What Is Shortness of Breath? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Shortness of breath, also known as dyspnea, makes it difficult to draw in a full breath. If you exercise regularly or have ever taken an aerobics class, you may have experienced these sensations. While anyone can experience shortness of breath, you should seek medical attention if you have chest pains, recurring cases, or underlying health conditions.

If dyspnea is accompanied by fever or cough, it could be Covid-19, and you should seek immediate medical attention. If you’re looking for an urgent care center in Katy, TX, Preferred Urgent Care can get you the help you need. If you have severe shortness of breath, you should call 911 for urgent care near you.

Causes of Shortness of Breath

Depending on the cause, dyspnea can be temporary, mild, severe, and sometimes long-lasting. If you experience shortness of breath more regularly, it could be a sign of a serious underlying condition, and you should visit an urgent care clinic near you.

Common causes of mild or temporary dyspnea include:

  • Strenuous exercise
  • Asthma
  • Anxiety
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Sudden blood loss
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Choking
  • Heart failure and attack
  • Broken ribs
  • Pregnancy
  • A blood clot in your lungs
  • Collapsed lungs
  • Smoking
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Exposure to allergens

Possible Underlying Conditions

Underlying conditions can also affect a person’s breathing and cause shortness of breath. These conditions include;

  • Heart disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Covid-19
  • Asthma
  • Lung conditions such as tuberculosis or pleurisy
  • Anemia
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

If you experience sudden or acute shortness of breath, seek immediate urgent care near you. Preferred Urgent Care is a registered emergency care center in Katy, Texas.

Symptoms of Shortness of Breath

If you have shortness of breath, you may feel the following symptoms;

  • Sudden hunger for air hunger
  • Chest tightness
  • Feeling suffocated
  • Unable to breathe deeply
  • Out of breath

If dyspnea occurs suddenly or presents severe symptoms, it may be a sign of a serious medical condition, and you seek urgent care near you. If you have recurring cases of dyspnea, you should keep track of your symptoms and associated symptoms. They can help your doctor to figure out what is triggering the symptoms.

When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Shortness of breath is a serious condition that should not be ignored. If ignored, even a mild can progress to a severe or irreversible condition, which is worse for you. Seek urgent care services near you if you experience any of the following symptoms;

  • Dizziness or fainting with activity
  • Severe chest pain or discomfort
  • Breathing problems at night
  • Worsening fluid retention
  • Coughing up blood

Dyspnea Diagnosis

When you visit a medical center, the doctor is likely to ask you a few questions regarding your condition. After that, the doctor will examine and listen to your lungs for possible causes of dyspnea.

In most cases, the doctor is likely to recommend a lung function test, also known as spirometry. This test measures the amount of air your lungs can draw in and out and how fast your lungs can do it.

Other common tests of dyspnea include;

  • Blood tests – mostly these tests check for anemia, infection, blood clots, or fluids in your lungs.
  • Pulse oximetry – here, the doctor is likely to clip a device on your earlobe or finger to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood.
  • CT scan or Chest X-Ray – Tests for pneumonia, blood clot in the lungs, or lung diseases.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) – measures the electrical signals from your heart to check for a heart attack and heart rhythm.

Dyspnea Treatment

After diagnosis, your doctor will administer the best treatment for your condition based on the cause. Common treatments include;

  • Medications
  • Inhaler
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Surgical procedures

If the condition persists or worsens after treatment, call your doctor immediately. Similarly, seek emergency treatment if your condition is accompanied by the following symptoms;

  • High fever, cough, and chills
  • A gasping sound when breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Swelling in the feet or ankles


Undoubtedly, shortness of breath is an uncomfortable condition that shouldn’t be ignored. While it can happen due to various reasons, sometimes normal activities such as exercises, you should always consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

The good news is that it’s can be treated or managed with the proper medical care. You can also manage the condition with various home remedies such as yoga, inhaling steam, and much more.

If you or your loved are concerned about the shortness of breath, you can visit Preferred Urgent Care clinic for urgent care services in TX, 77494.

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