Health Issues

Shortness of Breath After Eating – Causes and Treatment

The superficial causes of shortness of breath after eating are numerous: yeast infections, fats in the diet (overweight), overeating and so on. But what are the physiological backgrounds? They are related to a change in the involuntary breathing pattern (which most people are unaware of).

The digestive system is a sophisticated conveyor system, much more complicated than any modern chemical factory. It has its own brain (the enteric nervous system), many organs involved, special chemical messengers for exchange, and hundreds of enzymes for digestion. When we are hungry, this system is ready to receive and process food. Eating without real hunger leads to biochemical stress for some organs and the entire system in general. (According to a recent survey, “The Americans and Overeating,” over 60% of American women snack when they feel stressed out.)

What are the consequences for shortness of breath?

Stress on the digestive system, digestive enzyme requirements and the need to deposit new chemical substances from food into cells, all these factors cause hyperventilation, which causes shortness of breath after eating. You can easily notice the negative effect of overeating during training. Hyperventilation and effects on the brain.

Thus, the immediate consequence of overeating is hyperventilation. Inhalation leads to CO2 losses in the alveoli and arterial blood. This causes a deterioration of the oxygen supply. Thus overeating favors chronic diseases and health problems.

Breathing difficulties with shortness of breath and hyperventilation

Hyperventilation also reduces the oxygen concentration in the brain. This can cause mental illness and disrupt the work of the neurotransmitters. Another factor also leads to disruption of the nervous system. CO2 stabilizes the nervous system, it could also be called home-made sedative. Apart from psychological and neurological consequences, overeating aggravates cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and all other chronic diseases.

When hyperventilation is coupled with overeating, the pancreas gets under severe stress. Breathing restricts the circulation and oxygenation of the pancreas and requires more work from the digestive enzymes. This ends in a precursor to diabetes, in which health is further harmed by reduced insulin efficiency due to hypocapnia with shortness of breath.

The extent of this damage is proportional to the calorific value and the type of food. The bigger the meal, especially if it is very rich in fat and protein, the more significant the consequences.

Substances that are in the blood after digestion must also be metabolized in the cells. This process is called “inner breathing” or cellular respiration (as it is also called by microbiologists) and is intensified, especially if it is eaten too much. This increases the ventilation in the organism (Buteyko, 1977). After Dr. Buteyko overeating has the worst consequences for breathing, causing shortness of breath.

Dr. Buteyko also found that protein-rich foods (especially when it comes to animal proteins that are absorbed quickly) and (though to a lesser extent) fats intensify breathing. On the other hand, fresh fruits and vegetables have the least influence on the ventilation.

One reason for this is the different availability of digestive enzymes. For example, fresh fruits often have their own enzymes for self-digestion, making them easy to digest. Cooked food and fats are hard to digest.

Further, amino acids cause acidification of the blood. Therefore, it makes sense (physiologically) to exhale CO2 through hyperventilation because CO2 also has an acidifying effect. Thus, the pH value of the blood is brought back into the normal range by the inhalation.

Third, some amino acids directly affect the respiratory center, intensifying breathing. Haselbalch revealed in 1912 in a study that after a vegetarian meal, the CO2 content in the arterial blood to 43.3 mm Hg (previously 45 mm Hg) fell; a meat meal caused a drop to 38.9 mm Hg.

This difference may mean that the CP test after a meat meal can be up to 12 seconds shorter than after a vegetarian meal. The explanation for this is provided by Professor Haldane in his textbook on respiration. He states that a meaty diet that causes an increase in sulfuric and phosphoric acids acidifies (over) the organism as compared to a high-vegetable diet. Vegetables contain less proThus, animal proteins have a worse effect on shortness of breath.

However, not all people with a CP of less than 20 seconds should become vegetarians. Because low oxygen levels are also accompanied by an ineffective protein metabolism and therefore with an increased need for proteins from the food.

Blood vessel with blood cells

The respiratory center compensates so the additional amino acids in the blood and the associated acidification of the blood (low pH), by adding carbon dioxide and reduced CO2 stocks. In contrast, in a vegetarian diet, more alkaline salts (bases) are present in the blood, requiring more acid to maintain the pH. Among all the acids in the blood, carbonic acid is the major component and its concentration is altered by respiration.

These approaches provide an explanation of why generally basic foods are considered to be beneficial to various health problems (fruits and vegetables provide bases for the blood), while acid-rich foods (meat, Fish, eggs, dairy products, cereals, legumes and nuts) may be considered less helpful. Apart from the immediate effect on respiration, a lack of normally dietary substances such as vitamins and minerals may gradually lead to chronic hyperventilation Carbohydrates, for example, adequate amounts of B vitamins.

