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Dyspnea Resources

A list of Online Sources for learning more about Dyspnea

Dyspnea does not have a well-defined or universally accepted definition

Dyspnea does not have a well-defined or universally accepted definition. It is defined by the American Thoracic Society as the "subjective experience of breathing discomfort that consists of qualitatively distinct sensations that vary in intensity. The experience derives from interactions among multiple physiological, psychological, social, and environmental factors, and may induce secondary physiological and behavioral responses."Other definitions of dyspnea include "difficulty in breathing", "disordered or inadequate breathing", "uncomfortable awareness of breathing", or simple "breathlessness".Acute breathlessness is defined as severe shortness of breath that develops over minutes to hours. Chronic breathlessness on the other hand comes on over weeks or months. Dyspnea is distinct from labored breathing, which is rather a common physical presentation of respiratory distress.

Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia

Definition of Dyspnea

Difficult or labored breathing; shortness of breath. Dyspnea is a sign of serious disease of the airway, lungs, or heart. The onset of dyspnea should not be ignored but is reason to seek medical attention.

Evaluation of Chronic Dyspnea

Chronic dyspnea is defined as dyspnea lasting more than one month. In approximately two thirds of patients presenting with dyspnea, the underlying cause is cardiopulmonary disease. Establishing an accurate diagnosis is essential because treatment differs depending on the underlying condition. Asthma, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, cardiac ischemia, interstitial lung disease, and psychogenic causes account for 85 percent of patients with this principal symptom.

American Academy of Family Physicians.

Definition of dyspnea in the Medical dictionary

A difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath, typically associated with some form of heart or lung disease. Also known as air hunger.

Free Medical Dictionary from Farlex

Symptom Management - Dyspnea

Dyspnea also called "air hunger" causes difficulty in breathing. It can make you feel as if you can't get enough air into your lungs. It is a scary sensation. Many people who have dyspnea say it feels as if they are suffocating.

Episodes of dyspnea can easily begin a vicious cycle of breathlessness. This leads to feelings of panic, creating a greater sense of breathlessness. Panic begins because you feel as if you can't get enough air. As your anxiety level increases, you consume more oxygen. This in turn worsens the sensations of dyspnea. It is crucial to break this cycle as soon as you can.

Lung Cancer Alliance

Chapter 11 Dyspnea, Orthopnea, and Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea

Dyspnea refers to the sensation of difficult or uncomfortable breathing. It is a subjective experience perceived and reported by an affected patient. Dyspnea on exertion (DOE) may occur normally, but is considered indicative of disease when it occurs at a level of activity that is usually well tolerated. Dyspnea should be differentiated from tachypnea, hyperventilation, and hyperpnea, which refer to respiratory variations regardless of the patients" subjective sensations. Tachypnea is an increase in the respiratory rate above normal; hyperventilation is increased minute ventilation relative to metabolic need, and hyperpnea is a disproportionate rise in minute ventilation relative to an increase in metabolic level. These conditions may not always be associated with dyspnea.

Orthopnea is the sensation of breathlessness in the recumbent position, relieved by sitting or standing. Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (PND) is a sensation of shortness of breath that awakens the patient, often after 1 or 2 hours of sleep, and is usually relieved in the upright position.

Two uncommon types of breathlessness are trepopnea and platypnea. Trepopnea is dyspnea that occurs in one lateral decubitus position as opposed to the other. Platypnea refers to breathlessness that occurs in the upright position and is relieved with recumbency.

Welcome to the Dyspnea Center!

"Doc, I can't breathe!" -- The experience of not being able to breathe is very unpleasant and can be frightening. The sensation that something is wrong with your breathing is termed 'shortness of breath' or 'dyspnea'. Most of us only feel short of breath when we do things like running up 5 flights of stairs or holding our breath under water. In this case the 'cure' is easy! slow down, start breathing. However, dyspnea is a very important symptom of lung and heart disease. This symptom, like pain, is both useful and problematic. Dyspnea is useful because it is often the only warning of serious lung or heart disease. On the other hand, dyspnea is very unpleasant and there are many times that we would like to provide relief to improve quality of life (just as we provide pain relief), but we currently have no good tools to provide dyspnea relief. The problem is a big one: dyspnea is actually as common as pain in serious disease. Half of seriously ill patients admitted to tertiary care hospitals report pain, an equal number report dyspnea. Many patients suffer from both of these debilitating symptoms. In the final stages of terminal illness, the problem of dyspnea often increases while pain decreases (due to effective treatment). In addition, many patients experience dyspnea with no obvious organic cause. We know much less about dyspnea than we know about pain mechanisms and pain relief probably because there are fewer scientists studying dyspnea; one aim of this web site is to encourage young scientists to consider training in this field.

Dyspnea Center at Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School

Acute Dyspnea

Causes of Acute Dyspnea: Ingress problem, High altitude, Airway Obstruction

This is one of 5246 pages in the Family Practice Notebook

DYSPNEA: Breathing discomfort or significant breathlessness

Breathing discomfort or significant breathlessness is a serious problem for many persons in the U.S. Approximately 14 million Americans suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Another 10 million citizens (approximately five percent of the population) have asthma. When interstitial lung disease, neuromuscular disorders, lung cancer, and cardiac disease are added to the mix, it is clear that many people suffer from the difficult, labored, uncomfortable breathing known as dyspnea.

American Thoracic Society- Consensus Statement on Dyspnea

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Last Page Update: September 14, 2020

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