Difficulty in breathing with or without pain should be fully investigated by a doctor to look for an underlying heart or lung disorder.
If the heart muscle is not pumping effectively this may result in the symptoms of heart failure. If the muscle impairment is mild, breathlessness may occur with significant exercise, but increasing muscle damage causes breathlessness with even mild activity and is perhaps more noticeable when lying down in bed, such that a patient may start to sleep with more pillows than before.
Breathlessness may result from a heart attack as the heart is damaged and may not pump effectively. The larger the scar from the heart attack, the more likely it is that a patient may feel breathless as a result of heart failure.
Other causes of breathlessness:
• malfunctioning heart valves that may narrow and/or leak
• various abnormalities of the heart muscle itself termed “cardiomyopathy”
• cardiomyopathy may be inherited or acquired and there are several causes.