Can fatigue cause shortness of breath?
Yes, fatigue can definitely cause shortness of breath i.e.dyspnea. However, there is no direct relation between the two. Sometimes, fatigue or tiredness is associated with some common conditions such as anxiety, pregnancy and a cardiovascular disease, which in turn cause troubled breathing. We will be discussing how these symptoms are interrelated.
Association between fatigue and hyperventilation: Anxiety
Chronic fatigue is strongly associated with anxiety, which in turn is responsible for causing shortness of breath, according to the study published in the journal of the royal society of medicine. This is because shortness of breath in itself is one of the diagnostic criteria of anxiety disorder. It is very important here for us to learn about the exact definition of anxiety so that it could help us how it is strongly associated with fatigue and shortness of breath. Anxiety, in general, is a body’s responsive mechanism to stress. This may raise a question about how stress comes into play and triggers the body's response. Well, there are a lot of factors responsible for causing stress. For example, lack of sleep, an examination hall or while appearing for the interview. These stressors are the usual triggers to causing a body's sympathetic surge and eventually anxiety starts. It is also worth mentioning here the general symptoms which appear in an anxiety attack. Quite interestingly, shortness of breath and palpitations are few of the well recognised symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Other common symptoms include sweating, an urge to drink water again and again, and most importantly, a lack of sleep. This further aggravates tiredness and stress, possibly leading you to have anxiety- associated unsatisfied breathing. This is how a vicious cycle comes into play and the condition is on the verge of getting worse with time.
The remedy to this is quite possible without having a person attending a clinic initially. Trying to return back to sleep-awake cycle, taking deep breaths especially in a stress environment, and trying not to panicking are a few effective measures to avoid the anxiety to occur. However, if the condition does not respond to the conservative measures taken by a person himself, it becomes necessary to consult a doctor who is an expert to diagnose and treat the condition.
A Cardiovascular Cause
A research study conducted which correlated fatigue with heart failure in older women, indicates another very important factor to be taken into consideration, a cardiovascular disease, which especially in initial stages, shows up with fatigue as a marked symptom. After it involves major arteries and the disease starts to progress, shortness of breath is a prominent and significant symptom to appear, which also helps a physician to think of the cardiovascular cause if general conditions have been ruled out. Since fatigue appears as a symptom in a number of diseases, unfortunately, cardiovascular causes are sometimes missed by a physician. Therefore, the importance of fatigue should never be ignored since it leads to missing the diagnosis of some life-threatening conditions. As we have discussed above the process how fatigue and exhaustion is related to falling short of breath. By contrast, in cardiovascular pathologies, there is no link to one another , but they appear together solely as symptoms of the disease irrespective of each other.
Pregnancy: A reason to causing fatigue and shallow breathing
A third common cause to be associated with fatigue and dyspnea is pregnancy. A continuous feeling of tiredness and exhaustion in pregnancy is essentially a common phenomenon, and later in pregnancy, it appears with the shortness of breath as well. Here again, both of these symptoms are independent of each other, they come up as a separate entity at different stages of the pregnancy. The reason why these symptoms appear in pregnancy is metabolic demand which necessarily increases during this period, causing tiredness and eventually shallow breathing.
In a nutshell, there are a number of medical conditions overlapping with these symptoms. Therefore, it is quite difficult to determine whether the fatigue and shortness of breath are correlating to each other or not. However, it is obvious that some common clinical conditions give these symptoms a hallmark, helping in the diagnosis and management of underlying pathologies.