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Online Medical Symptom Checker  Symptoms & Signs Index
   Shortness of Breath
 
Definition:
Breathing difficulties involve A sensation of uncomfortable or difficult breathing or a feeling of not getting enough air.
 
Medical terms related to shortness of breath :
Dyspnea, Shortness of breath, Breathlessness, Difficulty breathing, Orthopnea
 
Common causes of shortness of breath: 
o Anxiety
o Obesity
o Congestive heart failure (CHF)
o Cigarette smoking
o Asthma
o Emphysema
o Coronary artery disease
o Heart attack (myocardial infarction, MI)
o Interstitial lung disease
o Infections (pneumonia, acute bronchitis from bacteria, viruses, etc.)
o Compression of the chest wall
o Rapid ascent to high altitudes, with less oxygen in the air
o Airway obstruction
o Inhalation of a foreign body
o Dust-laden environment
o Allergies (e.g. mold, dander, or pollen)
o Heart arrhythmias (e.g. Atrial fibrillation, AF)
o Deconditioning (lack of exercise)
o Panic attacks

Other Causes of shortness of breath:
o Chest Muscle Diseases:
Muscular dystrophy, polymyositis, and dermatomyositis
o
Neurologic diseases:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, stroke
o Pulmonary hypertension
o Lung cancer or cancer matastasis to the lung
o Radiotherapy
o Chemotherapy
o Occupational toxicities ( e.g. asbestosis)
o Sarcoidosis
o Connective tissue diseases:
Rheumatoid arthritis(RA), Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
o Fungal infections:
Histoplasmosis, coccidiomycosis, blastomycosis, aspergillosis)

 

Call 911 or go to the hospital if shortness of breath is accompanied by: 
o Sudden difficulty in breathing
o Inability to talk
o Confusion

 
Call your doctor if shortness of breath is accompanied by: 
o Chest discomfort
o Shortness of breath at rest
o Shortness of breath that wakes you up at night
o Wheezing
o Foreign object aspiration or ingestion
o Tightness in the throat or a barking, croupy cough
o Development of a fever or a significant cough

 
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include: 
o Blood tests including arterial blood gases (ABG)
o Measurement of blood oxygen saturation (pulse oximetry)
o ECG
o Chest x-ray
o Pulmonary function tests (PFT)
o Exercise testing ( Stress test )
o Chest CT Scan
o Echocardiogram

 
Medications for shortness of breath may include: 
o Triamcinolone Acetonide Inhaler, Azmacort
o Zafirlukast, Accolate
o Beclomethasone Dipropionate Inhaler, Vanceril
o Albuterol And Ipratropium Inhaler, Combivent
o Albuterol, Ventolin, Proventil
o Cromolyn, Nasalcrom, Intal, Opticrom
o Ipratropium Bromide Inhaler, Atrovent
o Prednisone, Deltasone, Liquid Pred
o Salmeterol, Serevent
o Fluticasone And Salmeterol Oral Inhaler, Advair Diskus
o Fluticasone Propionate Oral Inhaler, Flovent
   
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Diagnosis of shortness of breath, Reasons of shortness of breath, Prevention of shortness of breath, Definition of shortness of breath, Treatments for shortness of breath


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