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Shortness of Breath: Should You Worry?

By Genevieve Cunningham

If you've ever experienced shortness of breath, then you know how scary it can be. When you can't seem to take a deep enough breath, you might begin to feel anxious and afraid. And then the anxiety and fear make the shortness of breath worse. You might think that shortness of breath has nothing to do with you, but it's actually the No. 1 reason that adults visit the emergency room each year. It's common, and its causes can be wide ranging -- from the very mild to the very serious. So what should you do if you experience shortness of breath? If you've ever felt that tightness in the chest, take a look at what you should do for relief. 

What is Shortness of Breath?

Shortness of breath is a feeling or sensation of not being able to take in enough air. It might feel like a tightening in the chest. It might feel like your breath doesn't fill up your chest. Some describe it as tiny breaths that never really satisfy the need for a deep breath. Though everyone might experience it slightly differently, the underlying condition means your body may not be getting the oxygen that it needs to meet your body's demands.

What Could Be the Cause?

The causes for shortness of breath are incredibly wide-ranging. Most of the time, the cause is mild. Shortness of breath can be a sign of anxiety or a lack of exercise. Some slightly more severe causes include anemia and sinus infections. And more serious causes might include pneumonia, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart problems. The causes are as wide-ranging as the sufferers, and finding the actual cause plus a treatment plan probably requires a trip to the doctor. 

You Need to See Your Doctor

Seeing a doctor is definitely a good idea if you're experiencing shortness of breath. If your pain is severe or is accompanied by other symptoms, a trip to the emergency room might be in order. If yours is mild and nagging, you may be able to call your doctor for advice. But seeing a doctor for this condition should definitely be on your to-do list. Get a proper diagnosis and a plan of action so that you can feel better sooner rather than later.

Shortness of breath is definitely common. But it should still be taken seriously. Take your symptoms to the doctor and get the care you need. With the proper care, you may be able to make a full recovery and feel healthier than ever before. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Clifton Park, N.Y.

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