Orthopnea is a form of respiratory difficulty that prevents the subject to maintain the extended position forcing it to assume a standing position or sitting to breathe. The cause can be found in an increase in the return of venous blood to the left ventricle which is unable to cope with such a load. It occurs mainly in heart patients with left ventricular failure and occasionally in people with chronic lung disease.

Usually the orthopnea manifests at night and at rest. The person affected by this respiratory disorder wakes up suddenly and with a feeling of shortness of breath (breaths superficial and very fast). The condition can be characterized with other symptoms such as cyanosis and agitation.


What kind of diseases can be associated with orthopnea?

The following diseases may be associated with orthopnea:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Panic
  • Pulmonary emphysema
  • Heart failure
  • Chronic lung disease

Remember that this is not an exhaustive list and it is highly recommended to consult your doctor, in case of symptom’s persistence.


What is the therapy for orthopnea?

In case of orthopnea, you should position yourself well in order to make it easier to breath. Also you should contact your doctor immediately. There are specific therapies able to reverse this disorder and the treatment depends of the condition from which the orthopnea is only a symptom.


When is most likely to contact your doctor in case of orthopnea?

In case of orthopnea is always good to consult your doctor.