Read below about decreased chest expansion during breathing, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your decreased chest expansion during breathing from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

This symptom can also be referred to as:
Can't breathe all the way in

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10 Potential Decreased Chest Expansion During Breathing Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

    Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease in which the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied). This happens sometimes as a result of long-term elevated blood pressure, and sometimes without any particular reason. The thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood.

    Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a life-long condition, as the heart walls are permanently enlarged.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, racing heart beat, shortness of breath on exertion
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Bacterial Pneumonia

    Bacterial pneumonia is the infection of the lungs with bacteria (as opposed to a fungus or a virus).

    1-3 weeks

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, cough, headache, loss of appetite, shortness of breath
    Symptoms that always occur with bacterial pneumonia:
    cough
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  3. 3.Condition Involving Severe Trouble Breathing

    Difficulty breathing is indicative of a serious ailment.

    MISSING

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath at rest, hard testicle lump, blue skin that goes away when crying, severe pelvis pain
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  4. 4.Viral Pneumonia

    Viral pneumonia is inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the lungs due to infection with a virus. Community-acquired pneumonia is the most common type, which is usually acquired in public areas such as at work, school, or grocery store.

    Symptoms begin to improve within a few days.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, shortness of breath, loss of appetite
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Influenza

    Influenza, or Flu, is an infection of the airway caused by the flu virus, which passes through the air and enters the body through the nose or mouth. The symptoms are similar to those of a cold, but the flu is usually more serious.

    Most recover within 1 week but cough and malaise can persist for 2 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, cough, muscle aches
    Symptoms that never occur with influenza:
    headache resulting from a head injury
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit

    Decreased Chest Expansion During Breathing Checker

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  6. 6.Asthma Attack

    An asthma attack is the sudden worsening of asthma caused by a trigger (e.g., exercise or cold air) or infection.

    Within minutes of treatment.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, shortness of breath at rest, tight, heavy, squeezing chest pain, wheezing, cough with dry or watery sputum
    Symptoms that always occur with asthma attack:
    shortness of breath
    Symptoms that never occur with asthma attack:
    blue skin
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  7. 7.Bronchitis

    Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the airways that carry air to your lungs. It causes a cough that often brings up mucus, as well as shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness. It is typically caused by a virus.

    Symptoms resolve within 1-2 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    cough, productive cough, sore throat, wheezing, coughing up green or yellow phlegm
    Symptoms that always occur with bronchitis:
    cough
    Symptoms that never occur with bronchitis:
    nausea or vomiting
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  8. 8.Lung Cancer (Non - Small Cell)

    Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, which usually grows and spreads more slowly than small cell lung cancer. People with NSCLC have tumors in their lungs and may suffer from cough, chest pain, spitting up blood, and difficulty breathing.

    Non-small cell lung cancer is a serious disease, and to assess prognosis a consultation with an oncologist is needed.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    cardinal symptoms of lung cancer like chest pain or changes in breathing, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Aortic Valve Regurgitation

    Aortic valve regurgitation is a condition that occurs when your heart's aortic valve doesn't close tightly. This allows some of the blood that was just pumped out of the lower left chamber (left ventricle) to leak back into it.

    Can be severely acute or chronic.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, racing heart beat, shortness of breath on exertion, shortness of breath when lying down, brief fainting episode
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Narrowing of the Aortic Valve

    The aorta is the main artery that carries blood out of the heart to the rest of the body. Blood flows out of the heart and into the aorta through the aortic valve. In aortic stenosis, the aortic valve does not open fully, which decreases blood flow from the heart.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, shortness of breath on exertion, decreased exercise tolerance
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Decreased Chest Expansion During Breathing

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Do you have a cough?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our decreased chest expansion during breathing symptom checker to find out more.

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Decreased Chest Expansion During Breathing Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced decreased chest expansion during breathing have also experienced:

    • 10% Tight, Heavy, Squeezing Chest Pain
    • 8% Rib Pain on One Side
    • 5% Cough
  • People who have experienced decreased chest expansion during breathing had symptoms persist for:

    • 36% Less Than a Day
    • 24% Over a Month
    • 21% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced decreased chest expansion during breathing were most often matched with:

    • 9% Bacterial Pneumonia
    • 9% Condition Involving Severe Trouble Breathing
    • 5% Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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