Shortness of breath always has the propensity to be a medical emergency. As this
West Hills Hospital & Medical Center provider explains in
this video, because there are so many different potential causes of shortness of
breath, getting care quickly is important. If you are experiencing shortness
of breath and wondering what to do, here are some signs that you should
consider emergency care.
Your shortness of breath is severe.
If you have severe shortness of breath, don’t delay seeking emergency
care. Severe shortness of breath could indicate a serious health problem
that requires urgent treatment. Don’t attempt to drive if you have
severe shortness of breath. If no one is available to take you to the
hospital, dial 911 for help.
You have chest pain.
Shortness of breath that is accompanied by chest pain could indicate a
heart attack. During a heart attack, blood doesn’t flow from the
lungs into the heart effectively, so oxygenated blood backs up. This causes
congestion to occur in the lungs, making it harder to breathe. Chest pain
and shortness of breath that happen together do not always indicate a
heart attack—for instance, these symptoms can also happen during
an anxiety attack—but getting an accurate diagnosis is crucial.
You have nausea.
Nausea combined with shortness of breath can also suggest a medical emergency.
When these symptoms appear together, a heart attack or pulmonary embolism
are possible. Getting a fast diagnosis and treatment could be life-saving.
As with chest pain, nausea and shortness of breath can also be a sign
of a less serious condition.
If you have symptoms that concern you, always err on the side of caution
and seek emergency care in West Hills at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center.
Visit our website to see our current ER wait times, or dial (818) 676-4321 for additional
information about our hospital services.