Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms Evaluation Underlying Cause Anatomy

Respiratory Distress Overview

What is respiratory distress?
A person with respiratory distress has severe difficulty breathing. Left untreated, respiratory distress may lead to respiratory failure. Common causes of respiratory distress include asthma, COPD, heart failure, pneumonia, and severe allergic reactions.

What are the symptoms and signs of respiratory distress?
Signs and symptoms of respiratory distress include severe difficulty breathing, noisy breathing, rapid breathing, and rapid heart rate. During each breath, the nostrils open widely, and the ribs and neck muscles become more visible beneath the skin.

How does the doctor treat respiratory distress?
Treatment for respiratory distress depends on the underlying cause. Treatment of severe respiratory distress may include oxygen therapy and mechanical ventilator therapy.

Continue to Respiratory Distress Symptoms

FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.