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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Shortness of Breath: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Respiratory System (Lungs and Breathing)

Shortness of Breath

Alternate Names : Dyspnea, Trouble Breathing, Difficulty Breathing, SOB

Shortness of Breath | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

Treatment is directed at the cause. For example, asthma, congestive heart failure, and emphysema are usually treated with regular medications to prevent shortness of breath. Lung or blood infections are often treated with antibiotics. Lung cancer may require surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. People with anemia, or low blood counts, may need a blood transfusion.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

All medications have possible side effects. These may include allergic reactions, stomach upset, and headaches. Specific side effects depend on the medications used. Surgery carries a risk of bleeding, infection, and reaction to any pain medications used. More specific side effects depend on the surgery done. Blood transfusions carry a risk of allergic reactions and infections.

What happens after treatment for the condition?

This depends on the cause of shortness of breath. If the underlying cause goes away, no further treatment may be needed. In these cases, people can return to normal activities as soon as they feel able. Other people, such as those with emphysema, may need treatment for life.

How is the condition monitored?

Monitoring also depends on the cause. For example, people with anemia may need blood tests to make sure their blood counts have returned to normal.

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Shortness of Breath: Prevention & Expectations


Author: Adam Brochert, MD
Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
Date Reviewed: 08/20/01

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