Exhale

The official blog of the Lung Institute.

What is Dyspnea, and When Should It Concern You?

24 Feb 2018
| Under Lung Disease, Medical, Related Conditions | Posted by | 16 Comments
What is Dyspnea, and When Should It Concern You?

Feeling a little short of breath? You’re in the right place.

The state of feeling out of breath can be deeply distressing, and for nearly a third of those with lung disease, it is a condition that is frequently debilitating. In short, we need oxygen to live, and to feel as though that has been cut off—even momentarily—can be a terrible ordeal. Unfortunately, for those who live with chronic lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis or emphysema, this struggle to breathe can be a daily occurrence. Although there are a variety of alternative treatment options available such as inhalers, oxygen, and cellular therapy, for many Americans, shortness of breath (also known as dyspnea) is a symptom of lung disease that can have a significantly detrimental effect on quality of life.

With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to give you the information you need to figure out What is Dyspnea, and When Should It Concern You?

So, What is Dyspnea?

As we mentioned earlier, dyspnea is the condition of feeling out of breath. Although this condition is typically used to describe general breathlessness, in chronic cases, it is most often associated with chronic lung disease. For those who live with lung diseases such as COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema, the feeling of breathlessness can be a continuous source of stress and fatigue. In judging whether or not one has dyspnea—particularly if experiencing it habitually—it is important to refer to a physician as soon as you feel that something is amiss.

In the cases of COPD diagnoses specifically, many Americans are not diagnosed until they have progressed to stage 3 or 4 because the feelings associated with breathlessness are often attributed to old age. If you are feeling particularly breathless after any strenuous or engaging activity, it is vitally important to go see your doctor, describe these symptoms as accurately as possible and get a spirometry test as soon as possible. In treating lung disease, time is a continual factor when looking to save one’s quality of life from further damage.

How Do You Cope with Dyspnea?

In the course of coping with dyspnea, the solution is similar to treating chronic lung disease; it starts with changing one’s lifestyle. For starters, quit smoking. At the Lung Institute, we cannot stress this enough. Quitting smoking is incredibly difficult, and for those who have smoked since they were teenagers and young adults, quitting the habit of smoking is similar to changing a core aspect of your personality.

It’s not easy, and for 80% of people who try to quit, they fail. And that’s okay. It may take a while to quit but the act of trying is what’s most important because continued smoking will only decrease your lifespan. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to drop the habit, the next step is addressing your diet and getting more exercise. Start slow and give yourself room to fail. Missteps and mistakes are okay as long as you stay focused on your goal and pick yourself back up.

When Should Dyspnea Concern You?

What is Dyspnea, and When Should It Concern You?

The problem with COPD and other lung diseases is that they often go undiagnosed until the disease has progressed to a more dangerous stage. In addressing the concerns of lung disease, it’s critical to know yourself and your body. Monitor your body closely and take note when something inside doesn’t feel quite right. Seeking medical help promptly can help you address your condition proactively. If you’ve been feeling out of breath consistently for a few weeks now, it may be time to take a trip to the doctor.

Moving Forward

The feeling of breathlessness or dyspnea can often be debilitating. As a core symptom of chronic lung disease, frequent shortness of breath can have a devastating effect on your quality of life. However, by changing your diet, consistently exercising and quitting smoking, it’s possible to greatly affect the pronouncement of symptoms within those with COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema. When lifestyle changes fail to improve your quality of life in the way that you may expect, it may be time to consider cellular therapy. Rather than simply addressing the symptoms of lung disease, cellular therapy may directly affect disease progression and may improve quality of life. As in the case of Don C., cellular therapy can mean the difference between struggling to get out of bed to getting through his day-to-day activities without oxygen.

If you or a loved one has a chronic lung disease like COPD, PF or ILD, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of adult cellular therapy options. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you qualify for cellular therapy, and find out what cellular therapy could mean for you.

Interested in our article on What is Dyspnea, and When Should It Concern You? Share your thoughts and comments below.

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months of COPD patients.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.