Feeling like you're struggling to breathe can be a frightening experience, whatever the cause. If your shortness of breath is due to heart problems, fellowship-trained cardiologist Henry Lucid, MD, at Heart and Vascular of Central Texas can help. At locations in Cedar Park, Round Rock, and Georgetown, Texas, Dr. Lucid and his team have specialized diagnostic facilities where they can isolate the cause of your shortness of breath. Call the office closest to you or schedule a consultation by using the online booking tool today.
Shortness of breath (dyspnea) means you can't get as much air into your lungs as you need. You might feel like your chest is tightening so you can't expand your lungs, or that you can't draw in breaths properly.
Often, the air is going into your lungs, but you're unable to extract enough oxygen, which makes you feel like you're suffocating. Shortness of breath may be highly stressful, but if you panic, it can make your condition worse.
If you've been exercising hard, the temperature is excessively hot or cold, or you're at a high altitude, it's perfectly normal to experience shortness of breath. This happens to the healthiest of people and is nothing to worry about.
Shortness of breath is also the primary symptom of asthma, which does require medical attention. If you're a smoker or you're overweight or obese, your cardiovascular system might struggle to deliver sufficient oxygen around your body, which can lead to shortness of breath.
Many conditions affecting your heart and lungs can cause shortness of breath, including:
As some of these conditions are potentially life-threatening, you should always seek medical advice if you have shortness of breath with no obvious cause.
After reviewing your medical and family history and performing a physical examination, your provider at Heart and Vascular of Central Texas might ask you to undergo one or more diagnostic tests. Some of the more common tests are:
An EKG machine records the electrical activity in your heart that regulates your heartbeat.
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound scan of your heart. It creates images showing the internal structures of your heart and the way it beats.
Stress testing shows how your heart functions when it's working hard. Typically, you exercise on a treadmill while your provider performs an EKG or echocardiogram. Nuclear stress testing is a similar procedure, but you get an injection of radioactive material to provide additional clarity.
Finding the cause of your shortness of breath ensures you get the treatment you need. To take advantage of their expertise in diagnostics, call the specialists at Heart and Vascular of Central Texas today or book an appointment online.