Few sensations are as frightening as not being able to get enough air. Shortness of breath — known medically as dyspnea — is often described as an intense tightening in the chest, air hunger, difficulty breathing, breathlessness or a feeling of suffocation.

Very strenuous exercise, extreme temperatures, obesity and higher altitude all can cause shortness of breath in a healthy person. Outside of these examples, shortness of breath is likely a sign of a medical problem.

If you have unexplained shortness of breath, especially if it comes on suddenly and is severe, see your doctor as soon as possible.

June 05, 2019

See also

  1. 10 signs you might have amyloidosis
  2. Acute coronary syndrome
  3. Acute kidney failure
  4. Acute lymphocytic leukemia
  5. Acute myelogenous leukemia
  6. Albuterol side effects
  7. Allergies
  8. Allergies and asthma
  9. Allergy medications: Know your options
  10. Allergy-proof your home
  11. Alpha-gal syndrome
  12. Amniotic fluid embolism
  13. Amyloidosis
  14. Amyloidosis: Am I at risk?
  15. Amyloidosis: How do I cope?
  16. Anemia
  17. Angina
  18. Angina treatment: Stents, drugs, lifestyle changes — What's best?
  19. Aortic aneurysm
  20. Aortic calcification: An early sign of heart valve problems?
  21. Aortic dissection
  22. Aortic valve regurgitation
  23. Aortic valve stenosis
  24. Aplastic anemia
  25. ARDS
  26. Asbestosis
  27. Ascariasis
  28. Aspergillosis
  29. Aspirin allergy
  30. Asthma
  31. Asthma and acid reflux
  32. Asthma attack
  33. Asthma diet
  34. Adult asthma action plan
  35. Asthma inhalers: Which one's right for you?
  36. Asthma: Colds and flu
  37. Asthma medications
  38. Asthma: Testing and diagnosis
  39. Asthma treatment: 3 steps
  40. CAM asthma treatments
  41. Asthma and menstruation
  42. Asthma-friendly products
  43. Atrial fibrillation
  44. Atrial fibrillation and managing stress
  45. Atrial septal defect (ASD)
  46. Automated external defibrillators: Do you need an AED?
  47. Avoid rebound nasal congestion
  48. Barrel chest: What causes it?
  49. Blood clots during menstruation: A concern?
  50. Blood tests for heart disease
  51. Mitral valve clip to treat mitral regurgitation: Bob's story
  52. Bradycardia
  53. Mitral valve overview
  54. 4 Ways to Prevent Heart Attack
  55. Adult congenital heart disease: What patients and families should know
  56. Adult defects
  57. Video: Aortic Surgery: What Patients Need to Know
  58. Ebstein Anomaly
  59. Ebstein Anomaly Part Two: Patient Frequently Asked Questions
  60. Fact or Fiction? Debunking Exercise & Nutrition Myths for Preventing Heart Disease and Risk Factors
  61. Giant Cell Myocarditis
  62. Healthy Heart Numbers
  63. Heart disease in women
  64. Heart Failure
  65. How kidneys work
  66. Jack Long — Live Long, Beat Strong to Find a Cure
  67. Video: Leaky Valve Animation
  68. Leaky Valve Cone Procedure
  69. Living with Atrial Fibrillation- Patient Experiences and Treatment
  70. Mayo Clinic - Holiday Heart Attack and Stroke Risk
  71. Mayo Clinic offers congenital heart care: Marcus' story
  72. Pulmonary hypertension overview
  73. Pulmonary Hypertension Treatment and Research
  74. Saved from Transplant
  75. SCAD: A Disease-Specific, Social Networking Community-Initiated Study
  76. Screenings of newborns and athletes for genetic heart disease
  77. Video: Septal myectomy and apical myectomy
  78. Sports Cardiology Program
  79. Supraventricular Tachycardia
  80. Treating Pericarditis
  81. Valve problems in children with heart disease: What patients and families should know
  82. Video: Valve-Sparing Aortic Root Replacement
  83. Broken heart: Can grief damage your heart?
  84. Broken heart syndrome
  85. Calcium supplements: A risk factor for heart attack?
  86. Can vitamins help prevent a heart attack?
  87. Carcinoid tumors
  88. Cardiac asthma: What causes it?
  89. Infographic: Cardiac sarcoidosis: A heart under attack
  90. Cardiogenic shock
  91. Cardiomyopathy
