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Shortness Of Breath

César R. Molina, M.D., FACC

Cardiologist & Internal Medicine Specialist located in Mountain View, CA

Countless medical conditions can contribute to shortness of breath. And while many of these conditions are relatively minor in nature, some are cause for major concern and demand medical attention. At the office of César R. Molina, M.D., FACC in Mountain View, California, Dr. Molina can run a full diagnostic work-up to better understand what’s causing your shortness of breath and determine what treatment is necessary. To learn more, call Dr. Molina to schedule your consultation or book online.

Shortness of Breath Q & A

What are the symptoms of shortness of breath?

While you might be familiar with the shortness of breath associated with overexertion, such as when playing a sport or exercising, some people experience this sensation for seemingly no reason. This can include an inability to draw a complete breath, a feeling of “tightness” in your chest, or the feeling that your body simply isn’t getting enough oxygen.

What causes shortness of breath?

Many causes of shortness of breath are perfectly normal for a given circumstance. For example, high altitude locations have thinner air, making it more difficult to get the oxygen you need. Overexertion, extreme temperatures, or pollution can also leave you gasping for breath.

However, there are some medical conditions that can make it more difficult for you to breathe normally. Some common conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Anemia

Anxiety is also a common culprit for episodes resulting in shortness of breath. People often mistake anxiety or panic attacks for heart attacks because of this shared symptom.

When should I see a doctor for shortness of breath?

It can be difficult to know when your shortness of breath is a harmless episode or something more serious. Generally, you should consider paying a visit to Dr. Molina if you also experience any of the following alongside your breathing difficulties:

  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Swollen ankles or feet
  • Blue lips or fingertips
  • Pain or pressure in your chest
  • Wheezing sound when breathing
  • Coughing and chills
  • Increased difficulty breathing when you lay on your back

It’s important to note that a shortness of breath isn’t the same as having trouble breathing. If it feels like something is obstructing your throat or chest and you can’t take a complete breath, you need to seek immediate emergency care.

How is shortness of breath treated?

Treatment for your shortness of breath can depend on the underlying cause. Inhalers and other bronchodilators can help you breathe easier during periods of short breath. Symptoms caused by medical conditions such as anxiety might resolve with treatment of the underlying condition.

If you find yourself short of breath in unusual circumstances, the office ofCésar R. Molina, M.D., FACC in Mountain View, California, can determine the root cause of the problem and help you find treatment. Call to schedule your consultation or book online.