Is Shortness of Breath a Heart or Lung Problem?

Is Shortness Of Breath A Heart Or Lung Problem

If you’re feeling difficulty in your normal breathing, then you’re having shortness of breath. Shortness of breath is medically termed dyspnea. When anybody encounters this breathing problem, get confused with a common question: Is shortness of breath a heart or lung problem?

Shortness of breath or dyspnea results from either lung problem or heart problem, or both and sometimes more!

It’s a heart problem when your blood circulation is poor, and the required oxygen is not delivered to the tissue. On the contrary, it might be a lung problem when the gas transfer is poor, and the tissues of your body don’t get sufficient oxygen.

As both of these organs are interrelated, it’s hard to distinguish the actual reasons for your breathing problem. Read the following article completely to get the most logical answer to this question.

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What Is Shortness Of Breath?

Breathing is a natural and automatic process of your body. It means the process of breathing is carried out with no effort on your part. But when breathing needs your conscious effort, like you’re feeling short of breath and you need to remind yourself to take a deep breath to normalize the situation. Then it could be a frightening moment, especially if you have never encountered this symptom before. After experiencing shortness of breath, you might be thinking:

What Is Shortness Of Breath

Is Shortness Of Breath A Heart Or Lung Problem?

Well, shortness of breath is a kind of symptom that is interrelated with many other conditions, mainly lung and heart conditions. Both of these organs are the most important part of your body so never take it lightly if you ever experienced this problem. Shortness of breath is medically known as dyspnea. When you feel shortness of breath you may encounter tightness in the chest, difficulty in breathing, suffocation, breathlessness, air hunger, etc.

Normally, if you do any strenuous exercise, staying in extreme temperatures, obesity, etc. may cause shortness of breath for a healthy person as well. Out of these symptoms, if you feel shortness of breath then it’s a medical condition.

What Causes Of Shortness Of Breath?

Sometimes strenuous exercise, air pollution or lousy quality of air, massive change in the temperature, high altitude, or obesity cause breathing difficulty even for strong and healthy people. In such cases, things are pretty natural; you don’t need to be worried.

What Causes Of Shortness Of Breath

On the other hand, if your breathing changes suddenly without any apparent reason and gets worse gradually, then it’s a terrible sign of a serious problem.

When you face sudden breathlessness or any shortness of breath symptoms, there might be many reasons. Without consulting with a doctor, you can’t identify the actual fact. So it’s advisable to consult with a doctor immediately whenever you experience any sudden breathing problems. Below I’ve listed some of the common causes of breathing problems.

1. Breathing & Lungs Related

Breathing & Lungs Related

  • Covid-19
  • Asthma & chronic bronchitis
  • Blockage in the Airways
  • COPD/Chronic- obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Over fluid in the lungs
  • Lungs inflammation
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Suck in foreign objects, Specially children
  • Collapsed lung
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Pneumonia & lung infections
  • Fungal infections

NB: After consulting with a doctor, if you identify that your breathing problem originated from your lungs then I’ll suggest you use a lung  Breathing exercising device. It’ll enhance your lung capacity and improve your Lung Condition.

2. Heart-Related


  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat
  • Problem with the heart muscle or cardiomyopathy
  • Inflammation in the surrounding of the heart or pericarditis
  • Obesity

3. Environment Related


  • Carbon mono-oxide poisoning (smoke)
  • Air pollution
  • Occupational toxicities
  • Allergies & allergic reactions (pollen and mold)

4. Other Ailments & Conditions

  • Anemia
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Broken ribs & traumatic lung injury by any accident
  • Epiglottitis of the “lid” of windpipe
  • Pregnancy
  • Radiation therapy for cancer
  • Blood loss due to an accident
  • Smoking
  • Low BP or Hypotension
  • Acidosis
  • Toxicity from drugs

Is Shortness Of Breath A Heart Or Lung Problem?

If I simply give the answer to this question: Is shortness of breath a heart or lung problem? Then I have to say both! Your heart and lung both can be responsible for shortness of breath. In medical terms, it’s called dyspnea. There are many other factors that could cause dyspnea. So, let’s dig out more about this condition.

