How Breathing Difficulties Are Diagnosed

Breathing issues can stem from many causes, from everyday illnesses to chronic conditions. If you think you may be suffering from a breathing condition, the first step is to get tested. At Brunswick Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine, we treat a variety of pulmonary diseases. Here, we provide insight into the symptoms of respiratory illnesses and receiving a breathing difficulty diagnosis.

Breathing Issues and Symptoms

Doctor holding x-ray of lungs on tablet

Respiratory illnesses are some of the most common conditions among people worldwide. You may feel their effects during the day, near known allergens, or at night while you sleep. Depending on the condition, your breathing difficulties may range in severity and stem from several causes, such as inherited traits, infectious viruses, and environmental triggers. Some of the most common symptoms of a respiratory issue include:

  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Constant cough
  • Dizziness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Bluish skin tint

The best way to find out more about your breathing condition and the treatments available to you is to visit your doctor. A breathing difficulty diagnosis can help your provider identify the condition, possible causes, and formulate a treatment plan for you to follow going forward.

Diagnosing Your Respiratory Condition

After discussing your symptoms with your doctor, they may perform several tests. A thorough diagnostic examination can help your provider find out if you have a condition like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, emphysema, or lung cancer. Testing for various breathing conditions may include:

  • Chest X-ray: A chest X-ray produces images of the lungs, helping your doctor detect fluid, cancer, heart-related lung problems, and other issues.
  • Bronchoscopy: During this procedure, a thin, flexible scope is passed through the nose or mouth into the airways. It is used to help doctors gain an in-depth view of your lungs and air passages.
  • Complex pulmonary stress test: During this test, the patient is monitored while performing mild-level exercise in a clinical setting. While exercising, doctors evaluate the strength and capacity of the lungs, as well as your heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Pulmonary function test: Using a variety of tools, your doctors can measure overall lung performance. This may include volume testing, blood oxygen readings, or diffusion capacity testing.

Additional Testing for Respiratory Issues

Depending on your symptoms, your breathing difficulties may be caused by a sleep disorder or allergies that yield an asthmatic response. Testing options for these conditions may include the following:

  • Allergy testing: Allergies are commonly identified using blood tests and other methods. These tests are used to identify which allergens you’re sensitive to, making it easier to avoid triggers and receive treatment.
  • Sleep study: If your provider thinks you may have a sleep disorder, you may undergo a sleep study to see if you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder where breathing irregularities occur at night.

If the tests point to allergies and asthma, medications may be needed to manage your condition. If you’re diagnosed with a form of sleep apnea, you may need continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy throughout the night. Wearing a mask that fits over the nose, a CPAP machine can supply a positive flow of air into your lungs as you sleep and help you get the rest your body needs.

Contact Brunswick Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine in New Jersey

For more information about the breathing difficulty diagnosis process at our facility, reach out to Brunswick Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine, which serves patients across Franklin Township and West Orange, as well as Somerset and Essex counties in New Jersey.