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 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 and asthma
  7. Allergy medications: Know your options
  8. Allergy-proof your home
  9. Alpha-gal syndrome
  10. Amniotic fluid embolism
  11. Amyloidosis
  12. Anemia
  13. Angina
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  15. Aortic aneurysm
  16. Aortic calcification: An early sign of heart valve problems?
  17. Aortic dissection
  18. Aortic valve regurgitation
  19. Aortic valve stenosis
  20. Aplastic anemia
  21. ARDS
  22. Asbestosis
  23. Ascariasis
  24. Aspergillosis
  25. Aspirin allergy
  26. Asthma
  27. Asthma and acid reflux
  28. Asthma attack
  29. Asthma diet
  30. Adult asthma action plan
  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. CAM asthma treatments
  37. Asthma and menstruation
  38. Asthma-friendly products
  39. Atrial fibrillation
  40. Atrial fibrillation and managing stress
  41. Atrial septal defect (ASD)
  42. Automated external defibrillators: Do you need an AED?
  43. Avoid rebound nasal congestion
  44. Barrel chest: What causes it?
  45. Blood clots during menstruation: A concern?
  46. Blood tests for heart disease
  47. Mitral valve clip to treat mitral regurgitation: Bob's story
  48. Bradycardia
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  50. 4 Ways to Prevent Heart Attack
  51. Adult congenital heart disease: What patients and families should know
  52. Adult defects
  53. Video: Aortic Surgery: What Patients Need to Know
  54. Ebstein Anomaly
  55. Ebstein Anomaly Part Two: Patient Frequently Asked Questions
  56. Fact or Fiction? Debunking Exercise & Nutrition Myths for Preventing Heart Disease and Risk Factors
  57. Giant Cell Myocarditis
  58. Healthy Heart Numbers
  59. Heart disease in women
  60. Heart Failure
  61. How kidneys work
  62. Jack Long — Live Long, Beat Strong to Find a Cure
  63. Video: Leaky Valve Animation
  64. Leaky Valve Cone Procedure
  65. Living with Atrial Fibrillation- Patient Experiences and Treatment
  66. Mayo Clinic - Holiday Heart Attack and Stroke Risk
  67. Mayo Clinic offers congenital heart care: Marcus' story
  68. Pulmonary hypertension overview
  69. Pulmonary Hypertension Treatment and Research
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  73. Video: Septal myectomy and apical myectomy
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  78. Video: Valve-Sparing Aortic Root Replacement
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  86. Infographic: Cardiac sarcoidosis: A heart under attack
  87. Cardiogenic shock
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  92. Chelation therapy for heart disease: Does it work?
  93. Chest pain
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  96. COPD
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  98. Churg-Strauss syndrome
  99. Coarctation of the aorta
  100. Congenital heart defects in children
  101. Infographic: Congenital Heart Disease and Lifelong Care
  102. Congenital heart disease in adults
  103. Control your portions, control your weight
  104. Anxiety and diet
  105. Coronary artery disease
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  107. Coronary artery spasm: Cause for concern?
  108. Coronavirus safety tips for going out
  109. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  110. Coronavirus: What is it and how can I protect myself?
  111. Coronavirus grief
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  113. Herd immunity and coronavirus
  114. COVID-19 and high blood pressure
  115. COVID-19 and pets
  116. COVID-19 and your mental health
  117. COVID-19 (coronavirus) in babies and children
  118. COVID-19 (coronavirus): Quarantine, self-isolation and social distancing
  119. COVID-19 (coronavirus) stigma: What it is and how to reduce it
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  136. Does older age increase the risk of atrial fibrillation?
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  149. Enlarged heart
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  152. Fasting diet: Can it improve my heart health?
  153. Flu Shot Prevents Heart Attack
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  155. Four Steps to Heart Health
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  158. Genetics and Cardiomyopathy
