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Dyspnea (DISP-nee-ah) is feeling like it is difficult to catch your breath when your body is at rest. It is often referred to as shortness of breath, but it can include other sensations with breathing that vary in intensity. Dyspnea is an underlying medical disorder that should be evaluated by a doctor immediately.
At Dignity Health, our caring doctors provide prompt emergency treatment for dyspnea in Arizona with compassionate, whole-person care in mind. Use our online waiting service, InQuicker™, to select your estimated arrival time to one of our emergency rooms.
Dyspnea should not be ignored. If you are having trouble breathing, call 9-1-1.
The main symptom of dyspnea is difficulty breathing or catching your breath when your body is at rest. Dyspnea does not include breathing discomfort with physical activity.
Additional symptoms that may accompany dyspnea are:
Many medical conditions can cause dyspnea. Some of these are medical emergencies, while others are chronic conditions. Some of the most common causes of dyspnea are:
Our treatment strategies for dyspnea include pinpointing the cause of the shortness of breath and then treating the underlying condition. Initial treatment usually includes giving oxygen through a mask.
You may not be able to prevent episodes of dyspnea entirely, but maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle may help reduce your risk. If you have COPD or asthma, be sure to follow your treatment plan and take medications as prescribed. For asthma, always keep a rescue inhaler at hand.