Is Shortness Of Breath A Heart Or Lung Problem

You probably know that both your heart and lungs functions are interrelated. The job of your heart is to constantly deliver blood to your lungs and lungs purify the blood and send it back to your heart.

After that heart pumps the oxygen contained blood to different cells of your body. A single disruption anywhere during this process may trigger dyspnea and may last for a while or a long time. On the other hand, if the gas transfer process is poor and the tissues of your body don’t get sufficient oxygen then it might be a lung problem.

According to Dr. Aaron B. Waxman, heart and lung, both of these are very intertwined, one always affects the others. Another study shows that almost 60% of people who have heart diseases also have a lung problem. So, it is always hard to distinguish whether your breathing problem originated from the heart or lung.

Self-Treatment and Preventive Care

The treatment of shortness of breath actually depends on the condition. Before going to your self-treatment process, you should consult with a doctor and the doctor will tell you what course of treatment you should follow. Under this section, I’ll show you some of the common treatments that you can carry out on your own for your shortness of breath treatment.


When your shortness of breath is in acute condition, medication is the 1st stage of treatment for an effective solution. You can use bronchodilators drugs that are actually used for COPD and asthma patients for quick relief. It’ll relax your airways by improving your breathing techniques. With the right medication, you can alleviate your pain, high blood pressure, anxiety that are responsible for your breathlessness.

Oxygen Therapy

Sometimes dyspnea reduces the blood oxygen levels in extreme conditions. In such a situation, you need to consult with your healthcare professional to determine the blood oxygen level in your blood. If the oxygen level in your blood is low, you should take oxygen therapy. The faster you’ll complete the process the quicker you’ll alleviate your dyspnea.


Exercise is the most ideal and effective treatment for people with chronic dyspnea. With the right breathing exercise, you can improve your physical fitness, improve your heart condition and increase the capacity of your lungs. To complete your breathing exercise properly, you can also use a lung  Breathing exercising device. Besides, there are other breathing exercises that you can do to get rid of this problem.

Preventive Care

  • Don’t inhale any chemicals that may irritate your lungs, such as car exhaust, paint fumes, etc.
  • Keep away from extreme temperatures. Don’t expose yourself to hot humid or cold weather that will accelerate your dyspnea condition.
  • Do breathing practice to improve your breathing function. It’ll strengthen your breathing muscles. For effectively doing your breathing practice you can use the AirPhysio OPEP device.
  • If you have a smoking habit then quit it.
  • Keep your body fit by maintaining a healthy weight because obesity is also responsible for breathing problems.
  • If you’re on any heart or lung medication, take them on time.
  • Avoid air pollution as much as possible. Especially if you’re suffering from any lung disease.

When To See A Doctor?

If you have shortness of breath for a long time then you should strictly follow the prescription or suggestion of your health care provider. It’ll help you to avoid any potential problems. However, sometimes shortness of breath indicates a serious medical emergency. In such a situation you should consult with a doctor as early as possible. Especially, if you face any of the symptoms mentioned below:

  • If your feet & ankles get swollen.
  • Facing difficulty in your natural breathing while you’re lying flat.
  • If you’re suffering from high fever, extreme cough, and chills.
  • Whistling or wheezing sound during breathing.
  • If the condition of dyspnea gets worse gradually.
  • Fingers or lips turn blue.
  • Having chest pain/ heaviness
  • Heart Palpitations. ( irregular or fast heartbeat)


Depending on the source and condition shortness of breath could be a temporary to a serious problem. There are many facts that are associated with this breathing problem, especially your lungs and heart. That’s why when an individual suffering from this problem wants to know: Is shortness of breath a heart or lung problem?

If you read the above article, you already have the answer to this question. I have shown you when you should consult with a doctor, how to take self-treatment and preventive care at your home. Add the breathing exercise with your regular exercise routine this will increase your lung capacity and improve your breathing techniques.

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