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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is dyspnea?

Dyspnea is breathing difficulty or discomfort. You may have labored, painful, or shallow breathing. You may feel breathless or short of breath. Dyspnea can occur during rest or with activity. You may have dyspnea for a short time, or it might become chronic. Dyspnea is often a symptom of a disease or condition.

What signs and symptoms can occur with dyspnea?

What increases my risk for dyspnea?

How is the cause of dyspnea diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider may ask when your dyspnea began and what you were doing. Tell him or her how often you have dyspnea and what makes it worse or better. Tell your healthcare provider about medicines you take. Describe any other symptoms, such as pain or a fever. Your healthcare provider will listen to you breathe and watch for irregular breathing. You may also need the following:

How is dyspnea treated?

You may need treatment if your symptoms prevent you from doing your daily activities. The condition causing your dyspnea may need to be treated. You may also need the following to improve your symptoms:

How can I manage long-term dyspnea?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor or specialist?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.