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. After COVID-19 vaccination: Is it OK to visit with loved ones?
  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. Anemia
  15. Angina
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  17. Aortic aneurysm
  18. Aortic calcification: An early sign of heart valve problems?
  19. Aortic dissection
  20. Aortic valve regurgitation
  21. Aortic valve stenosis
  22. Aplastic anemia
  23. ARDS
  24. Asbestosis
  25. Ascariasis
  26. Aspergillosis
  27. Aspirin allergy
  28. Asthma
  29. Asthma and acid reflux
  30. Asthma attack
  31. Asthma diet
  32. Asthma inhalers: Which one's right for you?
  33. Asthma: Colds and flu
  34. Asthma medications
  35. Asthma: Testing and diagnosis
  36. Asthma treatment: 3 steps
  37. Asthma treatment: Do complementary and alternative approaches work?
  38. Asthma and menstruation
  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. Blood clots during menstruation: A concern?
  45. Blood tests for heart disease
  46. Mitral valve clip to treat mitral regurgitation: Bob's story
  47. Bradycardia
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  49. 4 Ways to Prevent Heart Attack
  50. Adult Congenital Heart Defects
  51. Adult congenital heart disease: What patients and families should know
  52. Aortic Surgery: What Patients Need to Know — Mayo Clinic
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  56. Giant Cell Myocarditis
  57. Healthy Heart Numbers
  58. Heart disease in women
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  76. Video: Valve-Sparing Aortic Root Replacement
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  99. Congenital heart defects in children
  100. Infographic: Congenital Heart Disease and Lifelong Care
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  102. Congenital heart defects FAQs
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  104. Coronary artery disease
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  106. Coronary artery spasm: Cause for concern?
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  108. COVID-19: How can I protect myself?
  109. Herd immunity and coronavirus
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  111. COVID-19 and your mental health
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  113. COVID-19 (coronavirus) drugs: Are there any that work?
  114. COVID-19 (coronavirus) in babies and children
  115. Long-term effects of COVID-19
  116. COVID-19 (coronavirus) travel advice
  117. COVID-19 vaccines for kids: What you need to know
  118. COVID-19 vaccines
  119. COVID-19 variant
  120. COVID-19 vs. flu: Similarities and differences
  121. COVID-19: Who's at higher risk of serious symptoms?
  122. CPAP machines: Tips for avoiding 10 common problems
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  126. Debunking coronavirus myths
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  129. Different COVID-19 vaccines
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  149. Flu Shot Prevents Heart Attack
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  160. Healthy Heart for Life!
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  168. Heart failure
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  170. Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease
  171. Slide show: Heart-healthy eating after acute coronary syndrome
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  187. Infographic: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  188. Mayo Clinic Minute: Identifying and treating atrial fibrillation
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  190. Iron deficiency anemia
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  192. Kidney disease FAQs
  193. LABAs for asthma
  194. Left ventricular hypertrophy
  195. Legionnaires' disease
  196. Infographic: Living with Atrial Fibrillation
  197. Living with Lupus
  198. Low-phosphorus diet: Helpful for kidney disease?
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  200. Infographic: Lung Cancer
  201. Lung nodules: Can they be cancerous?
  202. Infographic: Lung Transplant for Cystic Fibrosis
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  204. Lupus: Can it cause hair loss?
  205. Lupus: Can it cause hives?
  206. Lupus affects kidneys
  207. Mayo Clinic Minute: You're washing your hands all wrong
  208. Mayo Clinic Minute: How dirty are common surfaces?
  209. Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS)
  210. Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding)
  211. Menus for heart-healthy eating
  212. Mesothelioma
  213. Mitral valve prolapse
  214. Mitral valve regurgitation
  215. Mitral valve stenosis
  216. MRI: Is gadolinium safe for people with kidney problems?
  217. Myelodysplastic syndromes
  218. Myelofibrosis
  219. Myelofibrosis
  220. Myocardial ischemia
  221. Myocarditis
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  224. Nocturnal panic attacks: What causes them?
  225. NSAIDs: Do they increase my risk of heart attack and stroke?
  226. Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health
  227. Sleep apnea, obstructive
  228. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
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  230. Omega-6 fatty acids
  231. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
  232. Ozone air purifiers
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  237. Photodynamic therapy: An effective treatment for lung cancer?
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  239. Pleurisy
  240. Pneumonia
  241. Pneumonitis
  242. Pneumothorax
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  253. Pulmonary edema
  254. Pulmonary embolism
  255. Pulmonary fibrosis
  256. Pulmonary hypertension
  257. Pulmonary valve stenosis
  258. Put fish on the menu
  259. Coronavirus infection by race
  260. Reactive airway disease: Is it asthma?
  261. Red wine, antioxidants and resveratrol
  262. Renal diet for vegetarians
  263. Researchers Develop New Stents for Complex Aortic Aneurysms
  264. Rheumatic fever
  265. Robotic heart surgery treats mitral regurgitation: Ed's story
  266. Robotic or minimally invasive cardiac surgery for adult-adolescent congenital heart disease
  267. Safe outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic
  268. Safety tips for returning to school during COVID-19
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  271. Sex and COVID-19
  272. Should I make changes to my diet if I've been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation?
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  274. Silent heart attack
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  277. CPAP masks
  278. Small vessel disease
  279. Somatic symptom disorder
  280. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD)
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