Something More Serious

If you suddenly feel like you can’t breathe, that’s an obvious medical emergency. However, other respiratory problems can become progressively worse with subtle symptoms you may dismiss or learn to deal with.

Ongoing symptoms you should address include:

  • Constant shortness of breath
  • Chronic cough or wheezing
  • Fainting or extreme fatigue
  • Chest pain, especially when breathing or coughing (it can mimic a heart attack)
  • Cough, sometimes with bloody phlegm
  • Rapid heartbeat or breathing
  • Feeling faint or lightheaded
  • Ankle swelling from fluid retention

Common Respiratory Problems

Even if your symptoms aren’t an emergency, it could be a sign of other serious pulmonary conditions. If you always feel like you can’t catch your breath, it could be a sign that your respiratory system isn’t functioning properly. Common conditions include:

While non-life threatening upper respiratory conditions like cold and flu, seem like they’ll go away on their own, they can cause other complications if left untreated.

Can’t catch your breath?

Lung problems can become progressively worse over time. At first, shortness of breath may only occur when you’re active. As the disease advances, you may have trouble breathing after only light activity. When the illness becomes very severe, shortness of breath occurs even at rest.

Keep Your Lungs Healthy

The number one way to keep your lungs healthy is to avoid smoking cigarettes. Even if you’re a non-smoker, second hand smoke can wreak havoc on your lung health. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting immediately. Quitting reduces your risk of lung cancer by 15% and can add 10 years to your life.

It’s not always easy to quit, but your doctor can help you create an action plan and keep you accountable. Your options could include:

  • Over-the-counter nicotine patches or gum
  • Prescription medicines
  • Smoking cessation classes
  • Increasing your exercise routine

Lung cancer screenings can also help detect cancer early and get you breathing clearly again.

Register for a Smoking Cessation Clinic