These usually occur in cereals, whole grains and root vegetables, but not in sugar, white bread, white flour and white rice. Such refined foods deprive the nerve cells vitamin B with the o.g. Consequence of Hyperventilation (Buteyko, 1977). Dr. Buteyko and his colleagues emphasized the dangers of sugar and refined products. Lack of minerals (especially zinc, magnesium and calcium) can also lead to chronic overbreathing. Therefore, Western dietary recommendations, which are often full of refined products and low in fresh fruits and vegetables, have negative respiratory effects. Most importantly, overeating is so prevalent today and is responsible for chronic hyperventilation. Causes of overeating and shortness of breath after the meal Doctors working with Buteyko’s technologyAs research and observations by more than 150 Russian doctors have shown, cells get less glucose when breathing becomes heavier and the CO2 concentration in the alveoli decreases.

This is plausible under the aspect that over-breathing reduces the blood circulation. In order to be able to transport enough glucose, the body releases more glucose into the blood. However, another mechanism brings this glucose into the fat cells. Since over 90% of “normal” people hyperventilate, they should gradually gain weight. That’s what you can see.

The shortness of breath is experienced by people of all ages. When we do physical activity such as running or jogging, the shortness of breath is inevitable. Short breaths are a means for the body to pump more air into the lungs so that more oxygen can be absorbed. Our body needs oxygen to function properly, and if the amount of oxygen is insufficient for some reason, the breath becomes fast and short to catch up on the lack of oxygen. The shortness of breath after eating stems primarily from the same reason. Let’s find out what causes respiratory distress after eating.

Causes of breathlessness after eating

  • Excessive food intake

Overeating can make your stomach bloat. A bloated abdomen presses against the diaphragm. When breathed, the membrane expands, but now the diaphragm can not perform full respiratory movements due to the inflated abdomen. The result is quick and short breathing to provide the body with sufficient oxygen.

  • Indigestion

The shortness of breath is also caused by indigestion. Spicy food or high fat content can cause this reaction because spicy and fatty foods are not easy to digest. If the food is not carefully chewed, it is detrimental to your digestive system. The resulting indigestion may be the cause of respiratory distress after eating.

  • Allergy to certain foods

Shortness of breath after eating may also be due to allergy to certain foods. Sensitivity to certain foods, such as dairy products and wheat, can manifest in a variety of allergic reactions including narrowing of the airway, which in turn can lead to respiratory distress after eating. In addition to food allergies, excessive consumption of alcohol would also be a cause of this condition.

  • GERD

Shortness of breath also arises from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux disease. Gastric acid enters the esophagus and larynx. To prevent the acid from entering the lungs, the body begins to breathe quickly and briefly. This leads to dizziness and shortness of breath after eating, accompanied by a burning sensation in the stomach, throat and heart.

  • Respiratory disease

Patients with pre-existing respiratory disease, such as asthma, experience shortness of breath after eating. This happens because the airways are already narrow and the diaphragm can not properly expand after overeating. To cover the oxygen demand, the body is stimulated by a quick and short breathing.

  • Tumors

People who have tumors in the esophagus and trachea, also have shortness of breath. The tumors block the free airflow in the trachea. After eating, eating poses an obstacle to the free flow of air in the trachea. This causes breathing difficulties after eating.

  • Heart disease

After feeding, the heart pumps faster to meet the body’s oxygen needs. The heart muscles in heart disease are weak. So, after eating it can sometimes happen that the heart stops pumping and that leads to heart failure. Heart failure can cause rapid breathing.

These were the possible causes of shortness of breath after eating. If the respiratory distress is caused by the food, probably a few changes in your eating habits are needed. As six small meals a day instead of three large, thorough chewing, waiver of allergic food necessary. However, if the breathlessness is not caused by the food, you should be thoroughly examined by the doctor, if there is an undiagnosed illness behind it.

Shortness of breath  in general

Who suffers from shortness of breath, knows how hard it can be to handle it. The heart does not supply enough oxygen to the body, so those affected can do less and less physically.

In addition, they feel as if they are suffocating, and that often causes anxiety.

What can you do?

Patients should definitely consult a doctor, because shortness of breath almost always accompanies serious illnesses.

Mostly diseases of the lungs, the bronchi and the heart are the cause, sometimes also rheumatic complaints or nerve damage. Obesity is often associated with shortness of breath, and the more obese a person is, the more he suffers.


