Common Specialities
Common Issues
Common Treatments


Shortness of Breath: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment?

Shortness of breath or dyspnea is a discomforting condition where people face difficulty with their breathing. Heart and lung disorders can inhibit the air from getting fully into the lungs and cause trouble breathing. The problem of dyspnea varies from person to person and the duration of this condition can last for about a few hours to a few days and sometimes to about a few weeks.

Most of the times shortness of breath occurs as a side effect of another medical emergency. Aside from heart and lung disorders shortness of breath can occur as a result of anemia, as a result of hyperventilation or because of smoking habits or pollutants in the air that cause irritation. Dyspnea can also occur as a result of chronic conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis and pulmonary fibrosis.

The signs and symptoms of dyspnea include wheezing, chest tightness, fevers, chills, feelings of breathlessness, headaches, muscle and lung pain, fatigue, bloating and swollen limbs (legs).

If you experience these symptoms it is advised that you seek help from your healthcare provider right away, then on consultation with him/her you notify the doctor of your medical history. Avoid smoking and environmental pollutants, do not share eating utensils with anyone and take warms baths.

How is the treatment done?

Shortness of breath or dyspnea can be treated either with medications or without it. If you are opting for a treatment that does not involve drugs then you would have to go for a ‘pulmonary rehabilitation’ treatment method. This method uses an exercise program that is well-structured. The method also uses in combination therapies, such as making the breathing muscles go through a training process where it will learn new breathing techniques. This rehabilitation method is very helpful because it treats the dyspnea condition even in a situation where the actual underlying disease cannot be cured.

Treatments that involve taking drugs include bronchodilators such as atrovent, albuterol, spiriva and serevent. The bronchodilator medications are effective for shortness of breath when a shrinking of the muscles happens and causes narrowing of the lungs. People who suffer from Asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) are often prescribed to take these drugs. Anti-inflammatory medications are given to people suffering from COPD, asthma and interstitial lung problems where there is swelling of the lung airways and as a consequence there is a contraction of the passage. These medications work slowly overtime to reduce the swelling.

People who experience shortness of breath are generally heard to complain that while this condition occurs they feel a lack of oxygen within themselves. In such a situation giving the patient supplementary oxygen support reduces their condition of shortness of breath. Doctors may also prescribe taking corticosteroids, anti-coagulant and diuretics.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

All those who are experiencing dyspnea or shortness of breath are eligible to go for this treatment. Also, patients who are experiencing dyspnesa as a side effect to a treatment of another disease are also eligible.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

People who are allergic to any of the ingredients contained within the medications mentioned above are generally not eligible for this treatment and should consult with their doctor regarding alternative methods.

Are there any side effects?

Patients who have been prescribed bronchodilator medications such as beta-2 agonists are likely to experience side effects such as muscle aches, headaches, trembling sensations, sudden palpitations and nervous tension. Anticholinergics can produce side effects such as constipation, dryness of mouth, headaches, trouble swallowing, heartburn and throat irritation. Theophylline, another bronchodilator can produce side effects such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, palpitations and insomnia.

Side effects of corticosteroids if used for long can cause side effects such as high blood pressure, weight gain, diabetes, easy bruising, osteoporosis, mood swings, muscle weakness and eye disorders.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

In order to prevent any future attack of dyspnea you need to adhere to certain post-treatment guidelines such as quitting the habit of smoking both first-hand and second-hand and losing weight (as that reduces stress on the lungs and heart). Also, it is advised that you try to take precaution against inhaling environmental pollutants.

How long does it take to recover?

Information not available

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Information not available

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of this treatment can be permanent if the patients adhere to the post-treatment guidelines well. Environmental triggers and other lung infections can once again lead to dyspnea.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Some alternative treatment methods include yoga and homeopathy. The homeopathic medications for dyspnea includes Arsenic album for people suffering from asthma, Antimonium Tart and Ipecac homeopathic medication for shortness of breath that is experienced during coughing, Ammonium Carb and Stannum Met homeopathic medications for shortness of breath experienced by people during walking, Carbo veg and Silicea homeopathic medication for the aged and Lachesis and Grindelia medication for dyspnea experienced by people during the process of sleep.

Safety: High Effectiveness: High Timeliness: Medium Relative Risk: Low Side Effects: Low Time For Recovery: Medium Price Range: Information not available

Popular Health Tips

Cardiac Ablation - Why Is It Performed?

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Internal Medicine Specialist, Secunderabad
Cardiac Ablation - Why Is It Performed?

Cardiac ablation is a procedure that can correct problems associated with heart rhythm. It is a procedure performed by an interventional cardiologist, a doctor who specializes in performing procedures related to the heart. During the procedure, small wires called electrodes are placed inside your heart to measure its electrical activity. When the source of the problem is identified, the tissue causing the problem is destroyed.

