Shortness of Breath : When to see a doctor?
Make a doctor's appointment
Make an appointment with your doctor if your shortness of breath is accompanied by:
- Swelling in your feet and ankles
- Trouble breathing when you lie flat
- High fever, chills and cough
- Lips or fingertips turning blue
- Stridor — a high pitched noise that occurs with breathing
- Worsening of pre-existing shortness of breath
To help keep chronic shortness of breath from getting worse:
- Stop smoking. The benefits of quitting smoking are extraordinary. Once you're tobacco-free, your risks of heart disease, lung disease and cancer begin to drop — even if you've been smoking for years.
- Avoid exposure to pollutants. As much as possible, avoid breathing allergens and environmental toxins.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Take care of yourself. If you have an underlying medical condition, take care of it.
- Have an action plan. Discuss with your doctor what to do if your symptoms become worse.
- Avoid exertion at elevations higher than 5,000 feet (1,524 meters).
- If you rely on supplemental oxygen be sure your supply is adequate and the equipment works properly.