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.

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June 13, 2020

See also

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  2. Acute kidney failure
  3. Acute lymphocytic leukemia
  4. Acute myelogenous leukemia
  5. Albuterol side effects
  6. Allergies
  7. Allergies and asthma
  8. Allergy medications: Know your options
  9. Allergy-proof your home
  10. Alpha-gal syndrome
  11. Amniotic fluid embolism
  12. Amyloidosis
  13. Anemia
  14. Angina
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  16. Aortic aneurysm
  17. Aortic calcification: An early sign of heart valve problems?
  18. Aortic dissection
  19. Aortic valve regurgitation
  20. Aortic valve stenosis
  21. Aplastic anemia
  22. ARDS
  23. Asbestosis
  24. Ascariasis
  25. Aspergillosis
  26. Aspirin allergy
  27. Asthma
  28. Asthma and acid reflux
  29. Asthma attack
  30. Asthma diet
  31. Asthma inhalers: Which one's right for you?
  32. Asthma: Colds and flu
  33. Asthma medications
  34. Asthma: Testing and diagnosis
  35. Asthma treatment: 3 steps
  36. Atrial fibrillation
  37. Atrial fibrillation and managing stress
  38. Atrial septal defect (ASD)
  39. Automated external defibrillators: Do you need an AED?
  40. Avoid rebound nasal congestion
  41. Blood Cancers and Disorders
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  44. Mitral valve clip to treat mitral regurgitation: Bob's story
  45. Bradycardia
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  47. Aortic Surgery: What Patients Need to Know — Mayo Clinic
  48. How kidneys work
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  52. Mayo Clinic offers congenital heart care: Marcus' story
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  54. Treating Pericarditis
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  56. Video: Valve-Sparing Aortic Root Replacement
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  64. Infographic: Cardiac sarcoidosis: A heart under attack
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  88. Coronary artery disease FAQs
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  91. COVID-19: How can I protect myself?
  92. Herd immunity and coronavirus
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  98. COVID-19 in babies and children
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  102. COVID-19 vaccines
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  189. Infographic: Lung Transplant for Cystic Fibrosis
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  191. Mayo Clinic Minute: You're washing your hands all wrong
  192. Mayo Clinic Minute: How dirty are common surfaces?
  193. Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS)
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  198. Mitral valve stenosis
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  201. Myelofibrosis
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  208. Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health
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  221. Pneumonia
  222. Pneumonitis
  223. Pneumothorax
  224. Polycythemia vera
  225. Polyhydramnios
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  231. Protein: Heart-healthy sources
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  233. Pulmonary edema
  234. Pulmonary embolism
  235. Pulmonary fibrosis
  236. Pulmonary hypertension
  237. Pulmonary valve stenosis
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  241. Researchers Develop New Stents for Complex Aortic Aneurysms
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  243. Robotic heart surgery treats mitral regurgitation: Ed's story
  244. Robotic or minimally invasive cardiac surgery for adult-adolescent congenital heart disease
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  246. Safety tips for attending school during COVID-19
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  251. Should I make changes to my diet if I've been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation?
  252. Sick sinus syndrome
  253. Silent heart attack
  254. Sleep apnea
  255. CPAP masks
  256. Small vessel disease
  257. Somatic symptom disorder
  258. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD)
  259. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD)
  260. Heart disease prevention
  261. Sudden cardiac arrest
  262. Sudden death in young people: Heart problems often blamed
  263. Sulfa allergy
  264. Super Survivor Conquers Cancer
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  266. Takayasu's arteritis
  267. Test anxiety: Can it be treated?
  268. Tetralogy of Fallot
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  273. Transposition of the great arteries
  274. Treating COVID-19 at home
  275. Tricuspid atresia
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