Smoking Causes Shortness of Breath

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SOB is when breathing is related to the body’s demand of oxygen, that is to say when the supply of oxygen to the lungs is less than the demand and carbon dioxide is more than oxygen in the body.

Defined as an uncomfortable sensation of difficult breathing, SOB is an abnormal or uncomfortable breathing in the context of what is normal for a person according to his or her level of fitness and exertion threshold for breathlessness.


It can be caused by heart problems – congestive heart failure– when there is too much water in the heart, making the heart muscles to be stretched such that it cannot adequately circulate the blood flow well through the heart and to the rest of the body.

During such development the heart retains more blood/fluid than is necessary to maintain an adequate flow.

Similarly, it can be caused when there is an infarction (heart attack as we know it) affecting an effective flow of blood, and when the heart valves are not functioning well thereby not pumping the heart well while the heart will retain more fluid than needed.

Other factors that can cause SOB is when the lungs are diseased from too much smoking and asthma attack which narrows the breathing tubes–(bronchioles).

Among the causes are inherited lung disease, infections like pneumonia, abscesses, and lung puncture from trauma/accidents that allow regular air (unfiltered air) to get into the lungs directly through the rib cage. In addition, the cause of SOB can be neurological.

 This happens when the nerves especially those nerves that control the breathing tubes in the body are damaged or weakened from diseases.

Furthermore, psychiatric cases like anxiety, panic attack, incidents of breathing too fast without resting (hyperventilation) and also when the electrolytes (chemicals that help the body function is out of balance have been found to cause SOB. Anemia: Lack of enough oxygenated blood can cause rapid breathing.

This is more common in people with chronic (long term) anaemia like sickle cell carriers and people with autoimmune disease (where one’s own body cells are fighting each other). Types: Shortness of breath can happen upon exertion (with activity) and at rest.

 When it happens upon exertion, some tests can be done to know the source. An ultrasound of the heart (2D ECHOCARDIGRAM) needs to be done to assess the functioning of the valves and to know the percentage/strength of the heart valves, and a stress test where the breathing and heart rate is measured while on a treadmill is done to assess breathing problems.

If the problem is from the lungs, spirometry test is done to assert if the damage is with breathing in air or breathing out/ or with retention of air in the lungs.

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