Dyspnea or labored breathing refers to shortness of breath. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, can occur intermittently or persistently, and may result from a heart, vascular, or lung problem.
If an issue with your lungs has been ruled out, your provider may refer you to a cardiovascular physician for further evaluation.
At Metropolitan Cardiovascular Consultants, board-certified cardiovascular physician Ayim Djamson, MD, specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the heart and circulatory system.
Shortness of breath is a common symptom of various heart conditions, and it requires a comprehensive evaluation. Don’t ignore symptoms such as shortness of breath, which can be a symptom of a serious condition.
Shortness of breath is a frightening sensation. It’s a feeling of inability to get enough air when breathing. Also called air hunger, dyspnea may accompany other symptoms, such as chest tightness. Some individuals describe it as a feeling of suffocation.
It may happen suddenly without warning or during strenuous exercise. Unexplained episodes of shortness of breath require medical evaluation. Dr. Djamson collaborates with specialists in pulmonology to ensure that patients with dyspnea get the answers and treatment they need.
The following are risk factors for shortness of breath:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory infection
An electrocardiogram (EKG), which checks the electrical activity of the heart, and imaging studies, such as computed tomography (CT), may be used to help make a diagnosis. A cardiopulmonary exercise test may be used to help diagnose unexplained shortness of breath. The test provides insight into your heart and lung function.
The test engages both your cardiovascular and pulmonary system to check your heart and lung’s ability to perform under the stress of exercise. The test involves running on a treadmill or cycling on an exercise bike to assess how well your heart pumps blood and your lungs utilize oxygen.
This type of special test is often carried out through a collaboration of cardiovascular and pulmonary specialists.
Once an underlying cause is determined, Dr. Djamson develops an individualized care plan.
Dyspnea and your heart
Dyspnea may be a sign of heart trouble. Many heart problems can cause shortness of breath, including:
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Heart failure
- Mitral valve prolapse
Dr. Djamson performs a thorough check of your heart to determine an underlying cause.
Shortness of breath treatment
Treatment for breathlessness starts with identifying an underlying condition. Treatment may involve medication or surgical intervention to correct an underlying abnormality. These abnormalities can be structural, including valvular heart disease and structural heart disease. Sometimes congenital abnormalities are responsible for shortness of breath.
Dr. Djamson assesses your heart function to evaluate the severity of your shortness of breath, and may collaborate with or refer you to a range of specialists.
If you’re having shortness of breath, don’t hesitate to give our office a call to schedule a visit with Dr. Djamson. Prompt evaluation and diagnosis is key.
We have offices in Beltsville, Bowie, and Columbia, Maryland. Call the office nearest and speak with one of our knowledgeable staff.
Prospective and current patients can also request an appointment here on our website. Reach out to us today. Your heart will thank you.