Shortness Of Breath After A Heart Attack
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Symptoms Of Poor Blood Flow
Other symptoms of heart failure are linked to the weak flow of oxygen-rich blood caused by the hearts weakened pumping power.
Heart failure patients almost universally experience fatigue and weakness, especially with exertion. This occurs because the muscles are not receiving enough oxygen.
When the oxygen supply is limited, the body shunts blood to the most vital organs to try to keep them functioning. This means less blood flows to the hands, feet and skin. The hands and feet may become pale and cool, and the skin may develop a blue tint.
As heart failure worsens, feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness may appear. They are usually signs of low blood pressure or abnormal heart rhythms. Some arrhythmias may be particularly noticeable when you lie on your left side.
Finally, impaired blood flow can cause drowsiness, confusion and a poor memory. These may be symptoms that heart failure is worsening.
How Can I Ease Or Relieve Shortness Of Breath
You may prevent or relieve shortness of breath on your own. Helpful steps may include:
- Avoiding inhaling chemicals that can irritate your lungs, like paint fumes and car exhaust.
- Practicing breathing and/or relaxation techniques to improve your breathing function.
- Stopping smoking, if you smoke. Dont start smoking if you dont now smoke.
- Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Avoiding activity in times when temperatures are very hot or very cold, or when the humidity is high. If you have lung disease, observe air pollution alerts issued on radio and TV.
- Making sure your equipment is in good working order when you use oxygen.
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Chest Pain And Heart Attack
Chest discomfort or pain may be a key warning symptom of a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms may include:
- Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both shoulders or arms.
- Light-headedness or sudden weakness.
- A fast or irregular heartbeat.
Chest discomfort or pain that comes on or gets worse with exercise, stress, or eating a large meal and goes away with rest may also be a symptom of heart disease called angina.
If you have any of these symptoms of a heart attack, 911 or other emergency services immediately. After you call 911, the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength or 2 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself. Since most of the damage to the heart muscle during a heart attack occurs in the first 6 hours, emergency treatment may prevent damage to the heart muscle and death. For men and women, the most common symptom is chest pain or pressure. Women are somewhat more likely than men to have other symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, and back or jaw pain.
Causes Of Shortness Of Breath
Heart and lung conditions cause most cases of shortness of breath. You may feel shortness of breath for many reasons. Factors can include your overall health, medical history, and genetics. Talk to a health care provider to find out more about why you feel shortness of breath.
Acute Shortness of Breath
Acute shortness of breath can come on suddenly and last for a short period of time. Causes include:
- Increased fluid around the heart
- Panic attacks
Chronic Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath can also be chronic, meaning it lasts for several weeks or longer. Causes include:
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Treating Anxiety And Panic Disorders
Reducing stress and caffeine can also help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders. Talk therapy with a therapist can also be beneficial to help identify the cause and triggers of anxiety or panic attacks and find ways to manage the symptoms. Prescription medications are also available for both anxiety and panic disorders.
What Does Shortness Of Breath Mean
Shortness of breath occurs when you’re not getting enough oxygen, leaving you to feel like you need to breathe harder, quicker and/or deeper. And, if you feel like you’re not getting enough oxygen, your organs aren’t either which can have serious short-term and long-term consequences to your health.
“As mentioned, shortness of breath can be caused by a variety of conditions, ranging from asthma and COPD to heart failure. Your doctor can run the tests needed to help make a diagnosis, as well as offer lifestyle recommendations or prescribe medications that can help treat the underlying cause of your shortness of breath,” explains Dr. Safdar.
For instance, if you are diagnosed with asthma, your doctor may prescribe an inhaler and recommend you quit smoking and avoid other lung irritants.
“One thing to note is that smoking includes anything that results in smoke leaving your mouth vaping and hookah included,” adds Dr. Safdar.
If shortness of breath continues to progress despite lifestyle modifications and treatment, your doctor may refer you to a pulmonologist or cardiologist, depending on the source of your shortness of breath.
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How Is Shortness Of Breath Evaluated
If shortness of breath starts suddenly, it can be a sign of a medical emergency. Warning signs in children are breathlessness with sore throat, croupy cough, or listlessness/lack of energy.4 Warning signs in adults are shortness of breath while at rest and if accompanied by chest pain.4
If you have chronic shortness of breath, your provider may ask questions such as:1
- When did you first feel short of breath?
- How long has it been going on?
- How would you describe it?
- How severe is the feeling of breathlessness?
- Is it more difficult to get air in or out?
- Do you feel this way all the time, or does it come and go?
- What other symptoms have you noticed?
