2 doctors weighed in:

What should I do about shortness of breath? I am feeling short of breath, but can breathe. Should i go to the emergency room or just go see my doctor?

2 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Cislowski
Internal Medicine - Cardiology

In brief: Dep;ends on severity

If you have symptoms that are severe, always seek attention quickly.
Call your doctor, and if he is not available, decide whether you can wait or need to go to the er. Never delay.

In brief: Dep;ends on severity

If you have symptoms that are severe, always seek attention quickly.
Call your doctor, and if he is not available, decide whether you can wait or need to go to the er. Never delay.
Dr. David Cislowski
Dr. David Cislowski
Thank
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine

In brief: I

I will get into some specifics in a minute, but will summarize first- shortness of breath can mean a lot of things, many of which are quite dangerous.
So, yes you should go to an emergency room. Now to answer your question in more detail. When i see a patient who is complaining of shortness of breath- i always think of certain disease processes and try to rule them out either with testing, or by historical information and exam. Asthma is common, but unlikely to present in adulthood. Pneumonia is common, usually accompanied by fever and productive cough. Pulmonary embolism (a "blood clot" in the lungs) is often (but not always) preceded by leg pain and swelling, is more common in women, the elderly, people with cancer, smokers and overweight people. Congestive heart failure is usually preceded by heart problems or a history of high blood pressure and often the patient will also have leg swelling. Certainly heart attacks can present with shortness of breath and no chest pain. As you can see, all of these potential problems (and many more) would require a doctor's evaluation as soon as possible.

In brief: I

I will get into some specifics in a minute, but will summarize first- shortness of breath can mean a lot of things, many of which are quite dangerous.
So, yes you should go to an emergency room. Now to answer your question in more detail. When i see a patient who is complaining of shortness of breath- i always think of certain disease processes and try to rule them out either with testing, or by historical information and exam. Asthma is common, but unlikely to present in adulthood. Pneumonia is common, usually accompanied by fever and productive cough. Pulmonary embolism (a "blood clot" in the lungs) is often (but not always) preceded by leg pain and swelling, is more common in women, the elderly, people with cancer, smokers and overweight people. Congestive heart failure is usually preceded by heart problems or a history of high blood pressure and often the patient will also have leg swelling. Certainly heart attacks can present with shortness of breath and no chest pain. As you can see, all of these potential problems (and many more) would require a doctor's evaluation as soon as possible.
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Thank
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