It’s normal to feel winded if you’ve been exerting yourself or exercising. Breathing problems are different. Problems range from being short of breath to gasping for air to feeling like you can’t get any air at all into your lungs even when sitting still.
Breathing problems are almost always medical emergencies. Call 9-1-1.
At Dignity Health, our committed doctors provide fast, complete emergency treatment for breathing problems in Arizona. Visit your nearest Dignity Health ER location and select your estimated arrival time using our online InQuicker™ tool.
Symptoms of Breathing Problems
People with dangerous breathing problems may look like they are struggling to breathe and are uncomfortable. You may even be able to see their chest moving to help them breathe. Other signs and symptoms of breathing problems are:
- Breathing rapidly
- Feeling anxious
It may also be very difficult for the person to breathe when they are lying down. Sitting up may provide some relief.
Other symptoms can occur along with breathing problems:
- Wheezing, gurgling, or whistling sounds
- Bluish tint to lips, fingers, or skin
Emergency Causes of Breathing Problems
Emergency causes of breathing problems are:
- Collapsed lung
- Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction
- Asthma flare-up
- Heart attack or heart failure
- COPD (c)hronic obstructive pulmonary disease flare-up
- Pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lungs
- Pulmonary hypertension, high blood pressure that affects the lungs
- Pneumonia, infection in the air sacs in the lung
- Pleuritis, inflammation of the lining around the lung
Treatment for Breathing Emergency
Treatment for breathing problems depends upon the underlying cause.
For serious breathing problems, call 9-1-1.
First aid should be applied until professional medical care is provided.
- Give any medicines the person has for breathing emergencies. This may include an epinephrine auto-injector or an inhaler.
- Loosen tight clothing.
- Bandage any wounds, if possible.
- Start CPR (c)ardiopulmonary resuscitation if necessary after checking the airway, breathing, and pulse.
Do not give someone with breathing problems any food or drink or prop up the head. If there is an injury, try not to move the person. Dignity Health provides personalized emergency services, including treatment for breathing problems, in Arizona.