young woman with shortness of breath

I am short of breath during exercise

Racing heart beats (palpitations) come in many forms “flutter / skip beats / heart is jumping out of chest / skips + stops/ all over the place”. It may be fast and slow, regular or irregular or mixture of all.

Shortness of breath at night time

Shortness of breath may also happen lying down and people will sometimes prop up extra pillows in bed to minimise that; on rare occasions it might be necessary to get out of bed and open window to get more air to breath.

Medical assessment and tests

Shortness of breath needs to be assessed by doctor. It may be accompanied by chest pain, weight gain, fatigue on exertion; palpitations, dizziness, swollen ankles. It is important to check for Blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, cholesterol, weight, family history of heart problems.

Investigations include doctor will check pulse, BP, weight; listen to heart and lungs.

Tests may include blood tests (brain natriuretic peptide to see if there is heart failure), ECG, echocardiogram (to look a heart pumping function and heart valves), a stress test and heart monitor; blood pressure monitor. An angiogram may also be needed if the tests are abnormal.

Tests and treatment for Dyspnea

Treatment depends on cause of shortness of breath. It may be due to heart failure which requires water tablets to help heart; or it may be angina and need tablets plus stents / surgery; or it may be valve problem requiring surgery. In most cases treatment requires tablets; exercise program, diet that is tailored to the individual patient needs.