Breathlessness that comes and goes is a sign of asthma.5 Shortness of breath caused by allergies or other common asthma triggers is another sign of asthma. Finally, breathlessness with wheezing indicates asthma.5
How Will A Doctor Determine What Is Causing My Shortness Of Breath
Tests might include:
- Physical exam: This would cover things like taking your temperature and listening to your chest. A fever could indicate an infection.
- Pulse oximetry: A provider uses a finger sensor to see how much oxygen you have in your blood.
- Chest X-ray, CT scans or other special imaging tests: These would suggest a cause of breathlessness if you do not already have a diagnosis of a chronic condition.
- Blood tests: These could show anemia, infections and other conditions.
- Lung function tests: These tests indicate how well you are breathing.
- Cardiopulmonary exercise testing: These tests indicate the volume of oxygen taken in and carbon dioxide let out during exercise performed on treadmills or stationary bikes.
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Diagnosis Of Shortness Of Breath
To treat your shortness of breath, the doctor must determine what is causing it first. You need to let them know how long you have been experiencing the problem, and what makes it worse or better. They need to know if there are any other symptoms and if they are mild or severe.;
Doctors will review your medical history and perform an examination of your heart and lungs. They may also conduct blood tests, CT scans, x-rays, and other diagnostic tests to uncover the underlying cause.;
Indigestion Nausea And Vomiting
Often people begin experiencing mild indigestion and other gastrointestinal problems before a heart attack. Because heart attacks usually occur in older people who typically have more indigestion problems, these symptoms can get dismissed as heartburn or another food-related complication.
If you normally have an iron stomach, indigestion or heartburn could be a signal that something else is going on.
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What Is A Heart Attack
A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, happens when a part of the heart muscle doesnt get enough blood.
The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart muscle.
Coronary artery disease ;is the main cause of heart attack. A less common cause is a severe spasm, or sudden contraction, of a coronary artery that can stop blood flow to the heart muscle.
Is Shortness Of Breath A Heart Or Lung Problem
If youre feeling difficulty in your normal breathing, then youre having shortness of breath. Shortness of breath is medically termed dyspnea. When anybody encounters this breathing problem, get confused with a common question: Is shortness of breath a heart or lung problem?
Shortness of breath or dyspnea results from either lung problem or heart problem, or both and sometimes more!
Its a heart problem when your blood circulation is poor, and the required oxygen is not delivered to the tissue. On the contrary, it might be a lung problem when the gas transfer is poor, and the tissues of your body dont get sufficient oxygen.
As both of these organs are interrelated, its hard to distinguish the actual reasons for your breathing problem. Read the following article completely to get the most logical answer to this question.
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Shortness Of Breath: An Overview
- Shortness of breath, or;breathlessness,;is discomfort or difficulty breathing. The medical term for shortness of breath is;dyspnea.
- Shortness of breath is a common symptom. It may be related to serious diseases, or it could be a result of being out of shape physically.
- Your health care provider should assess whether shortness of breath is treatable with lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or losing weight.
- Serious conditions associated with shortness of breath include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Heart disease
- Blood clots in the lungs, also called pulmonary embolism
Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea can be a dangerous medical condition and requires treatment. Your doctor may recommend losing weight if youre currently overweight, and to quit smoking if you havent yet.
They may also prescribe positive airway pressure. This involves using a machine to deliver oxygen at a slightly higher airway pressure than normal to keep your airways open. Your doctor may also prescribe a mouthpiece thats designed to keep your airway open by bringing your jaw forward.
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Why Am I Short Of Breath
On this page, we explain the different causes that can make you feel breathless.
Breathlessness is a symptom. There are many possible underlying causes. But the main causes are:
There are;other reasons;too.;
If you get breathless on a regular basis, you might have been diagnosed with one of these causes. Often theres more than one. And others can develop over time. If you notice changes in your breathing, tell your doctor. Conditions that cause long-term breathlessness can often be treated to some extent, but some cannot be fully reversed. Its important to learn how to manage long-term breathlessness, so that you can live as well as possible with it.
Shortness Of Breath Vs Normal Breathing
Shortness of breath occurs when your bodys ability to breathe doesnt match the brains orders to breathe. Ordinarily, your airway, lungs, breathing muscles, heart, and blood vessels work together with the brain to maintain sufficient oxygen levels in the body.
Sometimes theres an imbalance between the brains signals to breathe and the ability to breathe. The brain orders the breathing muscles to work harder, and you feel shortness of breath.
