Shortness of Breath Treatment From Board-Certified Pulmonologists
Shortness of breath—also called dyspnea—is typically described as the inability to breathe deeply or having a tight feeling in your chest. It’s a common symptom of many medical conditions, including heart and lung disorders, which makes it difficult to determine the cause and, therefore, hard to treat. At West Coast Pulmonary & Sleep Disorders Center, our team of board-certified pulmonologists will get to the bottom of your dyspnea to provide the shortness of breath treatment you need. We have facilities throughout Ventura County and provide patient-centric, top-notch care.
What Is Shortness of Breath?
When there is an imbalance in the brain’s demand for breath and the body’s ability to breathe, dyspnea occurs. When this happens, you may feel as if you can’t inhale or exhale as deeply or quickly as your body needs. It’s normal to have shortness of breath while exercising or engaging in a strenuous activity like climbing stairs. It’s abnormal to have shortness of breath when you aren’t doing anything that would dramatically raise your heart rate, such as sitting on the couch or going for a short walk. Shortness of breath can be acute (comes on suddenly) or chronic (developing slowly over many years) and can feel mild or severe.
What Causes Shortness of Breath?
Shortness of breath can be caused by many different medical conditions, including:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and its related conditions (emphysema and chronic bronchitis)
- Arrhythmia and other heart rhythm disorders
- Heart failure
- Lung cancer
- Allergic reactions
Shortness of breath is also a prevalent symptom in people with anxiety and depression, often related to panic attacks. It’s also common in obese individuals and those who are inactive on a consistent basis.
How Is the Cause of Shortness of Breath Diagnosed?
At West Coast Pulmonary & Sleep Disorders Center, our pulmonologists are highly experienced and have multiple advanced diagnostics at their disposal to diagnose the cause of shortness of breath. You’ll begin your journey with us with an initial consultation during which your pulmonologist will review your medical history, learn about the symptoms you’re experiencing, and conduct a detailed physical examination. From there, he or she will recommend the diagnostics necessary to confirm a diagnosis. At our centers, we can perform:
- Pulmonary function tests – PFTs measure how well the lungs work. They can assess how much air the lungs can hold and how quickly air moves into and out of the lungs, among other measurements.
- Imaging tests – X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, and other imaging tests can evaluate the heart and lungs to detect any abnormalities. We can refer you to an imaging center for these diagnostics.
- Six-minute walk tests – This test is used to gauge aerobic exercise capabilities and lung capacity.
- NIOX VERO® – With this tool, we can assess airway inflammation in patients with asthma as well as detect other conditions in which dyspnea is a common symptom.
- Arterial blood gas (ABG) analysis – ABG analysis helps us diagnose respiratory diseases that may be causing shortness of breath, and we can refer you to a clinic for this procedure.
- Point-of-care ultrasounds – To supplement our physicals exams, we often conduct point-of-care ultrasounds.
How Is Shortness of Breath Treated?
Treatment for shortness of breath depends on the condition that is causing this symptom. For example, a patient with COPD may have a different treatment protocol than one with post-COVID symptoms. At West Coast Pulmonary & Sleep Disorders Center, we offer individualized treatment plans for our patients that include follow-up visits to monitor their condition and assess their response to treatment. What’s more, we work closely with our patients’ primary care physicians to manage their condition.
Shortness of breath treatment may entail:
- Medication, such as corticosteroid inhalers and bronchodilators
- Lifestyle modifications, such as practicing breathing techniques, quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight
- Oxygen therapy, which entails receiving extra oxygen through a mask or a tube in the nostrils
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you are experiencing shortness of breath, treatment is just a phone call away. Contact West Coast Pulmonary & Sleep Disorders Center to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified pulmonologists. We have clinics in Oxnard and Camarillo, and also offer convenient telemedicine appointments with our providers.