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Dyspnea Treatment

If your dyspnea is caused by another medical condition, treatment will depend on the treatment for the underlying condition.


There are some things you can do to help keep your shortness of breath from getting worse:

  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid exposure to pollutants and allergens
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Make sure any underlying medical conditions you have are well-managed
  • Avoid physical exertion at high elevations

Other Treatments

Your dyspnea may require medical attention in some circumstances:

  • Emergency medical care: seek emergency medical attention if you have severe shortness of breath that occurs suddenly and affects your ability to perform your normal activities, or if you have shortness of breath that is accompanied by chest pain, nausea, or fainting. These may be signs of a heart attack or pulmonary embolism.
  • See your doctor: see your doctor if you have shortness of breath that is accompanied by:
    • Swelling in the feet and ankles
    • Trouble breathing when you are lying flat on your back
    • High fever, chills, or cough
    • Fingertips or lips turning blue
    • Wheezing
    • A high-pitched noise while breathing (also called “stridor”)
    • Worsening shortness of breath