Is Your Shortness of Breath a Sign of Something More Serious?

Is Your Shortness of Breath a Sign of Something More Serious?

Shortness of breath can be a sign that something more serious is going on, especially if it occurs suddenly or gets worse quickly. The good news is that there are many causes that are not serious and do not require an emergency room visit. If you or someone you know has been experiencing shortness of breath, the following list of common causes may help you figure out whether it’s something to worry about or if it will go away on its own in time.

Types of shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is one of the most common reasons why people visit their emergency room. A person can experience shortness of breath for many different reasons, and it’s important to know how to tell the difference between dangerous and not-so-dangerous causes. Here are some common types

Causes
Shortness of breath is typically the first symptom to appear in someone with asthma. Asthma is an inflammatory disease that causes the airways to narrow, making it difficult to breathe. Other symptoms can include wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. If you are experiencing any other symptoms in addition to shortness of breath, such as fever or chills, then these may be signs that you have pneumonia and should go see your doctor immediately.

Prevention
If you think that your shortness of breath is due to an illness, the first thing that you should do is call your doctor. It may be that they will simply tell you to rest and drink plenty of fluids. However, if they feel that it might be something more serious, then they may refer you to the hospital for further tests.

Treatment
The most likely cause for shortness of breath is asthma. Asthma is an inflammatory condition in which the airways tighten and narrow, making it difficult to breathe. Other possible causes include heart failure, pulmonary embolism (a clot in the lung), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a long-term condition that makes it hard to exhale, so air gets trapped in the lungs instead.