Making breathing easier
A momentary shortness of breath can be startling, but experiencing actual difficulty in breathing can be terrifying. That's where the St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) pulmonary medicine team can help you and your family achieve the life-sustaining respiratory health that you desire and deserve. The SJMO pulmonary physician teams effectively treat:
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).
- Congenital lung abnormalities.
- Chronic respiratory failure/insufficiency.
- Pulmonary sleep disorders (including sleep apnea).
Signs of Respiratory Distress
It not always clear that a momentary lapse in normal breathing behavior is a sign of a greater respiratory problem. Here are some signs to watch for that could indicate a greater respiratory threat:
- Breathing rate. An increase in number of breaths per minute could indicate that you or a family member is not getting enough oxygen.
- Color changes. If the lips, fingernails or inside of the mouth seems to gain a bluish or pale gray color, then the proper amount of oxygen is not being distributed throughout the body.
- Grunting.If a grunting sound is heard at the end of each exhalation, that is the body's way of attempting to keep air in the lungs so that the lungs will stay open.
- Nostrils flaring. Excessive nostril flaring with each intake of breath indicates the person is having trouble inhaling enough oxygen.
- Retractions. The chest sinks too deep beneath the breastbone in an effort to inhale more oxygen.
- Sweating. Increased sweat on head and scalp without increased body heat may indicate that you or a family member may be breathing too fast in an effort to gain more oxygen.
- Wheezing. A high pitched, whistling or musical sound heard with each breath often indicates that the air passage is smaller, making breathing more difficult.
Watch for these signs of pulmonary distress. If you or a family member has experienced them before, be sure to contact an SJMO pulmonary specialist.
To contact an SJMO pulmonary specialist, call our referral line at 800-372-6094.