Shortness Of Breath

Shortness Of Breath Specialist
Dr. Jayasundera uses cardiac catheterization procedures to observe and monitor heart function. Patients from across New York City can make appointments at any of the practice locations in Queens, Brooklyn and the Upper East Side of New York City, NY.

Shortness of Breath Q & A

by Timothy G. Jayasundera, MD, FACC

Internist BrooklynWhat are the medical causes of shortness of breath?

Shortness of breath is usually caused by heart or lung disorders. This is due to the heart and lungs being essential organs in the transportation of oxygen through the body. Acute shortness of breath can be caused by any of the following conditions.

  • Asthma
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Cardiac tamponade
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pneumothorax
  • Pneumonia
  • Sudden blood loss
  • Upper airway obstruction

Some of the heart conditions associated with chronic shortness of breath include: cardiomyopathy, heart arrhythmias, heart failure, and pericarditis.

When is shortness of breath a medical problem?

Shortness of breath can be caused by a number of conditions including heavy physical exertion, high altitude, or extreme temperatures. However, there are a number of indicators that breathlessness is a symptom of a more serious medical issue. Persistent shortness of breath or sudden and severe breathlessness may indicate a more serious issue. Breathlessness while at rest or lying down or extreme or out of the ordinary shortness of breath from physical activity are also warning signs. Furthermore if breathlessness is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, medical attention should be sought.

  • Chest pain
  • Swelling in the ankles or feet
  • Loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Yellow, green or rusty phlegm
  • Fever
  • Wheezing or whistling sounds while breathing
  • Blue discoloration of lips and fingertips
  • Fainting or dizziness

How is shortness of breath treated?

Treatment will depend on the underlying root cause of the breathlessness. For example, if the shortness of breath is due to heart failure, the patient may be treated with fluid pills, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, digoxin and beta blockers, as well as the treatment to improve the heart function. Similarly, if it is due to asthma or lung disease, medications will be prescribed to reduce the inflammation and spasm of the bronchi. Patients can take care to improve breathlessness by avoiding smoking, avoiding exposure to allergens, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and taking medications as prescribed.

Our Locations

Choose your preferred location