Skip to main content

Shortness of Breath

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What is shortness of breath?

Shortness of breath is a feeling that you cannot get enough air when you breathe in. You may have this feeling only during activity, or all the time. Your symptoms can range from mild to severe. Shortness of breath may be a sign of a serious health condition that needs immediate care.

What causes or increases my risk for shortness of breath?

How is the cause of shortness of breath diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will listen to your breathing and check for signs of a serious health condition. Signs include blue lips or fingernails or chest pain that happens with shortness of breath. Tell your provider if shortness of breath keeps you from walking or talking easily. Your provider will also check your memory and alertness. Tell your provider when your shortness of breath started and how severe it is. Describe anything that starts your symptoms, such as physical activity. Also tell your provider anything you do to make breathing easier. You may also need any of the following:

How is shortness of breath treated?

What can I do to manage shortness of breath?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

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.

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

Learn more about Shortness of Breath

Treatment options

Further information

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