Why You Should Head to the ER for Shortness of Breath

As Dr. Natalie Shum of West Hills Hospital & Medical Center explains in this video, shortness of breath is always a cause for concern. Whenever you or someone you love experiences it, it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible to find out the cause and get treatment. Although some causes of shortness of breath are easy to manage, others can be life-threatening, which is why it is so important to seek emergency care. Here are some of the potential causes of shortness of breath that require treatment in the ER.

Heart Attack
Shortness of breath frequently occurs with a heart attack, when oxygenated blood cannot be pumped efficiently by the heart. The shortness of breath associated with a heart attack may come on suddenly, or it may appear slowly, over the course of several days, before a heart attack. If you notice that you are becoming winded when doing simple activities like walking across a room or that you have shortness of breath that gets worse when you lay down and improves when you sit up, then get your symptoms checked out in the ER in case a heart attack is to blame.

Pulmonary Embolism
A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that forms in the lungs. In addition to chest pain and a cough, it can cause shortness of breath and rapid breathing. Pulmonary embolism is an extremely serious condition that requires immediate emergency care. Left untreated, a pulmonary embolism can be fatal, so getting a fast diagnosis and beginning treatment as soon as possible is essential.

Anaphylaxis is an immune system reaction to an allergen that can cause sudden and severe shortness of breath. With anaphylaxis, urgent treatment is required to stop the reaction and restore normal body functioning, including breathing. Although an EpiPen injection can put a stop to the initial reaction, emergency care is still required, even if the symptoms have subsided.

Whatever your medical emergency, West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is here around the clock to provide the care you need. Don’t let your potentially serious symptoms go unchecked. Call us today at (818) 676-4321 for answers to your questions about emergency care and the other services we offer at our hospital in Las Vegas .

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