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Conditions & Services / Shortness of Breath

Cardiologists & Vascular Specialists located in Dallas Fort Worth and the North Texas Region

Shortness of Breath

About Shortness of Breath

When shortness of breath strikes unexpectedly, it may stop you in your tracks and cause a few scary moments as you struggle to catch your breath. The experienced cardiologists at HeartPlace frequently see patients with difficulty breathing since it’s one of the primary signs of heart disease. They perform advanced diagnostic testing on-site, quickly determine the cause of your problem, and implement the treatment you need to regain a healthy life. Don't wait to get help for shortness of breath. Call one of the 30 offices across North Texas, or book an appointment online today.

Shortness of Breath Q & A

What is shortness of breath?

Shortness of breath, also called dyspnea, occurs when you don’t take in enough air. You may feel like you can't quite catch your breath or find it hard to take a deep breath. In the most severe cases, shortness of breath can resemble the feeling of suffocation.

What causes shortness of breath?

You may experience shortness of breath for many normal and expected reasons, such as during physical activities. However, shortness of breath is one of the top symptoms of heart and lung disease.

Nearly every heart problem can lead to breathing difficulties, including:

  • Heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Endocarditis
  • Myocarditis
  • Pericarditis
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias

If your shortness of breath develops from a heart condition, you may experience other symptoms, including palpitations, dizziness, chest pain, and fatigue. 

How is shortness of breath diagnosed?

Your diagnosis begins with a review of your medical history, talking about your symptoms, and completing a physical exam. 

Depending on your exam results, the next step may include blood work and initial diagnostic procedures such as an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, and stress testing.

The results of your diagnostic procedures determine if you need more advanced diagnostics to identify the cause of your shortness of breath. 

How is shortness of breath treated? 

Your treatment targets the underlying cardiovascular condition and may involve a wide range of therapies. Most patients with heart disease can improve their symptoms and slow down the underlying disease by improving lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.

Losing weight and quitting smoking are also essential to protect your heart health and avoid shortness of breath.

Your provider directly treats your heart condition, as well as the chronic diseases that accelerate heart diseases, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension. In many cases, patients need medications in addition to their lifestyle changes.

The team at HeartPlace specializes in many procedures to repair tissues, unblock clogged arteries, and regulate your heartbeat. A few examples include:

  • Angioplasty and stenting
  • Atherectomy
  • Cardiac bypass
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Implanting the Watchman™ device
  • Implanting a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator

Don't struggle with shortness of breath when you can receive comprehensive care at HeartPlace. Call the nearest office or book an appointment online today.