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Cardiopulmonary stress testing can help reveal unusual reasons for these common symptoms – and also shed light on long COVID.

What Causes Shortness Of Breath And Fatigue

What Causes Shortness Of Breath And Fatigue

One of the irritating aspects of some common complaints is the diversity of possible underlying causes. For example, feeling out of breath is completely normal after a bout of vigorous exercise. But for some people, even mild exertion can trigger a feeling of shortness of breath, or what doctors call dyspnea. It is often accompanied by symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness.

Know The Causes Of Shortness Of Breath

Most of the time, heart or lung problems are the cause. In many cases, routine tests – including a chest X-ray, echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart), lung function tests, and blood tests – can uncover the underlying reason for a person’s shortness of breath.

“But sometimes all the results are perfectly normal, or the results don’t completely explain the nature or severity of the person’s symptoms,” says Dr. David Systrom, who directs the dyspnea clinic at affiliate Brigham and Women’s Hospital. at Harvard. This is where cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) can play a role (see “What are cardiopulmonary exercise tests?”).

A standard stress test (also called a cardiac stress test) monitors your heart rate, heart rate, and blood pressure while you walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike. A cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) is more complex, because it collects additional information about your heart and lung function to assess how your body responds to exercise.

During a CPET, you also wear a small sensor called a pulse oximeter on your finger that measures your blood oxygen level. You’re also fitted with a mouthpiece or mask attached to a device that monitors your breathing to see how efficiently you take in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.

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In an advanced version of the test, doctors use thin, flexible tubes (catheters) to insert two temporary pressure monitoring devices, one into a vein in the neck to access the pulmonary artery (which brings blood from the heart to lungs to capture oxygen). and discharge carbon dioxide) and another in the radial artery of the arm. Together, these devices show how well blood and oxygen are being delivered to and used by your muscles while you exercise. The exercise portion includes a short warm-up followed by just five to eight minutes of pedaling on an exercise bike with gradual increases in intensity.

Although the test is invasive, topical pain relievers minimize discomfort caused by catheters. “In fact, more than 90 percent of people who have had an invasive CPET test say the test is not as bad as having a dentist drill and repair a cavity,” says pulmonologist Dr. David Systrom, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard. Medicine School.

At one time, about half of the people referred to the dyspnea clinic who underwent CPET had pulmonary hypertension (a rare condition in which the arteries in the lungs become thick and stiff) or heart failure with fraction of preserved ejection (a form of heart failure resulting from stiffness in the lower left chamber of the heart). “But about five years ago, we also started seeing more patients with chronic fatigue syndrome,” says Dr. Systrom. Officially known as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), this complex disease involves abnormalities in many organ systems, including the nervous and vascular systems.

What Causes Shortness Of Breath And Fatigue

Many people with ME/CFS have unusual circulation problems that occur because the peripheral nervous system fails to signal the large veins in the legs, pelvis, and abdomen to contract and return blood to the the heart. This leads to what doctors call preload insufficiency, meaning the heart’s upper right chamber (atrium) does not fill and reach normal pressure before each beat. This problem is not only pervasive among people with ME/CFS, but also extremely common among people with a condition known as long COVID, says Dr. Systrom.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Symptoms, Treatment, And Causes

Most people who get COVID-19 recover within a few weeks or months. But some experience persistent fatigue, dizziness, palpitations, brain fog and shortness of breath, often described as long COVID. Experts now call this long-term illness PASC, which stands for post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (SARS CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19). PASC, which is more common in young women, usually affects those with only mild infections.

Infectious disease expert and White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has hypothesized that PASC is the same or very similar to ME/CSF, which can be triggered by infections including mononucleosis and Lyme disease. Dr. Systrom and his colleagues (along with other research teams across the country) are using CPET to better understand PASC, hoping to pave the way for effective treatments.

Julie Corliss is the editor of the Harvard Heart Letter. Before working at Harvard, she was a medical editor and publisher of News, a consumer newsletter affiliated with the New England Journal of Medicine. She… See full biography

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What Causes Shortness Of Breath And Fatigue

Fatigue is a symptom, not a disease, and it feels differently in different people. Fatigue from stress or lack of sleep usually goes away after a good night’s sleep, while other fatigues are more persistent and can be debilitating even after restful sleep. Harvard Special Report

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Provides advice and information from world-renowned medical experts who can help you discover the cause of your fatigue and find the appropriate treatment or lifestyle changes.

The best diets for cognitive fitness are absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive alerts from Harvard Medical School.

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive function, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and much more.

Get helpful tips and advice on everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss…from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts. The coronavirus (COVID-19) has symptoms very similar to the flu, such as fever and cough. But flu patients often experience additional symptoms like a runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, headache, muscle/body aches, and fatigue (general fatigue). On the other hand, with allergies, you will NOT have a fever. But allergies can cause a runny nose, nasal congestion, sinus pressure, sneezing, postnasal drip, itchy/watery eyes, and worsened coughing/wheezing in people with asthma.

Medical Illustration Vector Concept,symptoms Of Heart Disease Caused By Heart Valve Disease.swollen Feet Or Ankles,irregular Heartbeat,fatigue, Shortness Of Breath,fainting Or Syncope Flat Style. 25249186 Vector Art At Vecteezy

The main symptoms of coronavirus include fever (100.4 or higher), cough and shortness of breath. Patients usually begin by experiencing a fever and cough, then develop acute or rapid shortness of breath and difficulty breathing a few days later. Very little wheezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, or sinus pressure have been reported. Symptoms occur within 2 to 14 days after exposure to this virus. The coronavirus can be transmitted within six feet of infected patients through their coughs or sneezes. Patients who are at particularly high risk of developing severe coronavirus symptoms include the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

Ways to help reduce the spread of coronavirus include practicing good hand hygiene, avoiding sick people, wearing masks and gloves in large crowds, refraining from handshakes and hugs, and limiting as much travel as possible. Good hand hygiene involves washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with lukewarm soap and water or using a waterless, alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Most patients have fairly mild symptoms and only need plenty of rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications. But those who develop more concerning symptoms like shortness of breath and difficulty breathing require treatment.

What Causes Shortness Of Breath And Fatigue

If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please call our clinic or use the Roper or MUSC coronavirus telehealth testing resources. Have you ever felt like you can’t catch your breath? That feeling of heaviness, of lack of air, that leaves you wondering if you’ve done too much or if something is wrong? Pulmonologist Sandeep Gupta, MD, Health, clarifies what’s normal and what’s not when experiencing shortness of breath, including when it’s time to see a doctor.

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Shortness of breath, or dyspnea, is difficulty breathing at rest or when performing age-appropriate daily tasks. Lack of

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