  92. Kinser's story
  93. Caregiving for someone with atrial fibrillation
  94. Sleep apnea, central
  95. Chelation therapy for heart disease: Does it work?
  96. Chest pain
  97. Chronic cough
  98. Chronic kidney disease
  99. COPD
  100. Chronic sinusitis
  101. Churg-Strauss syndrome
  102. Coarctation of the aorta
  103. Congenital heart defects in children
  104. Infographic: Congenital Heart Disease and Lifelong Care
  105. Congenital heart disease in adults
  106. Control your portions, control your weight
  107. Anxiety and diet
  108. Coronary artery disease
  109. Coronary artery disease: Angioplasty or bypass surgery?
  110. Coronary artery spasm: Cause for concern?
  111. CPAP machines: Tips for avoiding 10 common problems
  112. Craving and chewing ice: A sign of anemia?
  113. Cryptogenic organizing pneumonia
  114. Cystic fibrosis
  115. Daily aspirin therapy
  116. Diabetic coma
  117. Diabetic ketoacidosis
  118. DiGeorge syndrome (22q11.2 deletion syndrome)
  119. Dilated cardiomyopathy
  120. Does atrial fibrillation run in families?
  121. Does honey really help with allergies?
  122. Does older age increase the risk of atrial fibrillation?
  123. Drug allergy
  124. Drug-eluting stents
  125. Drummer Beats Heart Disease
  126. Dust mite allergy
  127. Dyspnea
  128. Early HIV symptoms: What are they?
  129. Ebstein anomaly
  130. ED Drugs for Pulmonary Hypertension
  131. Egg allergy
  132. Eisenmenger syndrome
  133. Heart transplant to treat dilated cardiomyopathy: Elmo's story
  134. Emphysema
  135. Endocarditis
  136. Enlarged heart
  137. External Drive: Charles' Artificial Heart
  138. Factor V Leiden
  139. Fasting diet: Can it improve my heart health?
  140. Flu Shot Prevents Heart Attack
  141. Flu shots and heart disease
  142. Four Steps to Heart Health
  143. Gangrene
  144. Generalized anxiety disorder
  145. Genetics and Cardiomyopathy
  146. Getting active after acute coronary syndrome
  147. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  148. Grass-fed beef
  149. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome
  150. Healthy eating: One step at a time
  151. Healthy Heart for Life!
  152. Healthy heart for life: Avoiding heart disease
  153. Heart arrhythmias
  154. Heart attack
  155. Heart attack prevention: Should I avoid secondhand smoke?
  156. Heart attack symptoms
  157. Heart Attack Timing
  158. Heart disease
  159. Heart disease in women: Understand symptoms and risk factors
  160. Heart failure
  161. Heart failure and sex: Is it safe?
  162. Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease
  163. Slide show: Heart-healthy eating after acute coronary syndrome
  164. Heart murmurs
  165. Heart palpitations
  166. Heavy periods: Can folic acid help?
  167. Herbal treatment for anxiety: Is it effective?
  168. Hidden Heart Attack
  169. HIV/AIDS
  170. Holiday Heart
  171. Infographic: How heart-healthy people can suffer a heart attack
  172. Hurthle cell cancer
  173. Hyperglycemia in diabetes
  174. Hyperinflated lungs: What does it mean?
  175. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  176. Infographic: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  177. Mayo Clinic Minute: Identifying and Treating Atrial Fibrillation
  178. Interstitial lung disease
  179. Iron deficiency anemia
  180. LABAs for asthma
  181. Left ventricular hypertrophy
  182. Legionnaires' disease
  183. Infographic: Living with Atrial Fibrillation
  184. Living with Lupus
  185. Low-phosphorus diet: Helpful for kidney disease?
  186. Lung cancer
  187. Infographic: Lung Cancer
  188. Lung nodules: Can they be cancerous?
  189. Infographic: Lung Transplant for Cystic Fibrosis
  190. Lupus
  191. Lupus: Can it cause hair loss?
  192. Lupus: Can it cause hives?
  193. Lupus affects kidneys
  194. Menorrhagia
  195. Menus for heart-healthy eating
  196. Mesothelioma
  197. Mitral valve prolapse
  198. Mitral valve regurgitation
  199. Mitral valve stenosis
