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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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:
Treatment of breathlessness can start after you are referred to a heart specialist for further tests to confirm the likely cause.
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:
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.
Palpitations: A sensation where you are able to hear your heartbeat.
Treatment: There are 3 modes to manage this.
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.
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:
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:
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.