Shortness of breath may be a symptom of a lung or heart condition. It may be a consequence of both lung and heart dysfunction or it may be from something else altogether. Dr. David Kamelhar and Dr. Eric Teller at Kamelhar-Teller Pulmonology in Manhattan, specialize in advanced diagnostics that identify the reason for your breathing difficulties. Then they provide customized treatments that ease your symptoms and restore your quality of life. If you experience shortness of breath, call the office in Midtown East New York City or book an appointment online today.
Shortness of Breath Q & A
What causes shortness of breath?
Shortness of breath (dyspnea) refers to difficult, labored, or inadequate breathing. You may feel that you cannot catch your breath or cannot take a deep or full breath. It may occur with exercise, increased activity, while at rest, or it may even wake you from sleep.
It is normal to have heavy breathing after physical activity, when you experience strong emotions, or even if you travel to a high altitude where the oxygen is thinner
However, when you have shortness of breath without an obvious reason, it may point to an underlying health condition that could arise from problems in your lungs, heart, or digestive tract, or from neurologic disorders, psychological disorders, or some combination of these body systems.
Difficulty breathing that’s associated with a respiratory condition may develop due to:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Covid lung infection or its consequences
- Interstitial lung disease or pulmonary fibrosis
- Nontuberculous mycobacterial infection
- Pleural effusion or fluid around the lung
- Pulmonary embolism or a blood in the lung
- Pneumothorax or air leak for the lung
- Many other causes
If your shortness of breath comes on suddenly and affects your ability to function, you should seek immediate medical care. You should also schedule an appointment for a thorough exam when you have increased awareness of your breathing during exercise or greater difficulty recovering after you have completed your exercise.
How is shortness of breath evaluated?
Kamelhar-Teller Pulmonology completes a thorough evaluation to determine the root cause of your difficulty breathing, most often by obtaining an accurate and detailed history and careful physical examination. Your provider first concentrates on identifying or eliminating a potentially life-threatening condition.
Then they learn about other symptoms you may have along with shortness of breath, such as:
- Chest discomfort or pressure
- Blue lips or fingertips
- Swollen feet or ankles
- Timing in relation to eating or drinking
- Frequent belching
These symptoms, together with information about when your difficulty breathing occurs, often point to the specific cause of shortness of breath. A key to proper diagnosis remains a carefully taken history.
When the signs point to a lung problem, your physician may perform a breathing test or pulmonary function test. You may also need X-rays or a CT scan, as well as one of many other diagnostic tests to narrow down your diagnosis, such as a cardiopulmonary exercise test, bronchial provocation test, bronchoscopy, upper endoscopy, or others
How is shortness of breath treated?
Kamelhar-Teller Pulmonology creates a customized treatment plan targeting the underlying cause of your shortness of breath. Your provider also focuses on improving your breathing and controlling your symptoms.
A few examples of potential treatments include:
- Antibiotics to treat an infection
- Disease-specific medication
- Bronchodilator inhalers to relax narrow bronchial tubes
- Lifestyle changes
- Oxygen therapy
- Stopping Smoking
- Eliminating inhaled irritants
- Pulmonary rehabilitation
Don’t wait to get medical care for shortness of breath. Call Kamelhar-Teller Pulmonology or book an appointment online today.