Out of Breath? These Are The Reasons Why

Out of Breath? These Are The Reasons Why

Throughout your average day, you likely don’t give much thought to your breathing habits. However, when you notice that you’re out of breath, it can be a bit concerning, to say the least. Here are some of the most common reasons that you may be experiencing breathlessness.

You’re Anxious

Anxiety is one of the most common reasons that you may experience being out of breath. When you’re anxious, the muscles that you use to breathe become extremely tight and rigid. In addition, your body will naturally breathe faster than you’re used to. This can make it feel like you’re not getting enough air into your body as your breaths are much shallower than normal. If you’re anxious, you’ll typically experience other symptoms like sweating, feeling faint, feeling like there’s a lump in your throat, and chest pain. Once your body calms back down, your breathing will return to normal.


Especially in the summertime, many people experience allergies. An increase in pollen, mould, and other allergens can irritate the airways to your lungs. This type of sinusitis and shortness of breath can go hand in hand. Allergies can make it hard for you to take normal breaths. Most people who have allergies also have symptoms like a runny nose and itchy eyes.


About eight per cent of the adult population and seven per cent of the minor population have a condition known as asthma. When these people experience an asthma attack, it becomes more difficult for them to breathe. This is due to the fact that the airways become inflamed and the muscles around them tighten. Apart from shortness of breath, these individuals will experience severe wheezing, coughing, sweaty face, and feelings of anxiety.


In order for oxygen to make its way throughout your entire body, it needs to be carried in red blood cells. Iron is a key component that helps in the production of blood. When you don’t get enough iron in your diet, you’ll have fewer red blood cells in your body. This lack of iron could be due to your dieting habits or from your body being unable to absorb it due to a deficiency. Either way, it can lead to a condition called anaemia that can make you feel out of breath.


One of the most common reasons that you may experience shortness of breath is an infection. There are different types of infections that can travel into the lungs and cause difficulty breathing, such as pneumonia. Most people will experience other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, chest pain, chills, and even a fever. Most infections will need to be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a medical professional.

High Altitudes

Whenever you experience travelling to a location that is 8,000 feet above sea level, the oxygen levels in the air decrease. The higher up you get, the less oxygen is present in the air. This means that your body is getting less oxygen than it normally would. Altitude sickness is a condition characterized by many different symptoms, including shortness of breath and a headache. This condition can typically be treated by moving to a lower elevation and with certain medications.

Muscle Knots

Whenever your muscles become overworked, they can develop muscle knots. These are simply defined as tightness in the fascia of the body that constricts the movement of a muscle. If you have muscle knots in any of your core muscles, it’s likely that you may experience shortness of breath when you’re trying to utilize the muscle. Treating a muscle knot will help to loosen the fascia and allow the muscle to move more freely. This will lead to returning to regular breathing habits.

Strenuous Exercise

One of the most common reasons that people will experience being out of breath is when they perform strenuous exercises. This holds especially true if you’re not used to exercising on a regular basis. As you’re moving your body, your breathing increases to help deliver more blood and oxygen to your extremities for future movement. Whenever you stop the strenuous exercise, you should be able to catch your breath within a minute as your breathing returns to normal.

Temperature Extremes

Most people have experienced shortness of breath whenever they walk outside on a very cold winter day or a very hot, humid summer day. The difficulty that you may experience with breathing is simply your body adjusting to the change in temperature. Most people only notice this problem whenever the temperature goes from one extreme to the other. After a few moments, your breathing should go back to normal as your body adjusts to being in a different temperature.

Rib Injury

Your ribs are an essential component of your body’s breathing function. Injuries to the ribs can cause muscle restrictions and make it too painful to take a deep breath. Some common rib injuries include bruising, cracked ribs, and broken ribs. Treating the injury with supportive care and pain medication can allow your breathing to return to its normal functioning in a couple of weeks.


Knowing formally as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD is a chronic condition that is characterized as obstruction of airflow from the lungs. Those who were exposed over long periods of time to harmful particulate matter and irritating gases are likely candidates for developing this condition. Those suffering from COPD notice difficulty with their breathing, coughing, wheezing, and mucus build-up. While COPD is a progressive disease, most people can easily treat it with proper management techniques to keep their symptoms limited.

When you find yourself out of breath, it can be scary, to say the least. Fortunately, with the proper medical assessment, you can determine the main cause of your breathlessness and treat it accordingly.

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