Shortness of breath can be a symptom of heart and lung diseases, but it can also be caused by anxiety. According to WHO, 301 million people are living with anxiety disorders in 2019, and anxiety-related shortness of breath is one of the many symptoms of anxiety. This article will discuss how shortness of breath is linked to anxiety, its diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment.
Shortness of breath linked to anxiety
Dr. MS Kanwar, a pulmonologist, explains that shortness of breath does not always mean you have heart or lung disease. Obesity can also be a contributing factor to shortness of breath, as it causes the lungs to work harder to supply oxygen to the body. Dr. Kanwar also notes that shortness of breath can be a cause of anxiety, particularly among young people and often girls. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health shows a strong correlation between anxiety and respiratory symptoms, including shortness of breath.
Diagnostic tests such as pulmonary function tests or radiographic imaging are performed to diagnose shortness of breath since it is linked to the heart and lungs. However, often, these diagnostic tests do not show any results in cases of anxiety-related shortness of breath. In these cases, the detection of symptoms is usually linked to anxiety, and the condition may be called psychogenic dyspnea.
Symptoms of anxiety-related shortness of breath
Symptoms of psychogenic dyspnea include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, chest tightness or pain, dizziness, and feelings of suffocation. However, these symptoms can also be caused by other medical conditions, such as anxiety, allergies, pneumonia, or low blood pressure. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
The first step in treating anxiety-related shortness of breath is to address the underlying anxiety. Dr. Kanwar says that medical professionals may reassure patients that they are fine and that they may give them anti-anxiety medication. Breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and regular exercise can also help improve breathing and reduce anxiety symptoms.
While anxiety-related shortness of breath can be a frightening experience, it is essential to seek medical attention to rule out any serious medical conditions such as heart or lung disease. Furthermore, maintaining a healthy weight and a balanced diet can help relieve symptoms of shortness of breath. It is crucial to address the underlying anxiety and seek help from a medical professional to manage anxiety-related shortness of breath.
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