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July 17, 2016

Shortness of breath is a symptom of an underlying problem or problems, not a disease of its own. There is a whole spectrum of things that can cause people to be short of breath, but it frequently stems from a problem that’s cardiovascular (related to the heart) or pulmonary (related to the lungs).  Potential cardiac causes may be coronary heart disease, heart failure (from weak squeezing ability of the heart or increased stiffness of the heart), valvular disease, or high blood pressure in the lungs.  Potential pulmonary causes may be asthma, COPD/emphysema, or scarring of the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis).

Traditional workup for cardiovascular causes of shortness of breath includes stress testing to evaluate for coronary blockage and echocardiogram to evaluate for stru...

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