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Shortness of Breath

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What Shortness of Breath Could Mean

Seeking Appropriate Medical Care For Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath sometimes referred to as dyspnea, is unsettling at best. Your chest may feel tight, you have difficulty breathing, and you may feel as though you are suffocating. It’s normal to be short of breath after strenuous exercise, exposure to extremely hot or cold temperatures, or higher altitudes. But if you are short of breath regularly, you need to seek appropriate medical care. 

What Shortness of Breath Could Mean

There are many medical reasons why someone may be short of breath – some acute and some chronic – that could be an indicator of the following conditions: 

  • A severe allergic reaction
  • Asthma
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • The build-up of excess fluid around the heart
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Pneumonia and other pulmonary infections including flu, the common cold, and streptococcus
  • Collapsed lung
  • Sudden loss of blood
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Upper airway construction
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When to See a Doctor for Shortness of Breath

Lung issues including croup in children, and pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure of the lungs), and pulmonary edema (excess fluid in the lungs). Heart issues, including heart attacks, heart arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, and pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue around the heart). Someone may also have shortness of breath if they have anemia, anxiety disorders, broken ribs, or are experiencing a choking episode.

If you are experiencing the following symptoms along with shortness of breath, it’s best to seek medical guidance as soon as possible:

  • Fever, chills, and cough
  • Swelling in the feet and ankles
  • Wheezing
  • A change in the ability to breathe comfortably
  • Lessened amount of activity due to shortness of breath

COVID-19 and Shortness of Breath

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention being short of breath and tightening in the chest is a hallmark symptom of COVID-19. When accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you could have coronavirus:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
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Deer Park, TX 77536
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