Most cases of shortness of breath are due to heart or lung conditions. Your heart and lungs are involved in transporting oxygen to your tissues and removing carbon dioxide, and problems with either of these processes affect your breathing.
Shortness of breath that comes on suddenly (called acute) has a limited number of causes, including:
In the case of shortness of breath that has lasted for weeks or longer (called chronic), the condition is most often due to:
A number of other health conditions also can make it hard to get enough air. These include:
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.