How to know if I have dyspnea and what treatment I should follow

Dyspnea is the sensation of shortness of breath or “choking” referred by the patient.

What types of dyspnea are there?

They are classified according to the situation in which it appears (exertional dyspnea or dyspnea at rest), and also according to the pathology that causes it (dyspnea of cardiac origin, pulmonary pathology, pulmonary embolism, overweight, or anxiety among the most frequent causes).

How can I know if I have dyspnea?

The simple presence of a sensation of shortness of breath or “choking” referred by the patient is already defined as dyspnea.

What is the cause?

The most frequent causes are cardiac (heart failure that causes fluid accumulation in the lung and prevents adequate gas exchange), pulmonary (the most common lung diseases such as pulmonary emphysema or COPD), pulmonary embolism (obstruction of the pulmonary arteries by a thrombus that usually comes from the veins of the legs) and overweight (obesity limits the patient’s respiratory movements preventing proper filling of the lungs).

How is dyspnea treated?

Dyspnea is treated with the treatment of the disease that causes it. If it is of cardiac origin the treatment is focused on the elimination of liquids accumulated in the lung, which is done with diuretic treatment with drugs such as furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide or spironolactone.

If the cause is pulmonary, this pathology is treated with treatment (bronchodilators such as salbutamol, ipatropium bromide or tiotropium bromide, in addition to the temporary administration of corticosteroids during flare-ups). In the case of obesity, weight loss is essential, for which it is advisable to consult a dietician or endocrinologist, and it is sometimes necessary to resort to gastric reduction surgery in cases of morbid obesity.

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What practices are recommended for patients with dyspnea?

In addition to a good diet, exercise and weight reduction, it is necessary to consult a specialist to rule out the presence of cardiac (cardiologist) or pulmonary (pulmonologist) pathologies, as these can pose an immediate risk to the patient’s life if they are not diagnosed in time.