Dyspnea is a medical condition in which you’re unable to breathe in enough air or catch your breath. It can feel like you’re suffocating or experiencing an intense tightening in your chest.
Sometimes, dyspnea is simply the result of exercising or overexerting yourself. It could also be a sign of an underlying condition related to your heart or lungs if it happens frequently, so it’s important to get checked out by your primary care provider.
There are numerous lung conditions and heart diseases that could be the underlying cause of dyspnea, including:
Other health problems not specifically related to heart or lung diseases that may cause dyspnea include:
When dyspnea is not the result of these more serious illnesses, it’s important to understand why you’ve developed symptoms and to learn how to resolve them effectively. Also, keep in mind that patients with health disorders that can cause dyspnea often also develop anxiety because of their disorder. In turn, the anxiety can cause increasing dyspnea, which does not respond to therapy with medications for the health disorder.
Dr. Anbar and the Center Point Medicine team treat dyspnea based on its underlying causes. If it’s related to a heart or lung condition, you may need pulmonary or cardiac evaluation and therapy to remedy the root causes of your symptoms. However, if your dyspnea is the result of conditions you can manage, such as anxiety related to your health condition, losing weight, or quitting smoking, you can prevent incidents of dyspnea or keep them under control.
The team at Center Point Medicine takes a holistic approach to treating dyspnea symptoms as well, including teaching their patients coping skills like:
The team also uses hypnosis to calm patients of all ages and counseling services to help you manage this health condition. They’ve found that taking a comprehensive approach works well in the treatment of conditions like dyspnea. Additionally, medical research indicates that psychological intervention can be a critical element in helping you manage a chronic pulmonary condition that may be contributing to your chronic dyspnea.
If you or a family member need help managing chronic dyspnea, call the La Jolla office for an appointment or schedule one online.