Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Could my shortness of breath be due to a heart arrhythmia?"
Friend told me that my shortness of breath and fast pulse could be an arrhythmia. Is there an easy way to get a test and find out if that's my problem?
If you are having symptoms like this, you need to get in to see your primary care doctor right away. There are, of course, many potential causes of shortness of breath, include asthma, allergies, and simply being out of shape! However, problems with the heart definitely need to be excluded. When you go to your doctor, make sure to mention any serious symptoms which might point to a heart problem. These include dizziness or passing out, trouble with exercise, chest pain, palpitations, trouble lying flat, or swelling in your legs and ankles. Your doctor will perform a complete examination, including taking a close listen to your heart and checking out the other parts of your body as well. If anything turns up, they may want to order additional testing, which could include blood work, x-rays, an electrocardiogram (an electrical monitoring of your heart), or an echocardiogram (an ultrasound of your heart). These tests will help your doctor determine whether there is any thing at all going on with your heart and, if so, what the diagnosis is and what sorts of treatments might be needed. Please make an appointment right away - these symptoms should be evaluated as soon as possible.
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