Symptoms A-Z

Rapid, Deep Breaths Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand rapid, deep breaths symptoms, including 6 causes & common questions.

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6 Possible Rapid, Deep Breaths Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced rapid, deep breaths. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Hyperventilation syndrome

Hyperventilation syndrome is a type of anxiety or panic attack, where the primary symptom is fast, shallow breathing that leads to a drop in carbon dioxide levels in the blood. This drops changes the body chemistry and causes the discomfort.

Any sort of fear or excitement that might provoke an anxiety attack can bring on hyperventilation syndrome.

Symptoms are worse in some patients than in others, but include anxiety; lightheadedness; pain and constriction in the chest; numbness and tingling of the extremities; and a feeling of suffocation.

It is important to seek treatment for hyperventilation syndrome, because the symptoms can be debilitating and interfere with quality of life.

Diagnosis is made through detailed patient history, as well as a complete physical examination and lab tests to rule out any other conditions.

Treatment involves showing that patient that, during an anxiety attack, simply breathing into a paper bag for a few minutes will ease the symptoms and allow recovery. Psychological counseling, with an emphasis on managing stress, is also helpful.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: anxiety, shortness of breath, dizziness, racing heart beat, chest pain

Symptoms that always occur with hyperventilation syndrome: rapid, deep breaths

Symptoms that never occur with hyperventilation syndrome: shortness of breath after a few stairs

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Right heart failure (cor pulmonale)

Acute cor pulmonale is also called acute right-sided heart failure and acute RHF. It is the sudden failure of the right ventricle of the heart.

The right ventricle pumps blood out of the heart, into the pulmonary artery, and into the lungs. If the pulmonary artery is blocked, the right ventricle will quickly become overworked and in danger of shutting down. A blood clot, called an embolism, or plaque lining this artery can suddenly cut off blood flow from the heart into the lungs.

Risk factors for acute cor pulmonale include surgery, obesity, smoking, and prolonged immobility. All of these leave the person prone to blood clots and/or plaque in the arteries.

Symptoms include sudden chest pain with rapid heartbeat, pale skin, cold sweat, shortness of breath, and coughing, sometimes with blood.

Acute cor pulmonale is a life-threatening medical emergency. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination, blood tests, echocardiogram, and chest x-ray.

Treatment involves oxygen, diuretics, blood-thinning and clot-dissolving medications, and sometimes surgery.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath on exertion, wheezing, decreased exercise tolerance

Symptoms that never occur with right heart failure (cor pulmonale): severe chest pain

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

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

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive inflammation of the lungs that makes breathing difficult. It is caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases and/or dust particles, most often cigarette smoke.

Symptoms may take years to develop. They include a chronic cough with mucus (sputum), wheezing, chest tightness, fatigue, constant colds, swollen ankles, and cyanosis (blue tinge to the lips and/or fingernails.) Depression is often a factor due to reduced quality of life.

Treatment is important because there is a greater risk of heart disease and lung cancer in COPD patients. Though the condition cannot be cured, it can be managed to reduce risks and allow good quality of life.

COPD is commonly misdiagnosed and so careful testing is done. Diagnosis is made through patient history; physical examination; lung function tests; blood tests; and chest x-ray or CT scan.

Treatment involves quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to other lung irritants; use of inhalers to ease symptoms; steroids; lung therapies; and getting influenza and pneumonia vaccines as recommended.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, cough and dyspnea related to smoking, cough, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping

Symptoms that always occur with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd): cough and dyspnea related to smoking

Symptoms that never occur with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd): rectal bleeding

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Panic or anxiety attack(s)

Panic or anxiety attacks are sudden feelings of intense fear or stress without true danger. Symptoms usually peak and then decrease within minutes. One may feel as if they are losing control or have physical symptoms like sweating or a racing heart. A panic attack can be a very scary experience and should be taken seriously.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms:

Symptoms that always occur with panic or anxiety attack(s): anxiety or anxiety/panic attacks

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Diabetic ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, is a serious complication of diabetes.

If the body does not have enough blood glucose (blood sugar) available for energy, it will burn fat instead. This forms ketones in the blood. If the ketones build up, the blood becomes too acidic and can...

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Rapid, Deep Breaths

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

  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Do you have a cough?
  • Do you notice your heart beating hard, rapidly, or irregularly (also called palpitations)?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

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

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your rapid, deep breaths

Rapid, Deep Breaths Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced rapid, deep breaths have also experienced:

  • 5% Tight, Heavy, Squeezing Chest Pain
  • 4% Fatigue
  • 3% Cough

People who have experienced rapid, deep breaths were most often matched with:

  • 42% Right Heart Failure (Cor Pulmonale)
  • 35% Asthma Attack
  • 21% Hyperventilation Syndrome

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Rapid, Deep Breaths Symptom Checker

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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.