Sudden shortness of breath, or breathing difficulty dyspnoea , is the most common reason for visiting a hospital accident and emergency department. It's normal to get out of breath when you've overexerted yourself, but when breathlessness comes on suddenly and unexpectedly, it's usually a warning sign of a medical condition. This guide shouldn't be used to self-diagnose your condition, but should give you an idea of what's causing your breathlessness. You should call your GP immediately if you have sudden unexpected shortness of breath, as there may be a problem with your airways or heart. Your GP will assess you over the phone, and may either visit you at home or admit you to hospital. If your shortness of breath is mild or the result of anxiety, you may be asked to come to the surgery rather than a home visit.
There’s definitely hope for some breathing troubles
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Shortness of breath, or dyspnea , is an uncomfortable condition that makes it difficult to fully get air into your lungs. Problems with your heart and lungs can harm your breathing. Some people may experience shortness of breath suddenly for short periods of time. Others may experience it over the long term — several weeks or more. In light of the COVID pandemic , shortness of breath has become widely associated with this illness. However, seek emergency medical attention if you experience:. This is a simple way to control shortness of breath.
Difficulty breathing dyspnea is a common complaint, affecting about 1 in 10 adults 1. Like abdominal pain, dizziness, or fatigue, 2 minor breathing difficulties can have many possible causes. Obviously you should discuss stubborn breathing troubles with a doctor — especially if you have other worrisome symptoms, like pain or trouble staying upright. For everyone else, there are three causes of shortness of breath that are common, minor, and often partially treatable:. These three issues may all get tangled up, each one complicating the others, but progress with one is also likely to help the others.
The sensation of feeling unable to take a deep breath is also known as dyspnea, or shortness of breath. This feeling can be very frightening and cause anxiety, especially if it is a new symptom. First off, it is important to understand that dyspnea is a symptom of an underlying condition and not a medical disorder itself. Acute dyspnea is shortness of breath that occurs very suddenly and usually indicates an urgent situation requiring quick medical care. Chronic dyspnea is shortness of breath or difficulty breathing that lasts for several weeks or longer. In most cases, dyspnea results from one of many conditions affecting either the heart or the lungs. Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing have been linked with many different conditions, including:. Some of these conditions can be serious and require emergency care. It is important to work with a doctor or healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and treatment regimen. The most common symptom of dyspnea is shortness of breath, or the sensation that it is difficult to breathe or catch a breath.