Northwest Houston Heart Center
Cardiology located in Tomball, Cypress, Magnolia, & The Woodlands, TX
Shortness of breath is a frightening sensation that may develop from everyday activities, emotional stress, or lung disease. However, shortness of breath is also a top symptom of heart problems. At Northwest Houston Heart Center, A. Adnan Aslam, MD, FACC, FSCAI, and Roy Norman, DO, use advanced, on-site diagnostic testing to determine the cause and provide individualized treatments that restore normal breathing and deal with the underlying problem. New patients can schedule a same-day appointment. Call the office in Tomball, Cypress, Magnolia, or The Woodlands, Texas, or use the online booking feature today.
Shortness of Breath Q & A
What is shortness of breath?
Shortness of breath, also called dyspnea, is the feeling that you can’t take in enough air. You may feel like you can’t quite catch your breath or struggle to take a deep breath. In severe cases, shortness of breath may feel like you’re suffocating.
What causes shortness of breath?
Difficulty breathing occurs for many reasons, ranging from physical activity and being at a high altitude to having a panic attack. However, shortness of breath frequently signals a heart or lung condition. If you have a lung problem, chances are you also have symptoms like a cough or wheezing.
Heart problems that cause shortness of breath include:
- Congestive heart failure
- Coronary artery disease
- Atrial fibrillation or other arrhythmias
- Structural or valvular heart disease
When shortness of breath arises from a heart problem, you may also have symptoms such as chest pain or pressure, dizziness, palpitations, and nausea.
If your shortness of breath begins suddenly and you also have chest pain or pain that radiates to your jaw, back, or arm, you could be having a heart attack. Don’t wait to get immediate emergency treatment; call 911 right away.
How do cardiologists diagnose the cause of shortness of breath?
Your diagnosis begins by reviewing your medical history, learning about when you experience shortness of breath, and completing a physical exam. Depending on the results, your provider may do additional testing.
Northwest Houston Heart Center offers the convenience of on-site diagnostic testing. A few examples of the initial tests your provider may perform include an electrocardiogram (EKG), cardiac PET scan, echocardiogram, vascular ultrasound, stress testing, and impedance cardiography.
How is shortness of breath treated?
Northwest Houston Heart Center begins your treatment with the most conservative therapy that’s appropriate for the underlying problem. Patients with heart disease may improve their symptoms with lifestyle changes such as eating healthy foods, limiting salt, getting more exercise, and losing weight if needed.
Your provider also treats problems like hypertension, high cholesterol, or diabetes, all of which accelerate the progression of cardiovascular disease.
When you need more aggressive treatment, your provider may prescribe one of many possible medications or devices or recommend a surgical procedure such as:
- Coronary angioplasty and stenting
- Implantable defibrillator
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Cardiac rehabilitation
To get expert care for shortness of breath, call Northwest Houston Heart Center, or book an appointment online today.
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