Shortness of Breath

Also known as Dyspnea, shortness of breath may be acute or chronic. Acute causes include asthma (bronchospasm), carbon monoxide poisoning, cardiac tamponade (excess fluid around the heart), heart attack, heart failure, low blood pressure (hypotension), pneumonia, pneumothorax (collapsed lung), pulmonary embolism (blood clot in a lung artery), sudden blood loss, or upper airway obstruction.

Chronic causes may be asthma, COPD, deconditioning, heart dysfunction, interstitial lung disease, or obesity.

Treatment

  • Diet and exercise

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation

  • Cardiac rehabilitation

Prevention

  • Stop smoking

  • Avoid air pollution/chemicals

  • Maintaining a healthy weight

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