Dyspnea: What Is It and How Is It Diagnosed?

Even mild shortness of breath can create a sense of panic, especially when you don’t know what’s causing it.

Board-certified internist and expert pulmonologist, Dr. Benjamin Laracuente, leads a team of dedicated medical professionals at Tristate Pulmonary Medical Practice in Monaca, Pennsylvania. 

Our goal at Tristate is to serve the residents of Beaver County and the greater Pittsburgh metropolitan region with the highest quality health care available in an environment that fosters long-term relationships with our patients.

Widely respected for his medical skills and diagnostic expertise, Dr. Laracuente has a specialist’s understanding of the many potential causes of dyspnea. He’s happy to provide insight about dyspnea and the importance of accurately diagnosing the cause of your symptoms.

What is dyspnea?

Dyspnea is the medical term for shortness of breath. It’s a symptom rather than a disease and is frequently described as:

Anxiety is one of the triggers for shortness of breath which also induces worsening anxiety and even a sense of panic as your body responds to a lack of oxygen.

What causes dyspnea?

Dyspnea is a common symptom of several conditions. Periodic dyspnea, for instance, might be related to:

The shortness of breath in these cases is typically brief and often resolves with rest, symptomatic treatment for colds, or longer-term solutions such as improved physical conditioning.

Conditions linked to frequent, persistent, or worsening dyspnea is long and may include:

This is only a partial list of the many conditions that can cause dyspnea. An accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause is vital to developing an effective treatment strategy for shortness of breath.

Diagnosing dyspnea

At Tristate Pulmonary, we offer the latest in diagnostic pulmonary function testing (PFT). These painless studies are non-invasive and performed here in our facility. They help us determine your ability to move air into and out of your lungs and pinpoint the underlying cause of your shortness of breath.

As part of your pulmonary function testing, we can also measure how forcefully you move air out of your lungs, which impacts your ability to fill your lungs with fresh air. We also determine how much oxygen is entering your circulatory system as you breathe, where it’s used to maintain normal, life-sustaining functions throughout the organs of your body.

For further information regarding the underlying cause of your dyspnea, Dr. Laracuente may also recommend pulmonary stress testing. This diagnostic tool helps determine how much air you move in and out of your lungs during physical activity and how well your lungs, heart, and other muscles function during exercise.

The detailed results of these studies provide Dr. Laracuente with the information he needs to develop a personalized treatment strategy that relieves your shortness of breath and addresses the condition responsible for your symptoms.

To learn more about dyspnea, how it’s diagnosed, and what it might indicate about your overall health, schedule a visit at Tristate Pulmonary Medical Clinic today.

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