Shortness of breath often begins unnoticed, and increases as the underlying disease progresses. At first, those affected notice that they become “out of breath” faster. But this can also be due to lack of training, unhealthy diet and excessive consumption of alcohol and narcotics.

Many sufferers get used to a lifestyle in which they avoid stress and thus barely notice the symptoms. In addition, at first the problem of breathing only becomes apparent during intensive efforts, and the work of many people today does not physically require them.

But if the disease has progressed, the problems can no longer be suppressed. When climbing stairs, the people are in need of air, after long walks they wrestle for oxygen. Breathing now causes pain.

Short breath is easily confused with breathlessness. Shortness of breath is completely normal under certain circumstances. When a trained athlete runs 5000 meters at the highest possible speed, his muscles need much more oxygen than at rest. The body produces carbon dioxide to a great extent and must excrete it again through increased respiration. An untrained person with a weak condition is already in respiratory distress, if he runs instead of 5000 maybe only 500 meters.

Difficulty in breathing

Shortness of breath is first of all not a medical diagnosis, but a feeling. The body breathes increased, because those affected do not get enough oxygen. This shortness of breath differs from chronic shortness of breath in that at first the patient takes a deep breath, only with increased respiratory rates the breaths become flatter – people breathe shorter because they breathe faster.

Inhaling transports the air into the lungs, where the oxygen gets into the blood and into the alveoli. The oxygenated blood pumps the heart into the circulation. Atumgssystem, heart, blood vessels and blood work together so. Each of these “building blocks” is impaired if it gets too little oxygen. Receptors in the body detect the undersupply, notify the brain and that sends the information breathlessness and the order to increase the respiratory rate.

Shortness of breath also arises from stress. Our body switches to alarm condition. This increases the heart rate and respiratory rate.

In addition, we pay less attention to our breath and do not breathe deeply. The respiratory system is by no means disturbed, nor in pregnant women, whose body needs more oxygen than in normal mode.


The list of illnesses associated with shortness of breath is long. These include disorders of metabolism as well as anemia, deformities of the chest, but also bone diseases. Injuries, such as poorly healed rib fractures, can also cause increased respiratory rates, as well as poisoning or numerous chest discomfort.

Late pregnancy also causes shortness of breath, diphtheria and hives, vocal cord disorders such as lung cancer, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis or pleurisy. There are funnel chest, diseases of the diaphragm or disorders of the nerves, muscles and skeleton.

Cause: Funnel chest

The inward growing sternum pushes the heart to the left. Although the chest is large enough that the heart can pump undisturbed, cardiac arrhythmia problems can be associated with a funnel chest.

A pronounced funnel chest compresses the right side of the heart, exactly where the blood flows. This limits the right main chamber, which carries the blood to the lungs. Patients with severe deformity therefore breathe quickly, that is, they increase their heart rate to compensate for the decreased cardiac output.

The lungs are now constricted by the heart, but the affected person generally does not notice anything, anyway. Adults with an extreme funnel chest more often bronchitis than people without this Leiden.Die deformed chest wall itself is not associated with pain, but the resulting malposition of the body leads to the following complications: Affected hang the shoulders forward, the thoracic spine forms a “Humpback, “and the abdominal wall protrudes like a flabby balloon.

The psychological consequences overshadow the physical discomfort: those affected do not dare to enter the swimming pool and shy away from physical contact, they feel like” freaks “and lose their zest for life the physical strengthen the mental problems and vice versa. You suffer from shortness of breath, a tightness in the body, their performance in sports is limited. In addition, they avoid sports because they are embarrassed that the classmates see their chest.

Some sufferers isolate themselves socially, they are lonely and the risk of suicide is growing. Inhalation of lung cancerLung cancer is also because of a “killer cancer” because there are hardly any early warning signs. For example, while a person affected by skin cancer soon realizes that skin discolorations are spreading, becoming dark or hurting, the person affected by lung cancer usually goes to the doctor when it is already too late. Lung cancer is a possible cause. Image: lueringmedia – fotoliaLung cancer is a possible cause.


On the physiological level, an ineffective breathing pattern causes people to overeat, stuff themselves, become food-addicted, obese, and overweight. All of these abnormalities are only possible under the condition of over-breathing with shortness of breath after eating as one of the symptoms.

So to stop the overeating, the breathing must be changed. As we breathe more, we tend to eat more. More food means stress for the digestive organs, as discussed earlier. Therefore breathing becomes heavier or deeper towards the end of the digestive process. In some cases there is nothing to worry about, and in other it is best to see a doctor.