Methods of performing cardiac ablation: There are two methods of performing cardiac ablation:

  1. Radiofrequency ablation: It uses heat energy to eliminate the problem area.
  2. Cryoablation: It uses extremely cold temperatures to destroy the cardiac tissue. The type of procedure you will undergo depends on what kind of abnormal heart rhythm you have.

Cardiac ablation is conducted at a hospital by trained staff. You will be given a sedative before the procedure to help you relax. A small and flexible tube will be inserted through a cut into one of the blood vessels in the area. The doctor will use live X-ray images to carefully guide the catheter up into your heart. Sometimes, more than one catheter is needed to perform the procedure.

Why is cardiac ablation performed?

Cardiac ablation is used to treat certain heart rhythm problems that medicines cannot treat or control. These problems may be dangerous if they are not treated. Common symptoms of heart rhythm problems may include chest pain, fainting, slow or fast heartbeat, light-headedness, dizziness, and paleness, shortness of breath, skipping beats, and sweating.

Risks associated with cardiac ablation: Cardiac ablation carries a risk of complications, including the following:

  • Bleeding or infection at the site where your catheter was inserted.
  • Damage to your blood vessels where the catheter may have scraped as it traveled to your heart.
  • A puncture in the cardiac wall.
  • Damage to your heart valves.
  • Damage to your heart’s electrical system, which could worsen your heart rhythm and a pacemaker may be required to correct it.
  • Blood clots in your legs or lungs.
  • Stroke or heart attack.
  • Narrowing of the veins that carry blood between your lungs and heart.
  • Damage to your kidneys from the dye used during the procedure.
  • Death, in rare cases.

Results of cardiac ablation: Although a single cardiac ablation can be successful, some people required repeated intervention. Your doctor will tell if you need any other procedure such as pacemaker implantation to treat complex heart rhythm problems. You may also need to take medications, even after you have had an ablation. Some lifestyle changes need to be made that improve the overall health of your heart, especially to prevent or treat conditions that can cause or worsen heart rhythms, such as high blood pressure. Your doctor may advise you to use less salt, which can help lower blood pressure, increase your physical activity, quit smoking, avoid drinking alcohol, eat heart-healthy foods, maintain a healthy weight, and manage strong emotions such as anger.

Follow your doctor’s instructions about wound care, medications, physical activity, and follow-up appointments. Some people may still have episodes of an irregular heartbeat after cardiac ablation. This is a normal reaction as the tissue heals and should go away with time.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

5300 people found this helpful

Pollution - Know How It Can Cause Chest Related Diseases!

Homeopath, Navi Mumbai
Pollution - Know How It Can Cause Chest Related Diseases!

Chest-related diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, congestion, and conjunctivitis are caused by various factors but off late, pollution has emerged as one of the prime culprits responsible for wreaking havoc on the chests of people. Nowadays, no one is immune from the ill-effects of air pollution. Be it children, adults, or the elderly, everyone is vulnerable to the smoke and toxin-filled air that has led to a rise in chest-related diseases such as coughing, congestion, breathing difficulties and similar disorders.

As, pollution is a constant problem, engulfing every city day after day, one is always prone to chest-related diseases and many people resort to allopathic medicines or home remedies to get rid of these problems. These remedies do provide relief but most of the time, it is temporary. Homeopathic medicine, on the other hand, has been found to be highly effective in treating chest-related problems and disorders. There are a good number of homeopathic medications available out there that can cure these diseases completely and provide permanent relief as well.

Also, these medicines do not carry any side effects. They are totally safe and can be taken by children as well as adults without any fear. The following are some of the common homeopathic medicines that can cure chest-related diseases caused by air pollution.

  1. Phosphorous: This is very useful against problems caused by air pollutants, including conjunctivitis, asthmatic bronchitis, rhinitis, emphysema, and leukemia. It also helps with breathing problems such as shortness of breath, tightness in chest, heaviness, and coughing.
  2. Sulphurous acid: It is very helpful in fighting persistent coughing, hoarseness, chest congestion, and constriction.
  3. Natrum muriaticum: It is effective in treating cold sores, headache, allergy, and runny nose caused by a chest infection.
  4. Sulphur: This works wonders for problems such as conjunctivitis and headache.
  5. Bryonia: It is most suited in cases of persistent coughing, loose cough, dry cough, painful cough, headache, and fever.
  6. Bromium: It is the best remedy in case of dust allergy, asthma, dry cough, and difficulty in breathing while sleeping.
  7. Ammonium Carbonate: This is highly effective in frequent sneezing, plenty of discharge from nose, nose blocking at night, breathing through the mouth, difficulty in sleeping, emphysematous changes in lungs, a sensation of dust particles in the throat, wheezing, dry cough, and choking.
  8. Spongia: It is known to work best against asthmatic bronchitis, dryness of the respiratory tract, rapid short breathing, waking up suddenly at night, and wheezing. It also brings relief in uneasiness caused by sudden changes in atmosphere and smoke.

