Dyspnea is shortness of breath. It’s a very
common symptom in a lot of illnesses and conditions. People think of COPD or interstitial lung
disease or pulmonary hypertension, but it can also go along with conditions like heart
failure and cancers. And really there can be so much suffering that goes along with
the shortness of breath. It causes anxiety and depression, and dependence on others for
help around the house and doing errands and and it just can make people feel so terrible.
What amazes me about a lot of patients I meet with advanced lung disease is how accustomed
many of them become to the limitations of their breathing. Some of them become very
used to walking ten feet and stopping and resting. And it they at least tell me sometimes
that it doesn’t bother them and some people it does bother. So really it’s taking a very
personal, very patient-focused approach to how does it affect them and how do we help
make it better?