The feeling that you’re not getting enough air is scary and uncomfortable, and it may be a warning sign of a serious condition. At Metropolitan Cardiovascular Consultants, LLC in Beltsville and Columbia, Maryland, board-certified cardiologist Ayim Djamson, MD, is experienced in diagnosing and treating shortness of breath, also known as dyspnea. To find out what’s causing your shortness of breath and get the treatment you need, call or use the online booking tool today.
Shortness of breath, or dyspnea, is the feeling that you’re not getting enough air into your lungs. When you’re short of breath, you may feel tightness in your chest, a “hunger” for more air, or like you’re unable to breathe deeply. You may sometimes find it more difficult to breathe if you’ve been exercising or are congested, but in general, you shouldn’t have trouble breathing.
Dyspnea can be acute, meaning it comes on suddenly, or chronic, meaning you regularly lose your breath. Depending on what’s causing your shortness of breath, it may get better or worse when you lie down. Some people have shortness of breath when they perform movements that are far less intense than a workout, like standing up or walking between rooms.
Don’t ignore shortness of breath. If you have chronic shortness of breath, it’s likely because of a condition in your heart or lungs, and when it comes on suddenly, shortness of breath may be the sign of a medical emergency.
Shortness of breath usually results from a problem with your heart or lungs. It may also result from obesity or being physically inactive, which mean your heart health is at risk. Conditions that cause chronic shortness of breath include:
Sudden, severe shortness of breath may be a warning sign of a heart attack or heart failure.
Dr. Djamson determines if your shortness of breath is the result of a heart condition. He asks specific questions about your symptoms and may order noninvasive tests, including an echocardiogram, which allows him to look at your heart in real time, or a stress test, which measures the effects of physical activity on your heart.
If your shortness of breath is likely the result of a non-cardiac condition, Dr. Djamson may refer you to another doctor, such as a pulmonologist (lung specialist). Dr. Djamson works closely with other doctors in your treatment team.
Treatment for shortness of breath depends on the underlying cause, but no matter the reason for the condition, you’ll benefit from not smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and following any recommendations from Dr. Djamson for good heart health.
To get help for shortness of breath at Metropolitan Cardiovascular Consultants, LLC, call or use the online booking tool today.