All these homeopathic remedies have proven to be of great help in curing chest-related diseases and providing long-term relief to patients across age groups. Nevertheless, anyone who decides to take any of these medications should consult a homeopathy doctor first. The doctor will prescribe the right medication after diagnosing the problem. Self-medication should be avoided but if one wants to take these homeopathic medicines along with other medicines, one can do so as the former do not result in any side effect.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

6160 people found this helpful

Shortness of Breath (Dyspnea) - When To Worry?

MBBS, MD - Medicine, DM - Cardiology, Fellowship In Interventional Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology & Cardiac Electrophysiology
Cardiologist, Delhi
Shortness of Breath (Dyspnea) - When To Worry?

There are different types of heart problems like coronary artery disease, congenital heart failure and cardiomyopathy, but their warning signs are the same i.e. shortness of breath. This is the reason why shortness of breath should never be taken lightly and should always be investigated for heart diseases.

Why does shortness of breath happen?
You may not be able to get in enough air while experiencing shortness of breath. Known medically as dyspnea, shortness of breath is often described as an intense tightening in the chest and a feeling of suffocation. This is one of the most frightening conditions experienced by a patient. You can experience dyspnea without any serious medical problems in these conditions

  1. After strenuous exercise
  2. In extreme temperatures
  3. Due to obesity and
  4. In high altitudes

But if you are not in any of these conditions, then shortness of breath is a sign of a serious medical problem usually involving your heart or lungs. These two vital organs transport oxygen to the rest of your body and remove carbon dioxide; hence problems with either of these organs can affect your breathing. Shortness of breath that comes on suddenly called acute, can be due to other causes too like:

  1. Asthma
  2. Excess fluid around the heart
  3. Low BP
  4. Heart failure
  5. Blood clot in an artery in the lung
  6. Collapsed lung
  7. Pneumonia

If you have had shortness of breath that has lasted for weeks, then we call it chronic and its causes can be various diseases of the heart apart from asthma and COPD. There is no doubt that your heart may be in trouble, if you have chronic shortness of breath. You may be suffering from these heart conditions:

  1. Cardiomyopathy or problems with the heart muscle cause symptoms like shortness of breath after physical exertion as well as fatigue, and swelling of legs and abdomen. Patients suffering from cardiomyopathy are at risk of sudden death due to cardiac arrest.
  2. Heart arrhythmias is also called irregular heartbeat, and can cause slow or fast heartbeats. These also have symptoms like shortness of breath. Arrhythmias can cause strokes, heart failure and cardiac arrest.
  3. Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently to meet the needs of the body. This is a potentially fatal condition. One of the most common symptom is shortness of breath with exercise and while lying down. Fatigue is another common symptom.
  4. Pericarditis or swelling of membranes around the heart is also characterised by shortness of breath.

Treatment of breathlessness can start after you are referred to a heart specialist for further tests to confirm the likely cause.

3 people found this helpful

Shortness Of Breath - Can It Be A Sign Of Coronary Artery Disease?

DM - Cardiology, MD - General Medicine, MBBS
Cardiologist, Indore
Shortness Of Breath - Can It Be A Sign Of Coronary Artery Disease?

Coronary artery disease is one of the major killer diseases of the modern society. It is not a solitary problem but brings with it a multitude of issues including obesity, diabetes, stroke, and other metabolic disorders. A thorough understanding of what causes it and how to manage it can help save thousands of lives.

Causes: The circulatory system is mainly made up of the heart and a complex network of arteries and veins. The inner walls of these are lined with smooth muscles, allowing for free flow of blood. Gradually, over a period of time, given the density, the fat from the blood flowing through these vessels settles along the walls of these vessels. This attracts more fat, lipoproteins, and other inflammatory cells and so the process continues. This reduces the diameter of the blood vessels, therefore reducing the amount of blood supply to the target organs. If the target organ is a vital one like the brain or the heart, then it could lead to stroke or heart attacks.

Main causes for coronary artery disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking, diabetes, and stress. Men are more prone than women, and family history and age puts them at higher risk.

Symptoms: Reduced blood supply to the target organ causes the following symptoms:

  1. Shortness of Breath: A person with coronary artery disease will feel short of breath and tired with most activities, even like walking a few meters.

