Shortness of Breath

General or Other | General Practice | Shortness of Breath (Symptom)


Shortness of breath has many causes affecting either the breathing passages and lungs or the heart or blood vessels.

Shortness of breath is also referred to as dyspnea. Dyspnea is further classified as either occurring at rest or being associated with activity or exercise. Dyspnea may also occur gradually or all of a sudden. Each of these symptoms help to detect the precise cause of the shortness of breath.


Sudden and unexpected breathlessness is most likely to be caused by one of the following health conditions: (1) a problem with your lungs or airways (sudden breathlessness could be an asthma attack; pneumonia (lung inflammation)); (2) a heart problem (possible silent heart attack without experiencing all the obvious symptoms, such as chest pain and overwhelming anxiety); (3) a panic attack or anxiety (a panic attack or anxiety can cause you to take rapid or deep breaths, known as hyperventilating), (4) other unusual causes (partial collapse of your lung, a blockage in one of the blood vessels in the lung, a collection of fluid next to the lung, a complication of diabetes known as diabetic ketoacidosis). ...