There are health issues you may experience that your regular doctor's office can help you with, but there are other types of health problems that will require more care than this. If you experience shortness of breath that is persistent and will not go away, you should not call your regular doctor to schedule a visit. Instead, you should get to your local emergency room (ER) as quickly as you can. If you do not have a ride there, call an ambulance. Here are a few things to understand about the causes of shortness of breath.
It Can Occur From Pre-Existing Conditions
If you have a medical condition that causes shortness of breath, you may not need to visit the ER if you have a way to even out your breathing. For example, if you have asthma, you may experience shortness of breath from certain activities you do. If so, you probably have an inhaler you can use to help you regulate your breathing. If you use the inhaler and are still experiencing problems with shortness of breath, you should go to the ER.
COPD is another health problem that can lead to shortness of breath. If you have this health condition and experience breathing problems often, your doctor might recommend using oxygen to help. There are a number of other health problems that may also cause shortness of breath. If you do not have a known health problem and have shortness of breath, it could be the result of a heart or lung problem.
Heart Problems Can Cause Shortness Of Breath
Anytime you find it difficult to breathe, it could be a result of a heart problem. Heart problems are more likely to affect people who are older, but they can affect people of all ages too. Problems with your heart can be very minor or very serious, but you should always have your heart and body examined when you experience any type of shortness of breath. Some of the heart problems that can cause shortness of breath include heart failure, heart attacks, and pericarditis, but there are a variety of others too.
To find out if your heart is causing you to have problems breathing, the doctor in the ER may run a variety of tests. This may include blood tests, but it may also include running and echocardiogram, stress test, and EKG. These tests are all designed to determine the health of the heart and can locate any types of problems that might exist.
Lung Problems Can Also Cause This
The heart and lungs work together to allow you to breathe and bring oxygen to your heart and other parts of the body. Because of this, the doctor may want to check the condition of your lungs to find out if this may have something to do with the symptoms you are experiencing. Your doctor might check you for several common lung conditions, including pleurisy, pulmonary edema, and pulmonary hypertension. To locate any problems in your lungs, the doctor might take chest x-rays or perform a CT scan.
While lung or heart problems can be very serious, there are certain conditions that can cause breathing problems that are not as serious. Allergies, for example, may cause you to have trouble breathing. There are many others too, but you will not know what is causing this until you visit a doctor.
Going to an emergency room may seem silly if you are experiencing minor problems with shortness of breath, but it could save your life. If you are having any problems like this, call an ambulance or get a ride to the ER quickly.