Shortness of Breath & VP Cheney (cont.)

Obstruction To Airflow

Obstruction to airflow can occur in the nose or mouth, the trachea (windpipe in our throats), bronchial tubes, or the tiny airways in the lungs. The obstruction to airflow can be acute (sudden), intermittent, or chronic.

Sudden blockage of airways is a medical emergency and can be caused by inhaling objects, food particles or fluids. It can also be caused by swelling of the glottis (breathing flap) in the back of the throat from an allergic reaction.

Intermittent obstruction of the airflow can come from conditions that irritate or swell the bronchial airways, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, or bronchiectasis.

Chronic shortness of breath is characteristic of emphysema and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The shortness of breath may be even at rest and be progressive.

Other Causes

Acidosis such as from aspirin poisoning, diabetes that is out of control, and kidney failure are among the many other causes of shortness of breath. So, of course is low oxygen as at high altitudes or running out of air while diving.

Mr. Cheney

"The vice president likely has a viral upper-respiratory infection," said his cardiologist. A URI like a bad cold can also do the trick. It can make for trouble breathing, especially at night, as we all know.

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Last Editorial Review: 11/15/2004