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How is shortness of breath (dyspnea) diagnosed?

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Your doctor will look at you and listen carefully to your lungs to diagnose shortness of breath. You might have a lung function test, called spirometry, to measure how much air you can blow in and out of your lungs and how fast you do it. This can help diagnose asthma and COPD.

Your doctor will look at you and listen carefully to your lungs to diagnose shortness of breath. You might have a lung function test, called spirometry, to measure how much air you can blow in and out of your lungs and how fast you do it. This can help diagnose asthma and COPD.

Other tests you might have include:

  • Pulse oximetry. A device is clipped to your finger or ear lobe, and a light on it measures how much oxygen is in your blood.
  • Blood tests.
  • Chest X-ray or a computerized tomography (CT) scan.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). This measures the electrical signals from your heart to see if you're having a heart attack. It also shows how fast your heart is beating and if it has a healthy rhythm.

From: Dyspnea (Shortness of Breath) WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on September 17, 2019

Medically Reviewed on 9/17/2019

SOURCES:

UpToDate: "Patient education: Shortness of breath (dyspnea) (Beyond the Basics)." 

Wonderopolis: "How Many Breaths Do You Take Each Day?"

American Family Physician: "Shortness of Breath."

American Thoracic Society: "Breathlessness."

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on September 17, 2019

SOURCES:

UpToDate: "Patient education: Shortness of breath (dyspnea) (Beyond the Basics)." 

Wonderopolis: "How Many Breaths Do You Take Each Day?"

American Family Physician: "Shortness of Breath."

American Thoracic Society: "Breathlessness."

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on September 17, 2019

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How is shortness of breath (dyspnea) treated?

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