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Red blood cells carry oxygen to various parts of the body through calcium. Anemia is caused by iron deficiency and can cause fatigue, weakness, lightheadedness and shortness of breath. Iron rich foods include red meat, pork, fish, poultry, lentils, beans and soy foods, green leafy vegetables, and raisins.


A long term progressive disease of the lung, emphysema occurs when the alveolar walls of the lungs are destroyed. This reduces the total area within the lung where blood and air can come together thus limiting the possibility of oxygen and carbon dioxide transfer. Emphysema is grouped under COPD because this condition can destroy the lung tissue around the bronchioles (tiny airways) thus preventing them from holding on to their functional shape upon exhalation. This will cause permanent damage to the tiny air sacs.

Emphysema is common in people aged 50 and older. A few, with inherited emphysema may develop the condition in their early thirties or forties. Men are more susceptible to emphysema than women but recent times have seen an increase in female cases as the number of female smokers has gone up considerably. Smoking and Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency are the main causes for emphysema.

  • Lungs do not contract to fullest extent because they lose their elasticity. This in turn stops the alveoli from deflating completely thereby making exhalation difficult.

  • As complete exhalation has not happened, the next breath starts off with more air in the lungs.

  • The entrapped old air takes up space. This prevents the alveoli from taking in enough fresh air as required so as to supply the required oxygen to the body.

  • Shortness in breath while exerting a lot is reported commonly by patients with emphysema. People with advanced emphysema feel shortness in breath even while at rest.

Emphysema symptoms

  • Shortness of breath while at rest
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty to breath
  • Skin turns bluish
  • Excess mucus production

Emphysema diagnosis

There is no permanent cure for emphysema. Treatment aims at slowing the development of the disease condition and reduce the symptoms. Medications are prescribed for relieving symptomatic conditions. Patients suffering this condition must stop smoking.


Dyspnea is commonly known as breathing difficulty or shortness of breath. It is noticed as difficulty in breathing or labored breathing. Tachypnea refers to rapid breathing. Progressively it can lead to hyperventilation such as experienced during an anxiety attack. Studies indicate that the origin of dyspnea is initiated with inaccurate central nervous system to the lungs with respect to breathing.

The etiology of dyspnea is related to conditions such as Pulmonary Embolism (PE), asthma, COPD, pulmonary ischemia and pneumonia. The management of dyspnea is only effective when the underlying causes are treated. In case of trauma, pneumothorax is an acute trigger for initiating the onset of dyspnea and hence emergency care is given to prevent internal bleeding that is caused in the pneumothorax. This condition can also progress into tachypnea and varied lung and heart sounds which has to be managed with effective ER procedures.

Positional dyspnea: If a person suffers dyspnea when lying down, it might be suggestive of CHF or pericardial effusion.

Exertional dyspnea: This occurs when there is reduction in oxygen supply and is mostly noticed in patients suffering cardiac disease or anemia.

Transient dyspnea: This situation usually resolves without medical intervention and is triggered by reversible causes such as panic attacks.

Recurrent dyspnea: Here the patient suffers these episodes many times.

Conditions such as pulmonary embolism can also lead to dyspnea along with tachycardia and diminished breathing patterns. Dyspnea is an immediate progressive condition usually associated with previous history of trauma or illness such as Tuberculosis, bronchopneumonia, infectious mononucleosis and sepsis in certain scenarios. Since dyspnea is an associated condition and it is predominantly an upper airway obstruction, the treatment measures are often related to avoiding exposure to chemicals, pollen, toxic fumes and gases such as carbon monoxide. Diagnostic tools such as Pulse Oximetry, blood tests for anemia, ECG and metabolic study are used to aid the diagnosis and then initiate appropriate treatment.

Tags: #Iron #Emphysema #Dyspnea
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: April 2, 2020