Three Causes Of Difficulty Breathing

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We all experience some sort of shortness of breath at some points in our lives — but there are times when a mild difficulty breathing is normal, and times when it is more serious and could hint at an alarming cause. Luckily, family medical centers, emergency rooms, and walk in clinics are available to provide diagnoses and treatment for this symptom, and whatever its underlying cause could be. For that matter, it’s very possible that the symptom could mean nothing, or could have a fairly innocuous cause. What’s important is that the person experiencing the symptom knows for sure. Due to the recent shut down of a fairly large number of traditional hospitals — in fact, nearly two dozen rural hospitals have shut down nationwide since 2013 — people are turning to family medical centers that provide urgent care services now more than ever. And with about 60% of all urgent care centers having wait times of less than 15 minutes to see a physician or mid-level care provider, it’s no wonder that more people are beginning to consider family medical centers that provide urgent care as viable options. Below, we’ll look into some of the causes of difficulty breathing, and what other symptoms you should look for.

1. Asthma

Asthma may seem to be an obvious cause of difficulty breathing — but it’s obvious for a reason. Lots of people suffer from asthma, and it can vary from being mild to severe. By definition, asthma is a condition that swells a person’s airways, producing extra mucus. Usually, people who suffer from asthma not only experience difficulty breathing, but coughing. Unfortunately, asthma can never be cured — but some people experience a change in the severity of their asthma over the course of years, leading to a lessened need for regular medication. And for some people, asthma is essentially just a nuisance in life. But others experience life-threatening asthma attacks, which can even kill them. Of the roughly 110 million people who visit urgent care centers annually, many do suffer from asthma, and can be diagnosed at the urgent care center. As long as your asthma is monitored and controlled through medication, most people can live with it. But it’s important that the condition is treated properly, rather than being swept under the rug, and if you suffer from it you should be vigilant.

2. Heart Attack

Difficulty breathing can also be a symptom of a heart attack, though it’s rarely the only symptom preceding a full event. Unfortunately, some people have no warning signs of a heart attack — and when difficulty breathing is the only warning sign, people don’t often take it seriously. This is why you should always seek emergency medical services after experiencing difficulty breathing, just in case — the issue could be as a manageable as asthma, or as serious as a heart attack. If difficulty breathing prior to a heart attack is accompanied by other symptoms, these might include chest pain, fatigue, nausea, and sweating. While family medical centers aren’t usually equipped to treat a heart attack, you can get a diagnosis at these centers, and can be referred to a treatment center that can. Furthermore, you can get initial treatment, which is certainly better than waiting on treatment until you get to a hospital.

3. Pneumonia

Pneumonia can be easily misdiagnosed — people dismiss it as a flu or other type of illness until it progresses to a serious point. While many believe that people don’t die of pneumonia in this day and age — at least not until they’re older — but sadly, this isn’t the case. Viral pneumonia usually begins with wheezing and other flulike symptoms. A high fever may follow soon after. Usually, bacterial pneumonia begins with a fever much sooner. If a child under the age of five begins having difficulty breathing, this could be a major sign of pneumonia, as that tends to be the primary symptom for those of that age.

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