Drugs that Cause Shortness of Breath

Drugs that cause shortness of breath

The predominant respiratory function is to ensure the body has enough oxygen delivered and carbon dioxide removed from the body. While the function of the lungs may not seem complex from the outlet, numerous components are involved in this process to ensure the human body survives. Other factors involved in respiratory function can be seen to include:

  • Nasal cavity
  • Mouth and nose
  • Trachea
    • The trachea is commonly referred to as the “Windpipe” of the body. It is a cartilaginous tube that extends into both the bronchial tubes within the human body.
  • Larynx 
    • The larynx, otherwise commonly referred to as the “Voicebox”, is an essential part of the human body as it allows us to speak. The muscular organ further contains vocal cords and allows air to travel in and out of the lungs.
  • Bronchi
    • The bronchi are the vital and significant air passages in and out of the lungs.
  • Alveoli
    • The Alveoli is medically referred to as the sacs, located inside the lungs where the gas exchange will occur. The gas carbon dioxide leaves the blood, and the oxygen enters the body. The blood will next carefully distribute the oxygen to the tissues in the human body whilst quickly picking up any carbon dioxide to ensure it is exchanged when it returns to the lungs.

As you have now read, the respiratory system is a highly complex part of the human body. The usage of some medications, whether illicit or not, can result in various side effects. These side effects range from mild to severe life-threatening disorders and conditions. 

Individuals abusing drugs or alcohol for a substantial period are significantly more susceptible to various respiratory infections. This is down to the harmful chemicals within these substances, which will often attack the individual immune system causing it to weaken. 

Effects of drugs on the respiratory system 

Abusing drugs, whether illicit or prescription, will never lead to a positive outcome and will always have various adverse health implications. Opioids have been noted as one of the primary drugs that can cause side effects such as shortness of breath and a variety of additional health problems such as liver disease and heart disease. 

Below we have written a list of a range of effects abusing drugs can have on an individual respiratory system:

  • Lung cancer
  • Haemoptysis
  • Acute sinusitis
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Dyspnea
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
  • Pneumo mediastinum
  • Interstitial infiltration
  • Barotrauma

What are the signs of respiratory issues?

Every illness often has a few telltale signs to point to a specific problem within the body. Below we have outlined some of the signs and symptoms that could be an indication that an individual is suffering or developing respiratory issues:

  • Pale and blueish skin sounds the mouth and on the lips
  • Increased breathing 
  • Increased perspiration without being overheated 
  • Increased breathing 
  • Grumbling in the lungs
  • Crackling or whistling sounds that occur when an individual breathes
  • Stubborn cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent chest pains
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Achy body

Identifying any of these symptoms is vital to ensure the respiratory diseases are caught as early as possible. Early treatment is the absolute key to saving an individual’s life. Whilst some of these signs can be experienced when particular exercises, the symptoms should be reported to a medical professional if they are to persist. 

Tobacco and the respiratory system 

Smoking tobacco’s effect on a human’s lungs progresses relatively slowly and will increase in severity over time. The respiratory system will attempt to counteract toxins by cleaning itself. The respiratory system traps dirt and other foreign bodies, such as toxins, and removes them via the cilia through methods such as mucus.

The common phrase “smokers cough” is more often than not a result of the respiratory system attempting to clean the lungs of all toxins associated with eh tobacco product. However, over time, these toxins will begin to take their toll on the human body resulting in many of the carcinogens never being wholly removed from the lungs. 

Individuals who continue smoking tobacco contain products will lose the elasticity in the walls of the respiratory system, resulting in many of the tiny structures within the system becoming thickened or ruptured. The toxins inside the tobacco-filled products will lead the individual to a significant risk of developing certain respiratory conditions and increase the risk of a variety of cancers forming due to changes in the cellular structure of the body’s internal tissues. 

Below we have written a list of the significant respiratory conditions that are known to be a direct association with smoking products filled with tobacco:

  • Asthma
  • Lung cancer
  • Lung infections 
  • Larynx cancer
  • Pharynx cancer
  • Trachea cancer
  • Various versions of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Treating drug-induced respiratory issues

There are a variety of medications, toxins, and chemicals that are known to cause various respiratory diseases, especially when abused. The first initial symptoms of an individual possibly suffering or developing the respiratory disease are:

  • Wheezing 
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches 

Suppose you or a loved one believes they are beginning or have developed any of the above symptoms and have recently started taking medication or abusing illicit substances. In that case, it is essential that you contact a medical professional for an assessment. 

Below we have outlined a few treatments that are available to patients who are suffering from drug-induced respiratory diseases or conditions:

Inpatient treatment 

The suffering patient will be admitted to an inpatient facility where they will receive 24-hour, round-the-clock palliative care. Doctors often introduce an alternative medication to aid withdrawal from illicit or abused substances. 

Furthermore, intravenous fluids can often be administered to help patients with their respiratory diseases. Depending on the severity of the case, some individuals will often be required to go for immediate surgery; this is often used for patients suffering from chronic respiratory issues. 

Support groups 

Patients who have struggled in the past or are currently finding it challenging to wean themselves off of the drugs they once abused can benefit from supper groups. These groups often comprise peers, friends, family, and anyone currently going through the same stage in life, individuals with similar drug addiction complications. 

Listening and being around individuals suffering from the same pains as you can often be calming to hear. It can give you a sense of togetherness and allow you to understand that you are not the only one struggling. Furthermore, hearing stories from individuals who were once in your shoes but are now thriving in life can be a massive motivation. 

Outpatient treatment

Patients who need help but do not require round-the-clock medical supervision will be placed in an outpatient facility. The patient will be expected to have regular meetings with a rehabilitation center for specific outpatient treatment. Our patient treatment is dedicated to individuals suffering from minor drug-induced respiratory conditions. Patients placed into outpatient treatment plans must develop a strong sense of discipline to make the treatment plan work. It is vital to have a strong and neutering support unit if you are within the outpatient treatment. 

Medical research has shown that respiratory diseases are among the highest causes of death in America and the entire world. Drug abuse and drug addiction are one of the major causes that will ensure a human body begins developing respiratory conditions and diseases, some of which are fatal. 

It is vital that anyone who is suffering from signs or symptoms of respiratory disease seek help immediately. Early diagnosis is the only possibility of saving an individual’s life.

Related Posts

What is Delirium Tremens?

What is Delirium Tremens?

Delirium Tremens (DTs) is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition that typically occurs in individuals who have been heavy drinkers for a

Tailoring Rehab to Individual Needs

At Shoreline Recovery Center, we understand that addiction is a complex and deeply personal journey. No two individuals experience addiction in the