In a healthy person, shortness of breath can be caused by:
- Very strenuous exercise
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Allergic reaction
If you have unexplained shortness of breath, especially if it comes on suddenly and is severe, see a doctor as soon as possible. Breathlessness may be more serious if ;its accompanied by:
- Chest pain or pressure
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If You Believe You Are Having A Heart Attack Call 9
Not all of these warning signs occur in every attack. If you experience heart attack symptoms, or recognize these symptoms in another, call 9-1-1 immediately. Remember seconds count, so dont delay. Heart attacks can mimic simple health conditions such as indigestion, panic attack, respiratory infection or sports injury.
Other Causes Of Chest Discomfort Or Pain
Most people fear that chest pain always means that something is wrong with the heart. This is not the case. Chest discomfort or pain, especially in people who are younger than age 40, can have many causes.
Other, more serious problems that can cause chest pain include:
- An infection, such as pneumonia.
- A collapsed lung , which usually causes a sharp, stabbing chest pain and occurs with shortness of breath.
- A blood clot in the lung , which usually causes deep chest pain with the rapid development of extreme shortness of breath.
- Lung cancer, which may cause chest pain, especially if the cancer cells spread to involve the ribs.
- Diseases of the spine, which can cause chest pain if the nerves in the spine are “pinched.”
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
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Other Symptoms Of Fluid Buildup
Excess fluid also can seep through blood vessel walls into other tissues. This may cause swelling in the legs and ankles or abdomen.
Sometimes fluid accumulates in tissues throughout the body. This may be more difficult to spot. However, patients may experience a rapid weight gain of several pounds in a day or two.
Check With Your Doctor
If you have a breathing problem, you need to see a doctor. They will examine you and may want to check your blood or do other tests to find out whatâs going on.
You might want to make notes about how you feel and bring them to your appointment. That way, you wonât forget the important details. You may also want to write down some questions youâd like to ask the doctor. The more your doctor knows, the better.
Johns Hopkins Medicine Heart & Vascular Institute: âShortness of Breath.â
NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: âWhat Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure?â
European Society for Cardiology: âUnderstanding Heart FailureâShortness of Breath.â
American Heart Association: âTachycardia/Fast Heart Rate.â
Mayo Clinic: âPulmonary Edema, Definitionâ âPulmonary Edema, Causes,â âPulmonary Edema, Symptoms,â âCardiomyopathy.â
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Chest Pain Pressure And Discomfort
Most people with heart attacks experience some sort of chest pain or discomfort. But its important to understand that chest pains dont occur in every heart attack.
Chest pain is a common sign of a heart attack. People have described this sensation as feeling like an elephant is standing on their chest.
Some people dont describe chest pain as pain at all. Instead, they may say they felt chest tightness or squeezing. Sometimes this discomfort can seem bad for a few minutes and then go away. Sometimes the discomfort comes back hours or even a day later. These could all be signs your heart muscle isnt getting enough oxygen.
If you experience chest pains or tightness, you or someone around you should call 911 immediately.
Pain and tightness can also radiate in other areas of the body. Most people associate a heart attack with pain working its way down the left arm. That can happen, but pain can also appear in other locations, including:
- upper abdomen
What Is Shortness Of Breath
Breathing is a natural and automatic process of your body. It means the process of breathing is carried out with no effort on your part. But when breathing needs your conscious effort, like youre feeling short of breath and you need to remind yourself to take a deep breath to normalize the situation. Then it could be a frightening moment, especially if you have never encountered this symptom before. After experiencing shortness of breath, you might be thinking:
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Does Your Breathing Difficult Always Indicate A Medical Problem
Some individuals dont have any medical condition yet they feel breathlessness only with a mild exercise climbing stairs or walking on elevated surfaces or by doing mild exercises. Some people have advanced lung disease and dont feel breathlessness.;How to detect your shortness of breath causes then?
Nasal congestion, asthma and obesity can also cause shortness of breath, but sometimes it can indicate heart problems as well.;How to distinguish the cause?
What are the other causes of shortness of breath?
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
Shortness of breath and heart disease
Many people know that chest pain is the major symptom of heart disease, but the shortness of breath is not well known as another major symptom of heart disease.
Shortness of breath and heart disease facts
- People with shortness of breath as the symptom of heart attack are at an increased risk of dying than patients with typical chest pain. .
- The risk is high because those who experience it do not interpret it as a serious symptom of heart disease or heart attack.
- In patients who have cardiac risk factors without any known lung disease, breathlessness may indicate a serious CAD .
Shortness of breath can indicate heart failure
Shortness of breath causes: Coronary Artery Disease
Shortness of breath is a sign of heart attack
Shortness of breath can indicate Tachycardia
Cardiomyopathy can cause shortness of breath
;Why is it important to consult a doctor?