Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does shortness of breath after minimal exertion indicate a cardiac problem?"
I always run out of breath with the littlest amount of activity. This is very frustrating, as I enjoy being very active. I?m beginning to get nervous and wonder if I should see a doctor.
I definitely think you should see a doctor very soon. Significant shortness of breath on exertion is something that should not be ignored. There are many different possible causes. A heart problem is one of them. People with coronary artery disease (blockages) might have shortness of breath instead of chest pain on exertion. People with heart failure or heart valve disease might also complain of difficulty breathing. On the other hand the problem may not be heart related at all. Many lung diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, and asthma can also cause the symptoms you are describing. In any case, determining what is causing this is something that should be done because the treatments for all of the above problems are different. The first doctor you should see is your primary care physician. He or she will take a detailed history of your shortness of breath and determine whether the cause is likely due to a problem with your lungs or your heart. In either case, you likely have some testing that needs to be done. This might include getting an echocardiogram, a stress test on the treadmill, pulmonary function tests (breathing tests), and perhaps even a CT scan of the chest. Please see a doctor this week. Good luck.
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