Shortness of breath with pneumonia

Dyspnea in pneumonia is a precursor to respiratory failure and, if untreated, leads to patient death. It is necessary to figure out what symptoms accompany the specified disease and how to avoid it.


The reasons

Shortness of breath in the early stages of the disease occurs during physical exertion. With the aggravation of the patient’s condition, shortness of breath appears with a slight effect on the muscles. In the last stages of pneumonia, this symptom worries even at rest.

Doctors identify the following causes of shortness of breath with pneumonia:

  • violation of blood circulation, which leads to insufficient saturation of tissues with oxygen;
  • swelling of the bronchi;
  • compression of the bronchi.

Dyspnea with pneumonia is more often recorded in patients who abuse smoking, suffering from oncology and immunodeficiencies. Prolonged lying position also accompanies the appearance of this symptom, since it causes stagnation of fluid in the lungs.

In adults

In adult patients, the appearance of shortness of breath with pneumonia indicates extensive lung damage.

In children

In children, due to anatomical features, difficulty breathing is rarely noted with pneumonia. Accordingly, dyspnea is less common in them than in adults. This condition in a child occurs in the absence of treatment for pneumonia, but following the doctor’s recommendations, shortness of breath should go away in a month.
In older people

In elderly patients , there is no gradual transition from mild to severe dyspnea. Their dyspnea progresses rapidly, especially in the presence of concomitant diseases. The nature of the course of the disease is acute.

Associated symptoms

Shortness of breath with pneumonia is accompanied by pain in the chest, with the exception of the focal form of the disease. It is difficult for a patient with this symptom to inhale or exhale. In addition to breathing problems, a person is worried about head and muscle pain. With illness, the temperature rises sharply, which lasts for several days. When exhalation is difficult, a characteristic whistle is heard. This is usually associated with bronchospasm. Pneumonia is accompanied by a cough. It is dry for several days, then phlegm appears. In the acute form of the disease, it is purulent.

Dry cough

The severity of symptoms is due to the following factors:

  • the causative agent of pneumonia;
  • the age of the patient;
  • the degree of lung damage.

In children under one year old, with shortness of breath, parents may notice signs of respiratory failure, namely, blue discoloration in the area of ​​the nasolabial folds and palms, rapid breathing, pallor.

With pneumonia in patients with weak immunity, there may be no temperature. Such patients report intense thirst and increased sweating during physical activity. Their cough does not go away for more than two weeks. When examining the chest, it is noticeable that one side of it is motionless.



After consulting a doctor, bronchoscopy is performed. This procedure allows you to examine the bronchi and remove accumulated mucus from them. To determine the cause of shortness of breath and the localization of inflammation, the patient is referred for X-ray, fluorography, spirography and CT. It is necessary to accurately establish the causative agent of pneumonia, for which the analysis of the patient’s sputum is examined.

For proper treatment, it is necessary to diagnose the type of shortness of breath, since it accompanies many diseases of the respiratory system. If it is problematic to exhale, it is associated with pulmonary emphysema or obstructive bronchitis. This type is called expiratory. Shortness of breath, in which it is difficult for the patient to breathe, is called inspiratory. It occurs as a complication of pneumonia.

An analysis of blood for uniform elements and gas composition is of great importance for diagnostics. The degree of damage to the bronchi and lungs with pneumonia is shown by a biopsy.

Shortness of breath treatment

Pneumonia is treated only in a hospital. If the patient seeks medical help on time and does not have any complications, he will have to stay in the hospital for 14 days. However, treatment continues after discharge, but on an outpatient basis. The patient is registered with a pulmonologist.

Hospital treatment

With a severe course of the disease and the progression of shortness of breath, the patient may need resuscitation, so he is placed in an intensive care unit.

After determining the pathogen, the patient is prescribed an antibiotic or antiviral drug. It is drunk according to the scheme determined by the doctor on an individual basis. The improvement should be noticeable after 3 days. If this does not happen, the medication must be canceled. Since the use of these drugs disrupts the intestinal microflora, it is also recommended to take probiotics.

In addition, medications are prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation. An expectorant is prescribed to relieve coughing.

If the patient’s temperature exceeds 38 degrees, an antipyretic is needed. Children are given these drugs when they reach 37.5 degrees. When the indicator stabilizes, physiotherapy treatments are allowed.

During illness, you need to drink plenty of fluids. If necessary, the patient is given an infusion of saline and glucose.

Is traditional medicine applicable

Traditional therapies can complement traditional medicine. They only make breathing easier in case of pneumonia, but they cannot cure the disease. The most popular are rubbing, compresses, teas, inhalations.


To improve immunity, they drink honey-based products , but they have many contraindications. The main ones are allergies and age up to two years.

A doctor’s consultation is required regarding the use of traditional medicine methods for the treatment of shortness of breath in children.


To prevent shortness of breath, it is important to strengthen the immune system. To do this, you need to eat right and temper the body. It is necessary to maintain normal air humidity in the room and exclude the influence of any irritants on the respiratory tract.

If signs of respiratory diseases appear, you should immediately consult a doctor to avoid the development of pneumonia. Physical activity, even with illness, cannot be ruled out, otherwise sputum stagnation in the lungs occurs.


If untreated, the patient develops respiratory failure as a result of shortness of breath . It is presented in three forms, with:

  • impaired ventilation of the lungs develops hypercapnic dyspnea;
  • a lack of oxygen in the blood, but normal ventilation is diagnosed with hypoxemic dyspnea;
  • the combination of the above types is accompanied by mixed shortness of breath.

The disease also affects the state of the cardiovascular system and can lead to heart failure.


Shortness of breath is a dangerous symptom of respiratory diseases. Sometimes patients try to cure it on their own, without thinking about the consequences. This symptom, in the absence of therapy, gradually progresses and causes serious complications. Since there is a risk of death, the patient needs drug therapy to recover. If the doctor’s recommendations are followed, shortness of breath soon disappears.


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