  2. Chest Pain: A strong pressure sensation on the left side of the chest is an indication of coronary artery disease. Known as angina, it comes with stress and goes away once the stress is removed. It could sometimes radiate to the shoulder, down the arm, or up into the jaw also. These are classical symptoms of angina or heart attack and is considered an emergency. Of note, this is often mistaken for indigestion.

  3. Palpitations: A sensation where you are able to hear your heartbeat.

  4. Nausea and Excessive Sweating: Nausea and excessive sweating are also seen during angina.

Treatment: There are 3 modes to manage this.

  • Medications:

  • Surgical Procedures:  Surgical procedures including balloon angioplasty followed by placement of drug-eluting stents and coronary artery bypass surgery are done to manage more severe cases.

  • Lifestyle Change: Lifestyle changes including reduced fat consumption, decrease body weight, stop smoking, increased physical exercise, and reducing stress are highly important in preventing further damage.

Once suspected, coronary artery disease can be effectively managed and the extent of damage controlled using the above techniques.

5 people found this helpful

Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) : Underused Diagnostic Tool?

MD (Physician), MD (Pulmonology)
Pulmonologist, Bareilly
Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) : Underused Diagnostic Tool?

Pulmonary function test (PFT) is a diagnostic evaluation of the Lungs with a primary purpose of Diagnosing the Lung diseases and it's stage, to rationally treat the pulmonary impairment.

Pulmonary function testing has diagnostic and therapeutic roles and helps clinicians answer some general questions about patients with lung disease.

PFTs should be performed & interpreted by a Pulmonologist.

Pulmonary function testing is a diagnostic and management tool used for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Chronic shortness of breath
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
  • Preoperative testing
  • Impairment or disability
  • Also as a tool to monitor the course of Disease (ASTHMA, COPD, ILD) and Individualise treatment plans, including Rehablitation.

Why is it necessary?

Just imagine not knowing Blood Glucose (Sugar) levels while treating a Diabetic patient, similarly Chest disease patients need Pulmonary Function Testing.

Which helps in:

  • Differentiating between Asthma, COPD etc.
  • Correctly Assigning the Stage of Asthma, COPD
  • Choosing the Rationale & Cost effective treatment.
  • Answering the most important question asked by patient, " Doctor I feel better than before, What should be my future medication course?

Frequency of Pulmonary Function Testing:

In most cases, at time of diagnosis and after that yearly (for comparisons with old reports).

Who should conduct PFT & Interpret the report:

Pulmonologist should perform 7 interpret all results of PFT Tests.

Why is PFT underused?

PFT is a speciality test, even today all medical centers treating Chest patients don't have this facility, hence most patients have not heard about it.

Is it a safe test?

Yes, patient has to only follow intructions to breathe in & out.

Will it be beneficial to all respiratory patients?

No, like all tests, PFT is a specific diagnostic tool with limitations.

Please consult your Chest Specialist before getting PFT Testing.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am 29 years old I find difficulty in breathing while taking steps, I don't drink smoke I afraid of lungs issues? Kindly do help me.

Homeopath, Bareilly
Weakness or anaemia may also be the cause so don't panic. Go for a check up and treat accordingly. Take sufficient amount of fluids also as summer also causes weakness. Take balanced diet.

After an hip DHS surgery doctor prescribed me lizokef tablets and after taking this I have shortness of breath, dry mouth, no taste in tongue, burning in anal region, fatigue,etc is this all the side effects of this tablets.

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, DM - Cardiology, Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS - Physician )
Cardiologist, Delhi
Lizokef contains linezolid which is an antibiotic and can cause dry mouth and taste problems, but if you are having shortness of breath post surgery then please consult a cardiologist at once as it cannot be because of lizokef.
1 person found this helpful

My total blood urea level is 13 and vitamin b12 level is 140 I have weakness in body and sometimes feels short breath what should I do.

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, DM - Cardiology, Fellowship in EP
Cardiologist, Delhi
Tests are ok. Take better diet, more rest. Reduce alcohol sugar jaggery and starchy foods. Balanced diet is healthier than restricted modern diet. For more information please consult online. Best wishes.

I'm 23 years old. I have breathing problem. When I take deep breaths, I feel very comfort. What types of foods should I take. Please suggest me. Are there any other way to get rid of this problem.

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
You need to check if you have asthma . Normal ,light foods are to be taken and it should be balanced and should have all vitamins, Take fruits but avoid very cold foods and drinks
1 person found this helpful

Table of Content

What is the treatment?
How is the treatment done?
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Are there any side effects?
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
How long does it take to recover?
What is the price of the treatment in India?
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
What are the alternatives to the treatment?