Are you frequently experiencing shortness of breath? Trouble catching your breath, or dyspnea, is often a frightening experience. While we are quick to assume it is a symptom originating from the lungs, shortness of breath (dyspnea) can also indicate complications within the heart.
Frequent bouts of not being able to “catch your breath” should be followed up with a thorough evaluation to determine the underlying cause of your dyspnea so that you can start proper treatment and avoid more serious consequences. After all, our entire body relies on proper air and oxygen to survive!
Symptoms & Causes of Dyspnea
Dyspnea can be described as labored breathing or shortness of breath. It may come on suddenly or be a response to physical activity. The timing and onset of your dyspnea provides important insight as to whether it is related to the lungs or heart. To evaluate dyspnea that is cardiac-related, you may need to undergo an echocardiogram, EKG, stress test or non-invasive pulmonary function tests.
Shortness of breath is a warning sign for a number of heart conditions, ranging from arrhythmia and congestive heart failure to coronary heart disease and heart attack. Therefore, it is critical that you seek professional help as soon as you begin experiencing dyspnea.
Treating shortness of breath can look different for each patient. It may involve lifestyle changes such as a better diet, more exercise or smoking cessation. Ultimately, your treatment plan is based on whether your symptoms are related to asthma or heart disease. Take note of any symptoms you may be having in addition to dyspnea, such as chest pain or dizziness.
If you find yourself short of breath on a regular basis, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Daniel Benhuri in Beverly Hills. Diagnosing and treating dyspnea early may be able to save you from devastating consequences.
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