  200. MRI: Is gadolinium safe for people with kidney problems?
  201. Myelodysplastic syndromes
  202. Myelofibrosis
  203. Myelofibrosis
  204. Myocardial ischemia
  205. Myocarditis
  206. Nasal Cleaning
  207. Nasal spray addiction: Is it real?
  208. Nocturnal panic attacks: What causes them?
  209. NSAIDs: Do they increase my risk of heart attack and stroke?
  210. Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health
  211. Sleep apnea, obstructive
  212. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  213. Omega-3 in fish
  214. Omega-6 fatty acids
  215. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
  216. Ozone air purifiers
  217. Panic attacks and panic disorder
  218. Peanut allergy
  219. Pericardial effusion
  220. Pericarditis
  221. Photodynamic therapy: An effective treatment for lung cancer?
  222. Planning to travel with atrial fibrillation?
  223. Pleurisy
  224. Pneumonia
  225. Pneumonitis
  226. Pneumothorax
  227. Polycythemia vera
  228. Polyhydramnios
  229. Polymyositis
  230. Polymyositis : Can it affect my lungs?
  231. Polypill: Does it treat heart disease?
  232. Pregnancy and atrial fibrillation
  233. PrEP to prevent HIV
  234. Protein: Heart-healthy sources
  235. Pulmonary atresia
  236. Pulmonary edema
  237. Pulmonary embolism
  238. Pulmonary fibrosis
  239. Pulmonary hypertension
  240. Pulmonary valve stenosis
  241. Put fish on the menu
  242. Reactive airway disease: Is it asthma?
  243. Red wine, antioxidants and resveratrol
  244. Reduce your risk of stroke if you have atrial fibrillation
  245. Renal diet for vegetarians
  246. Researchers Develop New Stents for Complex Aortic Aneurysms
  247. Rheumatic fever
  248. Robotic heart surgery treats mitral regurgitation: Ed's story
  249. Robotic or minimally invasive cardiac surgery for adult-adolescent congenital heart disease
  250. Sarcoidosis
  251. SCAD 2 Social Media as a Lifesaving Link
  252. Should I make changes to my diet if I've been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation?
  253. Should people with atrial fibrillation participate in physical activity?
  254. Sick sinus syndrome
  255. Silent heart attack
  256. Sleep apnea
  257. Sleep apnea and caffeine: Any connection?
  258. CPAP masks
  259. Small vessel disease
  260. Sodium: Smarten up
  261. Somatic symptom disorder
  262. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD)
  263. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD)
  264. Heart disease prevention
  265. Sudden cardiac arrest
  266. Sudden death in young people: Heart problems often blamed
  267. Sulfa allergy
  268. Super Survivor Conquers Cancer
  269. Tachycardia
  270. Takayasu's arteritis
  271. Test anxiety: Can it be treated?
  272. Tetralogy of Fallot
  273. Tetralogy of Fallot
  274. Thalassemia
  275. Infographic: The blueprints to your heart
  276. Thoracic aortic aneurysm
  277. Thyroid nodules
  278. Transposition of the great arteries
  279. Tricuspid atresia
  280. Tricuspid valve regurgitation
  281. Trouble breathing
  282. Tuberous sclerosis
  283. Understanding amyloidosis
  284. Understanding your amyloidosis treatment options
  285. Ventricular fibrillation
  286. Ventricular septal defect
  287. Asthma attack video
  288. Video: Heart and circulatory system
  289. CPAP: How it works
  290. Dry powder disk inhaler
  291. Dry powder tube inhaler
  292. Peak flow video
  293. Single-dose dry powder inhaler
  294. Mitral valve regurgitation
  295. Using a metered dose asthma inhaler and spacer
  296. Obstructive sleep apnea: What happens?
  297. Vitamin deficiency anemia
  298. Vocal cord dysfunction
  299. Von Willebrand disease
  300. Walking pneumonia
  301. Heart failure action plan
  302. What is amyloidosis?
  303. What is meant by the term heart age?
  304. Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome
  305. Infographic: Women and Heart Disease
  306. Working with your doctor when you have amyloidosis
  307. Effectively managing chronic kidney disease