Shortness of Breath Diagnosed and Treated at Mercy Medical Center

The Heart Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

The trusted physicians at The Heart Center at Mercy have expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of shortness of breath. Our cardiologists will conduct a thorough evaluation of your symptoms and will help you determine the best course of action to manage your shortness of breath.

About the Condition

Shortness of breath is not illness or disease. It is most often a symptom of an underlying condition or issue. Shortness of breath can be caused from something as simple and physical exertion, congestion from a cold or strong emotion from a stressful situation. The frequency and duration of shortness of breath can help your physician determine if there is a more serious issue.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Because shortness of breath is a symptom of many heart and lung conditions, it is important to note when and for how long the shortness of breath occurs.

Shortness of breath that comes on suddenly (acute) can be caused by:

  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • Asthma
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Infection
  • Injury around or near the lungs
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Certain medications

Shortness of breath that lasts for an extended period of time, can be caused by lung or heart problems. The possible heart conditions include:

Shortness of breath should not be ignored, especially if you experience it along with these other symptoms:

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Knowing what causes the shortness of breath will help determine treatment options. Your doctor may recommend general lifestyle changes to decrease acute shortness of breath. Lifestyle changes may include:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Limiting caffeine and alcohol
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Managing anxiety and stress

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