Tachypnoea: meaning and pathologies associated with increased frequency of respiratory acts

Tachypnoea or polypnoea is a medical condition characterised by an increase in the frequency of breaths. In a healthy adult, the number of breaths per minute is generally 16: in the case of tachypnoea, it can reach 40-60 per minute

Tachypnoea is usually accompanied by an increase in heart rate and a feeling of fatigue and lack of air

The physiological cause that may be associated with tachypnoea is physical exertion.

Pathological causes include conditions as diverse as metabolic acidosis, embolism, sepsis, pulmonary infarction and carbon monoxide intoxication.

This condition should be distinguished from hyperpnoea, which not only increases the frequency of breathing but also increases the depth of breathing, resulting in increased lung ventilation.

What diseases can be associated with tachypnoea?

The following diseases may be associated with tachypnoea:

  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Embolism
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pulmonary infarction
  • Carbon monoxide intoxication
  • Pneumonia
  • Sepsis
  • Septic shock
  • Duodenal ulcer

Please note that this list is not exhaustive and you should always seek advice from your doctor.

What are the remedies for tachypnoea?

In order to be able to prepare a treatment, it is important to understand the cause of the disorder and act on it.

In the event of tachypnoea, it is therefore always advisable to consult your doctor, who will be able to advise you on what to do.

When should you see your doctor if you have tachypnoea?

If you have already been diagnosed with or are at risk of one of the associated pathologies (see list of associated pathologies).

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