Seek emergency care if you have:
- Severe shortness of breath that comes on suddenly and affects your ability to function.
- Severe shortness of breath with a cough, rapid heartbeat and fluid retention at high elevations (above 8,000 feet, or about 2,400 meters). These are signs and symptoms of fluid leaking from blood vessels into your lungs (high-altitude pulmonary edema), which can be fatal.
See your doctor as soon as possible if you have:
- Shortness of breath after slight exertion or when you're at rest
- Shortness of breath that gets worse when you exercise or are physically active
- Abrupt awakenings with shortness of breath or a feeling that you're choking — these may be symptoms of sleep apnea
To cope with chronic shortness of breath, try to:
- Stop smoking. If you've been diagnosed with COPD or another lung disease, the single most important thing you can do is to quit smoking.
- Avoid passive smoke. Avoid places where others smoke. Secondhand smoke can cause further lung damage.
- Get regular exercise. It may seem difficult to exercise when you have trouble breathing, but regular exercise can improve your overall strength and endurance.
Dec. 01, 2018
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