Tachypnea is the term used to describe breathing that is rapid and shallow. Abnormally fast breathing is a symptom that is often caused by the build up of carbon dioxide in your lungs.
Whenever the ability to expire carbon dioxide decreases, it causes a buildup of it in your blood. The result is respiratory acidosis, which stimulates the respiratory centers in your brain. In turn, causing a respiratory rate increase in an attempt to normalize blood pH.
Tachypnea’s rapid shallow breathing can be caused by many health related reasons, some of which include:
- chest pain
- lung disease
- heart disease
- pulmonary edema
- exercise, exertion
- pneumonic plague
- metabolic acidosis
- pulmonary embolism
- diabetic ketoacidosis
- congestive heart failure
- lower respiratory infections
- carbon monoxide poisoning
- respiratory muscle paralysis
- stress, anxiety, panic attack
- bronchopulmonary dysplasia
- hantavirus pulmonary syndrome
- acute respiratory distress syndrome
- abdominal distention ~ ascites, bowel obstruction
- neuromuscular disorders ~ myasthenia gravis, ALS, Guillain-Barré syndrome, muscular dystrophy
Normal breathing rate for resting adults is 8 to 16 breaths per minute. Whereas, an infant’s can be as high as 44.
In contrast, hyperventilation is taking rapid, deep breaths, resulting in a buildup of oxygen in your lungs And hypopnea is taking slow, shallow breaths. Dyspnea is frequently associated with tachypnea.
Transient tachypnea is a respiratory disorder seen in infants shortly after their birth. Usually lasting less than a day, this rapid infant breathing is caused by fluid.
A special fluid is normally present in a baby’s lungs while in the womb. Around the time of their normal birth, a chemical is released to stop its production. It is subsequently removed (squeezed out during natural birth process) or reabsorbed.
However, under premature circumstances or cesarean section, the chemical signaling is inadequate to stop fluid production. Thus, extra fluid remains in their lungs, causing faster breathing to get enough oxygen.
Symptoms of transient tachypnea are:
If fluid stays in a baby’s lungs more than a couple of days, some other health issue is likely the cause.