A physician will ask you to share your symptoms and medical history. He may perform spirometry, a lung function test that helps in measuring the amount of air your lungs can blow in and blow out. It also tracks the speed with which your lungs perform this task. This test is usually performed to diagnose COPD and asthma.
Some of the tests that he may ask you to undergo include:
· Pulse oximetry: The test helps the amount of oxygen in the blood.
· Blood tests: The test can help determine if you have medical conditions such as anaemia and infection. It may also look for the presence of a blood clot or fluid around the lungs.
· CT scan or Chest X-ray: These imaging tests are performed to see if you have pneumonia, pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung), or any other lung disease.
· Electrocardiogram (EKG): The test is performed to check if a person is experiencing shortness of breath because of a heart attack by measuring the electrical signals from the heart.
· For people experiencing shortness of breath due to asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease), treatments involve taking drugs include bronchodilators such as atrovent, albuterol, Spiriva and serevent. The bronchodilator medications are effective for shortness of breath when a shrinking of the muscles happens and causes narrowing of the lungs.
· For people experiencing shortness of breath because of poor haemoglobin levels in the blood (anaemia), a physician may prescribe supplements to raise increase iron levels.
· When shortness of breath is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed to get relief.
· A physician may ask people with chronic lung conditions, such as COPD, to practice breathing exercises such as pursed-lip breathing and breathing muscle strengthening exercises.
· For people experiencing shortness of breath due lack of oxygen within themselves, supplemental oxygen will be recommended for people with a severe case of dyspnea. Doctors may also prescribe taking corticosteroids, anti-coagulant and diuretics.
If a serious underlying medication condition is causing shortness of breath, then the physician may recommend treatment accordingly.