When Should I Be Concerned About Shortness of Breath?

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When Should I Be Concerned About Shortness of Breath?

Everyone has moments that leave them out of breath. Whether it’s from climbing stairs, exercising, or running to the bus stop, catching your breath is a normal part of life. When shortness of breath has no reason though, you may be concerned.

When you’re at the gym, and you’ve just finished a session on a treadmill, or when you’re congested from a cold or allergies, you expect to be out of breath. It’s another matter entirely when you’re resting, and there’s no reason. Is it a medical emergency, something to see a doctor about, or can you safely ignore it? 

Being out of breath isn’t a normal condition without a cause. It can be a symptom of a wide range of conditions, and some of the most concerning reasons can trace back to your heart and lungs. The ARK Cardiovascular & Arrhythmia Center team in Dearborn, Detroit, and Trenton, Michigan, can help you resolve your breathing issues. We’re shortness-of-breath specialists with the knowledge and technology 

Should I be concerned about shortness of breath? 

The short answer is yes when you have no idea why you’re having trouble breathing. A diagnostic process reviews your symptoms, patterns of breathlessness, and the environment or situation surrounding your episodes. An in-person exam and medical history review typically point to further testing, something for which ARK Cardiovascular is uniquely suited with our diagnostic and imaging center in Trenton, Michigan.

Why do I have trouble breathing? 

Lung disorders are among the first suspects when breathing becomes difficult, and heart problems follow closely. This is because the heart and lungs work together to re-oxygenate blood, so both organs respond when the saturation level in your blood falls. 

Heart issues that may make breathing more difficult include: 

Coronary heart disease

Blockages in the major arteries that supply fresh blood to your body can trigger shortness of breath. Also called coronary artery disease or ischemic disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that this is the most common form of heart disease in the United States. 

Irregular heartbeat

Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), tachycardia (fast heartbeat), and bradycardia (slow heartbeat) tend to stem from the heart’s electrical system. While these conditions don’t always cause symptoms, shortness of breath can arise. 


When the heart muscles deteriorate, breathing difficulties can be a symptom. Cardiomyopathy refers to issues like thickening, stiffening, or heart muscle weakness. These changes make it more difficult for your heart to pump blood.  

Heart failure

Also called congestive heart failure, this is diagnosed when your heart doesn’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs. Heart failure is often the result of other heart conditions, and shortness of breath is one of its primary symptoms. 

Unexplained shortness of breath is a cause for concern until you know the reasons behind your condition. Request an appointment online or call the nearest office directly to set up a consultation with ARK Cardiovascular & Arrhythmia Center today.