Shwaas Rog (Dyspnea)

Dyspnea | Shortness of Breath

Definition: The shortness of breath is known as dyspnea. It is a serious disease of respiratory system. Air hunger is a subjective symptom of dyspnea. Types:

  1. Mahashwaas
  2. Urdhva shwaas
  3. Chhinna shwaas
  4. Tamak shwaas
  5. Kshudra Shwaas

Doshaj Predominance in various types:

  1. Vaat is predominant in kshudra shwaas.
  2. Tamak Shwaas is caused by an excess of kapha dosh.
  3. An excess of kapha and vaat together occurs in china shwaas
  4. There is predominance of vaat in urdhva shwaas and in mahashwaas.

Prodromal Features:

  1. Precordial pain
  2. Colic
  3. Flatulence
  4. Constipation
  5. Bad taste in the mouth
  6. Temporal Headache

Pathogenesis: When there is an obstruction of the air passages due to vaayu in association with kapha, there is an abnormal movement of vaayu producing dyspnea. Clinical Features:

  1. Mahashwaas: When a person, on account of vayu being forced by labored breathing, becomes distressed and takes deep respirations producing a stridor sound just like an excited and restrained bull, he becomes unaware of his surroundings and loses the mental faculties, his eyeballs become unsteady, his eyes and mouth remain wide open, he stops passing urine and faeces, his speech becomes blurred, he appears anxious and his respirations are very obvious even from a distance, that patient should be known to be suffering from mahashwaas and dies within a short period.
  2. Urdhvashwaas: Due to the obstruction right upto the upper end of the respiratory channels because of an accumulation of mucus, the movement of air is hampered and it is not able to enter the lower tracts inspite of labored breathing.

His eyes turn upwards, he visualizes unnatural sights, his eyeballs roll hither and thither, he appears confused and is distressed with pain, his face becomes white and he is restless. The deep expirations and obstructed inspirations cause repeated attacks of fainting. This condition is known as urdhvashwaas.

  1. Chhinna shwaas: It is also called interpreted breathing. Such patient has abdominal distension with perspiration and fainting, feels a burning sensation in the bladder region, has eyes full of tears, has excessively weak respirations, has congestion in one of the eyes, has an anxious look, a dry mouth and discolouration of the face and is delirious, should be considered suffering from chhinna shwaas and he dies soon.
  2. Tamakshwaas: When the movement of the air in the respiratory passage takes a reverse course, the head and the neck become tight and there is an excessive secretion of mucus along with rhinitis producing an obstruction to the breathing and wheezing sounds and at times the patient has attacks of very severe dyspnoea endangering the life. During attacks, he feels as if entering into darkness, feels thirsty and becomes inactive. While coughing, he gets frequent attacks of fainting and feels highly uncomfortable as he is not able to expectorate the sputum at all; however if he is able to bring it out, he feels at ease for a very short while.
  3. Kshudra shwaas: Such kind of shwaas does not produce any difficulty in eating or drinking. It neither produces any disturbance in functioning of the special sensory and motor organs, nor does it give rise to any emergency.

Prognosis: The kshudra shwaas is curable while all other types may also be curable as long as the strength of the patient is maintained and the clinical features are not severe.

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