Heavy Breathing: Meaning And Causes

Breathing is one essential gift we’ve and its very important especially when it comes to respiration. However, heavy breathing is quite normal after physical exercises but when you feel a shortness of breath, chest tightening and feeling heavy without engaging in a physical exercise or any form of boy movement, then it is likely to indicate an underlying health condition.

Heavy breathing makes it hard for one to draw a breath, which might cause a feeling of anxiety or panic and the worse aspect of heaving breathing is that it has no restrictions, meaning it can occur in anyone and at any time including;

  • During sleep.
  • In babies.
  • During pregnancy.

Heavy Breathing During Sleep

When it comes to respiration and sleep, each individual has a specific range of breaths they make per minute. For adults, the normal respiratory sleep rate range is 15 to 16 times a minute, while for adults over 60, the normal sleep rate range is 12 to 28 breath per minute or 10-30 breaths for those over age 80.

When the normal respiratory rate is exceeded, Tachypnea occurs, where the medical experts sees it as an abnormal fast breathing. However, when the muscles in your throat relax and block your airways, causing you to breath heavily at night, it is caused by obstructive sleep apnea. This makes your breathing stop repeatedly while asleep at night.

Heavy Breathing In Babies

Breathing in babies often vary depending on how old they’ve grown. in newborns, the average range of breathing is about 30-60 breaths per minute. Their breathing often are irregular. However, if they show signs of fast or heavy breathing, it might be a sign of an underlying condition like fever, asthma or other infections which a doctor should be consulted immediately,

Heavy Breathing During Pregnancy

Pregnancy, as we know is giving life to a new being so it’s quite normal for your breathing to get affected as the foetus increases in size, expanding your lung’s capacity which causes shortness of breath.

5 Causes Of Heavy Breathing

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Heavy Breathing as a medical condition is mostly caused by several issues and some of them are;

  • Asthma
  • Infections
  • Anxiety
  • Lung Conditions
  • Allergies
  1. Asthma

Asthma is the inflammation of the bronchial tubes. These tubes are responsible for carrying air to your lungs, aiding inhalation and exhalation.

When asthma attack, it makes breathing heavy or labored. An asthma attack can be triggered by various factors such as exposure to unfamiliar smell, stress, overcrowding and others.

Asthmatic patients are known to have an inhaler at hand because when an attack happens, they experience heavy breathing, burning sensation around the chest and various symptoms. It’s important to have an inhaler at hand to prevent such attacks.

2. Infections

Heavy Breathing can be caused by infections, as they can trigger various serious of breathlessness. Several infections that can cause heavy breathing in individuals are:

  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Common Cold
  • The Flu

While some of the infections can be easily gone without any treatment, others might require some series of treatments like the use of antibiotics or vaccine.

3. Anxiety

When people over-worry about a problem, they tend to experience heavy anxiety attack with laboured or heavy breathing.

It’s advisable for people experiencing anxiety attack to find a quiet place to calm themselves.

4. Lung Conditions

The lungs together with the heart work hand-in-hand to supply the system with blood filled with the oxygen.

When one experiences heavy breathing then it’s likely to be caused by some of this long conditions:

  • Infection of the lungs
  • Lung cancer
  • Chronic OPD (Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)

All these lung conditions can easily be treated medically so seeking your doctor’s consultation is advisable.

5. Allergies

Respiratory allergies to substances can easily lead to symptoms like wheezing, heavy breathing and irritation of the lungs.

In situation like this, it’s advisable to leave the surrounding to a safer environment to avoid heaving breathing and other respiratory infections.


If you ever find yourself in situations as mentioned above, it’s advisable to consult your doctor for adequate medical treatment.

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