First Time Occurrence of Shortness-of-breath Symptoms & Causes

Understand first time occurrence of shortness-of-breath symptoms, including 10 causes & common questions.

This symptom can also be referred to as: first time dyspnea

First Time Occurrence Of Shortness-Of-Breath Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your first time occurrence of shortness-of-breath

Contents

  1. 10 Possible Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics
  4. Related Articles

10 Possible First Time Occurrence Of Shortness-Of-Breath Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced first time occurrence of shortness-of-breath. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Condition causing abnormal, high-pitched breathing

High-pitched inhaling is called stridor, and requires urgent referral to the ER to see why it's happening

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: high-pitched breathing, severe pelvis pain, arm weakness, loss of vision, chest pain

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Bacterial pneumonia

Bacterial pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by one of several different bacteria, often Streptococcus pneumoniae. Pneumonia is often contracted in hospitals or nursing homes.

Symptoms include fatigue, fever, chills, painful and difficult breathing, and cough that brings up mucus. Elderly patients may have low body temperature and confusion.

Pneumonia can be a medical emergency for very young children or those over age 65, as well as anyone with a weakened immune system or a chronic heart or lung condition. Emergency room is only needed for severe cases or for those with immune deficiency.

Diagnosis is made through blood tests and chest x-ray.

With bacterial pneumonia, the treatment is antibiotics. Be sure to finish all the medication, even if you start to feel better. Hospitalization may be necessary for higher-risk cases.

Some types of bacterial pneumonia can be prevented through vaccination. Flu shots help, too, by preventing another illness from taking hold. Keep the immune system healthy through good diet and sleep habits, not smoking, and frequent handwashing.

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

Asthma attack

Asthma attack is also called asthma exacerbation. An attack causes the muscles of the airways to contract, the tissues to swell and produce mucus, and the bronchial tubes in the lungs to become narrow. This makes breathing very difficult.

Asthma is caused by an immune system that is too easily triggered by environmental factors, such as an upper respiratory infection (a cold or the flu;) tobacco smoke; dust; pets; cold air; and stress.

Most susceptible are those with repeated attacks, since the constant inflammation tends to cause further episodes.

Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, severe shortness of breath, chest tightness, chest pain, and inability to speak due to breathlessness.

A severe asthma attack is a life-threatening medical emergency. If the symptoms do not quickly respond to treatment with a fast-acting (rescue) inhaler, take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Treatment involves preventing colds, getting flu shots, and working with the medical provider to create a written set of instructions for whenever an attack might break out.

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

Pulmonary embolism

An embolus is a blood clot that forms in the bloodstream, breaks loose, and is carried by the blood to become lodged elsewhere in the circulatory system. If this clot (embolus) blocks part of the bloodstream in the lungs (pulmonary system,) this condition is called pulmonary embolis...

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Viral pneumonia

Viral pneumonia, also called "viral walking pneumonia," is an infection of the lung tissue with influenza ("flu") or other viruses.

These viruses spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Those with weakened immune systems are most susceptible, such as young children, the elderly, and anyone receiving chemotherapy or organ transplant medications.

Symptoms may be mild at first. Most common are cough showing mucus or blood; high fever with shaking chills; shortness of breath; headache; fatigue; and sharp chest pain on deep breathing or coughing.

Medical care is needed right away. If not treated, viral pneumonia can lead to respiratory and organ failure.

Diagnosis is made through chest x-ray. A blood draw or nasal swab may be done for further testing.

Antibiotics do not work against viruses and will not help viral pneumonia. Treatment involves antiviral drugs, corticosteroids, oxygen, pain/fever reducers such as ibuprofen, and fluids. IV (intravenous) fluids may be needed to prevent dehydration.

Prevention consists of flu shots as well as frequent and thorough handwashing.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: fatigue, headache, cough, shortness of breath, loss of appetite

Urgency: Primary care doctor

First Time Occurrence Of Shortness-Of-Breath Symptom Checker

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Congestive heart failure

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart is no longer able to effectively pump blood to the rest of the body. Heart failure can affect the right side, left side, or both sides of the heart. It can be subcategorized as "heart failure with preserved ejection f...

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Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) characterized by a rapid rate and irregular rhythm that feels like the heart is quivering. It can lead to chest discomfort, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and the formation of blood clots, which can cause...

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Collapsed lung (pneumothorax)

A pneumothorax occurs when air or gas leaks into the space (called the pleural space), separating the lung from the chest wall. It puts pressure on the lung, causing the lung to collapse.

Symptoms include sudden, sharp chest pain that worsens with de...

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Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough iron to form hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.

The condition can be caused by acute blood loss through injury, surgery, or childbirth;chronic b...

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Heart attack

Most heart attacks happen when a clot in the coronary artery blocks the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart. Often this leads to an irregular heartbeat - called an arrhythmia - that causes a severe decrease in the pumping function of the heart.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, tight, heavy, squeezing chest pain, being severely ill, nausea

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About First Time Occurrence Of Shortness-Of-Breath

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Do you have a cough?
  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Have you lost your appetite recently?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Please take a quiz to find out what might be causing your first time occurrence of shortness-of-breath. These questions are also covered.

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First Time Occurrence Of Shortness-Of-Breath Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced first time occurrence of shortness-of-breath have also experienced:

  • 8% Rib Pain
  • 6% Tight, Heavy, Squeezing Chest Pain
  • 6% Cough

People who have experienced first time occurrence of shortness-of-breath were most often matched with:

  • 41% Condition Causing Abnormal, High-Pitched Breathing
  • 29% Bacterial Pneumonia
  • 29% Asthma Attack

People who have experienced first time occurrence of shortness-of-breath had symptoms persist for:

  • 36% Less than a day
  • 25% Over a month
  • 21% Less than a week

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

First Time Occurrence Of Shortness-Of-Breath Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your first time occurrence of shortness-of-breath