Shortness Of Breath Specialist

Premier Cardiovascular Consultants

Board Certified in Cardiovascular Diseases located in Troy, Detroit, & Taylor, MI

Shortness of breath, also known as dyspnea, is a common symptom for a wide range of potentially severe health conditions, ranging from asthma to emphysema, obesity, and heart dysfunction. Hammam Zmily, MD, and the and the surgical team at Premier Cardiovascular Consultants, with locations in Troy, Taylor, and Detroit, Michigan, specialize in diagnosing unexplained breathing difficulties and treating underlying cardiovascular causes. To learn more, call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today.

Shortness of Breath Q & A

What causes shortness of breath?

While there's no standardized definition for shortness of breath, also called dyspnea, most people who experience shortness of breath have difficulty breathing, discomfort while breathing, or feel as though they aren't getting enough oxygen.

Some feel short of breath only during exercise, while others can experience it when they're resting or lying down. 

Breathing difficulties, like shortness of breath, may be a result of a problem in your lungs or airways, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or a pulmonary edema, which occurs when there's excessive fluid in your lungs.

Some conditions that can contribute to shortness of breath include:

  • Anemia
  • Asthma
  • Deconditioning
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis

Can heart problems cause shortness of breath?

Shortness of breath is typically an indication of cardiovascular issues, including:

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • Heart arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation
  • Heart attack
  • Pericarditis, or inflammation around the heart

Many of these conditions make it harder for your heart to pump enough oxygenated blood to the rest of your body. When your brain, organs, and muscles don't get enough oxygen, you can experience an ongoing sense of breathlessness.

How is shortness of breath diagnosed?

To diagnose the underlying cause of breathing difficulties, your provider performs a comprehensive physical, which includes asking detailed questions about your symptoms and personal and family medical history.

Besides telling your provider how long you've experienced shortness of breath, you should tell them if you've experienced other relevant symptoms, like wheezing or grunting sounds when you're short of breath. You should also be sure to note if anything you do makes your breathing worse.

Your provider may measure your breathing and your blood oxygen levels and may order an electrocardiogram (ECG) or an echocardiogram to evaluate the condition of your heart. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing may also be helpful, in some instances.

When is shortness of breath considered a medical emergency?

If you have sudden or severe shortness of breath that interferes with your ability to function, you should call 911 or have someone take you to the emergency room right away.

It's critical to seek immediate care if your shortness of breath is accompanied by symptoms like chest pain, fainting, or nausea, as these may be signs that you're having a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism.

If your shortness of breath is less serious but still persistent and concerning, call Premier Cardiovascular Consultants, or request an appointment online today.

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