Shortness of breath is the sensation of difficulty in breathing. The sensation may occur while at rest, during an activity or be variable in onset. It may also be associated with other symptoms such as chest pains or palpitations.
There are many causes for shortness of breath. If it comes about while performing an activity it may be the result of an impairment of the heart, its blood supply or of the lungs. Of course, it may just be an expression of a lack of physical conditioning. If it’s relatively new in onset and/or out of proportion to what you perceive as your level of conditioning, you should discuss it with your doctor. If the shortness of breath occurs only while at rest and asthma his not suspected, then it is less likely to have a hear or lung etiology.
All sensations of shortness of breath should be discussed with your doctor. If it is acute/severe in onset you should get an emergent evaluation (i.e. calling 911). However, if it is more chronic in nature then a discussion with and evaluation by your doctor would be indicated. As a cardiologist, Dr. Intel would exclude any potential cardiac source for the shortness of breath. In addition to taking a history and performing a physical examination, he would consider further tests such as a 12 lead EKG, an echo/doppler, bike or treadmill stress test, 24 hours or more extended cardiac monitoring and blood testing. Dr. Insel performs these tests in his office.