Abuja – A General Physician, Dr Victor Fayomi, says having difficulty with breathing, chest pain and tightness should be treated as a medical emergency, saying it can be a sign of underlying health condition.

Fayomi, who works with a Private Hospital in Gwagalada, said on Thursday in Abuja that difficulty with breathing was also called dyspnoea in medical terms.

NIGERIA, Abuja : Job-seekers cover their nose and mouth for safety after security agents from the immigration services threw a cannister of tear gas to disperse the crowd in Abuja National Stadium, on March 15, 2014. At least seven people were killed and dozens injured in Nigeria’s capital Abuja on March 15 after thousands of pannicked job-seekers stampeded during a government recruitment drive at the national stadium. AFP PHOTO

According to him, it is a feeling of chest tightness, hunger for air, or not being able to draw a complete breath.

He said that this breathing difficulty could be mild, moderate or severe in nature when experienced and that dyspnoea occurs across all age groups.

“It can be of gradual or sudden onset depending on the underlining cause,’’ Fayomi said.

On some of the causes, the expert said that they could come under numerous medical classifications.

“However, for ease of comprehension, I will just mention a few of these numerous causes, especially the ones most people are familiar with.

“These include common cold and flu, anxiety and panic attacks, choking, aspiration of food particles and fluid into the lungs, asthma, allergies, pneumonia, heart failure, low red blood cell level and blood clot in the lungs.

“Other causes include obesity, lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis, trauma which may cause air or fluid compressing against the lungs in the chest wall, and upper airway obstruction which may be from aspiration of foreign bodies,’’ he said.

Fayomi said that management would depend on the underlining pathology and that it was best managed in the hospital by a medical doctor.

He said that preventive measures also depend on knowing the triggers for the potential pathology one is at risk of, and avoiding these triggers.

“For example, dust, smoke, pollens, hair from cats and extremes of emotions are triggers for an asthmatic attack in a known asthma patient, and as such, the patient should avoid these.

“People who become breathless easily, anxiety and panic attacks would also do well not to entertain worry or situations that may lead to worrying.

“Obesed persons who experience breathing difficulties are also advised to work on weight reduction,’’ Fayomi advised.

According to him, incidence of heart failure will greatly reduced if patients are compliant with their drugs and follow their doctor’s advice effectively.

Fayomi, however, advised parents to prevent their wards or children from objects, small enough to get down the nose and airways.(NAN)
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