Why You Get Shortness of Breath During a Heart Attack

Shortness of breath, also known as dyspnea, has many causes that range from minor issues to life-threatening events, such as a heart attack. It can occur during times of exercise, when the body is at rest and during sleep, which awakens the person from slumber. When shortness of breath is one of the signs present during a heart attack, the reason for this co-occurring symptom is related to how blood circulates through your body.

How Blood Travels From the Lungs to the Heart

The pulmonary veins are the blood vessels that transport oxygen-rich blood from your lungs to your heart. If your heart is not pumping efficiently or, in effect, is malfunctioning, the blood tends to pool inside the pulmonary veins and backs up into the lungs. When the heart is not processing the amount of blood needed to meet the fluid output, the fluid begins to collect in the lungs. This fluid clogs the lungs, which restricts air flow and causes shortness of breath.

If you have been experiencing shortness of breath, you should seek the advice of your family physician or cardiologist to rule out an undiagnosed heart condition. However, seek emergency medical care if it becomes severe and/or is accompanied by a sensation of squeezing in the chest and/or pain in your chest, jaw, back, neck, stomach and/or one or both arms.

If you have questions related to the symptoms you have been experiencing or for a diagnosed heart condition, seek the expert medical advice of the renowned cardiologist, Dr. Shervin Eshaghian M.D., of the Beverly Hills Cardiology office by calling our informative staff at (310) 858-6500. We are ready to provide you with unparalleled care and attention that is focused on returning your heart to an optimal state of health.