  159. Getting active after acute coronary syndrome
  160. Getting safe emergency care during the COVID-19 pandemic
  161. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  162. Grass-fed beef
  163. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome
  164. Healthy eating: One step at a time
  165. Healthy Heart for Life!
  166. Healthy heart for life: Avoiding heart disease
  167. Heart arrhythmias
  168. Heart attack
  169. Heart attack prevention: Should I avoid secondhand smoke?
  170. Heart attack symptoms
  171. Heart Attack Timing
  172. Heart disease
  173. Heart disease in women: Understand symptoms and risk factors
  174. Heart failure
  175. Heart failure and sex: Is it safe?
  176. Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease
  177. Slide show: Heart-healthy eating after acute coronary syndrome
  178. Heart murmurs
  179. Heart palpitations
  180. Heavy periods: Can folic acid help?
  181. Herbal treatment for anxiety: Is it effective?
  182. Hidden Heart Attack
  183. HIV/AIDS
  184. Holiday Heart
  185. How do COVID-19 antibody tests differ from diagnostic tests?
  186. Infographic: How heart-healthy people can suffer a heart attack
  187. How to safely go to your doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic
  188. How to talk to your kids about COVID-19
  189. Hurthle cell cancer
  190. Hyperglycemia in diabetes
  191. Hyperinflated lungs: What does it mean?
  192. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  193. Infographic: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  194. Mayo Clinic Minute: Identifying and treating atrial fibrillation
  195. Interstitial lung disease
  196. Iron deficiency anemia
  197. LABAs for asthma
  198. Left ventricular hypertrophy
  199. Legionnaires' disease
  200. Infographic: Living with Atrial Fibrillation
  201. Living with Lupus
  202. Low-phosphorus diet: Helpful for kidney disease?
  203. Lung cancer
  204. Infographic: Lung Cancer
  205. Lung nodules: Can they be cancerous?
  206. Infographic: Lung Transplant for Cystic Fibrosis
  207. Lupus
  208. Lupus: Can it cause hair loss?
  209. Lupus: Can it cause hives?
  210. Lupus affects kidneys
  211. Mayo Clinic Minute: You're washing your hands all wrong
  212. Mayo Clinic Minute: How dirty are common surfaces?
  213. Menorrhagia
  214. Menus for heart-healthy eating
  215. Mesothelioma
  216. Mitral valve prolapse
  217. Mitral valve regurgitation
  218. Mitral valve stenosis
  219. MRI: Is gadolinium safe for people with kidney problems?
  220. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C)
  221. Myelodysplastic syndromes
  222. Myelofibrosis
  223. Myelofibrosis
  224. Myocardial ischemia
  225. Myocarditis
  226. Nasal Cleaning
  227. Nasal spray addiction: Is it real?
  228. Nocturnal panic attacks: What causes them?
  229. NSAIDs: Do they increase my risk of heart attack and stroke?
  230. Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health
  231. Sleep apnea, obstructive
  232. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  233. COVID-19 (coronavirus) drugs: Are there any that work?
  234. Omega-3 in fish
  235. Omega-6 fatty acids
  236. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
  237. Ozone air purifiers
  238. Panic attacks and panic disorder
  239. Parenting and special needs during a pandemic
  240. Peanut allergy
  241. Pericardial effusion
  242. Pericarditis
  243. Photodynamic therapy: An effective treatment for lung cancer?
  244. Planning to travel with atrial fibrillation?
  245. Pleurisy
  246. Pneumonia
  247. Pneumonitis
  248. Pneumothorax
  249. Polycythemia vera
  250. Polyhydramnios
  251. Polymyositis
  252. Polymyositis: Can it affect my lungs?
  253. Polypill: Does it treat heart disease?
  254. Pregnancy and atrial fibrillation
  255. PrEP to prevent HIV
  256. Protein: Heart-healthy sources
  257. Pulmonary atresia
  258. Pulmonary edema
  259. Pulmonary embolism
  260. Pulmonary fibrosis
  261. Pulmonary hypertension
  262. Pulmonary valve stenosis
  263. Put fish on the menu
  264. Coronavirus infection by race
  265. Reactive airway disease: Is it asthma?
  266. Red wine, antioxidants and resveratrol
  267. Reduce your risk of stroke if you have atrial fibrillation
  268. Renal diet for vegetarians
  269. Researchers Develop New Stents for Complex Aortic Aneurysms
  270. Rheumatic fever
  271. Robotic heart surgery treats mitral regurgitation: Ed's story
  272. Robotic or minimally invasive cardiac surgery for adult-adolescent congenital heart disease
  273. Safe outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic
  274. Sarcoidosis
  275. SCAD 2 Social Media as a Lifesaving Link
  276. Sex and COVID-19
  277. Should I make changes to my diet if I've been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation?
  278. Should people with atrial fibrillation participate in physical activity?
  279. Sick sinus syndrome
  280. Silent heart attack
  281. Skin care tips during a pandemic
  282. Sleep apnea
  283. Sleep apnea and caffeine: Any connection?
  284. CPAP masks
  285. Small vessel disease
  286. Sodium: Smarten up
  287. Somatic symptom disorder
  288. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD)
  289. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD)
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  293. Sudden cardiac arrest
  294. Sudden death in young people: Heart problems often blamed
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  296. Super Survivor Conquers Cancer
  297. Tachycardia
  298. Takayasu's arteritis
  299. Telemedicine online doctor visits
  300. Teleworking during the coronavirus
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  310. Treating COVID-19 at home
  311. Tricuspid atresia
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