When should shortness of breath worry you? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

When should shortness of breath worry you?

November is pulmonary hypertension awareness month, and a good time to remind folks that a major symptom of that is shortness of breath. But, since most of us are out of breath if we sprint for some distance, what kind of shortness of breath is enough to send up a red flag?

Dr. Victor Test, a pulmonologist with the Texas Tech Physicians, explains

"Shortness of breath is an uncomfortable awareness of your breathing.  When you're doing things you would not expect to get it like getting dressed, or bathing, walking across the road, vacuuming, performing everyday life. Shortness of breath is actually one of the more serious of the medical symptoms people can have. Most people will get very concerned about chest pain. But in a really large study of almost 20,000 patients presenting with chest pain, they found that 2% with shortness of breath had far worse outcomes in terms of heart disease, lung disease, and death than people who just presented with chest pain," says Dr. Test.

He also says the good news is there are many good treatments that can help patients get back to living a long, normal life. But, on the flip-side, if shortness of breath is a sign of something like pulmonary hypertension, it could be fatal if the symptoms go ignored without treatment.

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