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Shortness of Breath


Experiencing shortness of breath can be distressing. Identifying the cause is crucial for adequate treatment.

What is a Shortness of Breath?


Shortness of breath - also referred to as dyspnea and breathlessness - is difficulty or discomfort which is experienced when breathing. Shortness of breath can be a symptom of a number of conditions, from a lack of fitness to serious diseases.


The sensation of not being able to take a full breath may happen when exercising, but also when sitting still. Shortness of breath can either develop and increase its regularity over the mid to long term or arise more suddenly.


The symptom can be a sign of another medical condition, but it should be noted that breathlessness does not directly mean lung disease.

shortness of breath condition

What causes Shortness of Breath?

Because the lungs and the heart are vital to the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide, shortness of breath is caused by lung and heart conditions most of the time.

Because the brain regulates breathing, a rise in the level of carbon dioxide in the blood can cause the brain to tell the body to breath more quickly. This can, in turn, lead to shortness of breath. A similar effect can be caused when there is a high level of acid in the blood, from either lactic acid build-up, or an infection.

Following are the most frequent causes of shortness of breath, especially when associated with exertion and fatigue:

  • Heart failure of any cause

  • Coronary heart disease, angina, heart attack

  • Arrhythmias of many kinds, especially atrial fibrillation, tachycardias

  • Heart valvular disease

  • High, uncontrolled blood pressure

  • Pulmonary hypertension/pulmonary embolism

  • Ascending aorta dilatation/dissection

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

  • Asthma

  • Pneumonia (lung infection)

  • Lung cancer

  • Anemia


What assessment do I need if I have Shortness of Breath?

Your doctor will typically ask you a series of questions which are designed to assess your condition, such as any other symptoms, the frequency of your shortness of breath, and when it usually arises. They are likely to use a stethoscope to listen to your lungs and heart, and could conduct further tests such as:

  • ECG

  • Transthoracic Echocardiography,

  • Bicycle Stress Test

  • Pulmonary function test

  • Chest X-ray or Chest-CT scan


What intervention or treatment will be performed for Shortness of Breath?

The treatment depends on the diagnosis.

Treatment may include medications and interventions for several conditions like coronary heart disease or ablation therapy for significant arrhythmias.


What interventions/ treatments does CardioCare offer for Shortness of Breath?


As shortness of breath is a major symptom of cardiac disease of any kind, we are very thorough with our diagnostic investigations and we can offer all minimally invasive treatments necessary according to the diagnosis:

  • Coronary angiogram and Angioplasty for angina and heart attacks

  • Minimally invasive Aortic valve replacement (TAVI)

  • Ablation therapy for all kinds of arrhythmias

  • Interventional renal artery denervation procedures for uncontrollable blood pressure

  • and many more....

  > Schedule your appointment online

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