There are life experiences that take our breath away in a good way, and then there are times when feeling out of breath just doesn’t feel very good at all. If climbing a flight of stairs or walking down the street leaves you short of breath, you may wonder if you’re just out of shape or if your body is trying to tell you something. If you have concerns about shortness of breath, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor. At MXBowen in NYC, we provide services that help our patients breathe easier.
Common Questions about Shortness of Breath
Q: What causes shortness of breath?
Shortness of breath is not a primary condition; it is a symptom. This is why it is important to explore why it is happening. There are several reasons that shortness of breath may occur. What we want to know is whether cardiovascular problems or pulmonary problems are the cause. Conditions that may cause shortness of breath include pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma. Obesity and low blood count may also cause a sensation of breathlessness.
If shortness of breath comes on suddenly, the symptom could indicate a potentially serious problem, such as a blood clot called a pulmonary embolism, a heart attack, or other event. Sudden shortness of breath should receive prompt medical attention.
Q: When should someone see a physician for shortness of breath?
If shortness of breath occurs suddenly, emergency care should be sought right away. If this problem is mild and occurs periodically, regardless of frequency, one should pay attention to additional symptoms. A medical consultation should be scheduled to explore shortness of breath with concurrent symptoms such as:
- Dizziness or fainting
- Having difficulty breathing throughout the night
- Chest pain or discomfort, such as a sensation of pressure
- Coughing up blood
- New or worsening fluid retention in the arms or legs
If you have shortness of breath that has changed the way you live, you should schedule a consultation with us. Often, when we consult with patients, they think back and realize that they used to be able to do various things that are no longer possible, at least not without shortness of breath. Gradual or not, this is an indication that something needs to be assessed.