your lungs and cause difficulty in breathing.
  • Stop smoking, if you smoke.
  • Stop taking alcohol and alcoholic beverages.
  • Losing weight if you are overweight and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Avoid doing activities when outer temperatures are not normal to your body or when the humidity is high.
  • Avoid doing heavy activities, if you have lung disease or other medical conditions.
  • Follow a healthy diet and consume nutritious foods.
  • Take a sufficient amount of sleep.

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