If you or a loved one have ever experienced breathing problems in the past, then you know that it can escalate from a feeling of tightness, to shortness of breath, to an alarming point if left untreated. Have you wondered how to prevent a recurring problem? Do you wonder at what point you need a doctor? Our specialists can answer your questions.
What are the symptoms of a breathing problem that needs medical attention?
If you are experiencing difficulty breathing or painful breathing, you should seek medical attention immediately.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms along with breathing problems, call 911:
- Severe shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Painful breathing
- Neck pain
- Shortness of breath that grows worse
- High fever and cough
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms along with shortness of breath, see your doctor right away:
- Difficulty breathing when laying down
- Swelling in feet or ankles
- Shortness of breath that comes during activity or exercise
What can cause breathing problems?
There are many different things that can cause breathing problems including problems with the lungs, heart, infection, swelling, anxiety and more.
Some of the common causes include:
- Lung disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) – emphysema or bronchitis
- Blood clot in lung
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Obstruction of airways
- Choking on a blockage in the airway
- Heart attack
- Heart defect
- Heart failure
- Fluid around heart
- Irregular heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
- Collapsed lung
- Fluid in the lungs
- Reaction to high altitudes
- Severe dust
- Hiatal hernia
What tests might be done at the ER?
Your board-certified physician will listen to your heartbeat, check your blood pressure and temperature, and conduct a pulmonary function test, such as a spirometry, to judge rate of air flow and capacity of lungs.
“Patient history is important for diagnosing breathing problems,” said Advance ER physician Dr. Thomas Allen. “If you smoke, have trouble climbing stairs without gasping for air, have an accompanying cough, have asthma, or have a heart condition, we need to know about it.”
Where can I get help?
Advance ER offers rapid results labs, imaging equipment, oxygen treatments and fast access to a pulmonologist that you need when you’re struggling to breathe. “We have the help that you need for a variety of different breathing concerns, but we can’t help you if you don’t come in right away,” said Dr. Allen.
“When you’re in distress, we will help you immediately so you can start to breathe better again,” he said. “From there, we will work to diagnose the cause of your condition and establish a treatment plan that’s right for you.”
Advance ER…the right care in the right place at the right time.
Meet Dr. Allen:
Thomas Allen, M.D., FACEP, is board-certified in emergency medicine. He received his medical degree from Oregon Health Science University, Portland, OR. He completed his internship at the Legacy Health Systems’ Emanuel and Good Samaritan Hospitals, Portland, OR, and his residency at the University of Texas at Houston Herman Hospitals, Houston, TX.
Dr. Allen has been practicing for over two decades and is the Chief Medical Officer and Managing Partner of Advance ER. He and his family are active in their Dallas community and love being a part of the neighborhood.