Shortness of Breath

Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath is much more of a symptom than a disease. Most cases of shortness of breath are due to heart or lung conditions. Your heart and lungs are involved in transporting oxygen to your tissues and removing carbon dioxide, and problems with either of these processes affect your breathing. A number of other health conditions, certain environmental factors — even being overweight — also can make it hard to get enough air. Below you will find a list of possible complications that cause shortness of breath. This by no means is a comprehensive list. Please consult your physician for a possible diagnosis and treatment.

Lung problems

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • COPD (often caused by smoking)
  • Croup (especially in young children)
  • Emphysema
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Hyperventilation
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Pleural effusion
  • Pleurisy
  • Pneumonia
  • Pneumothorax
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Tuberculosis

Heart problems

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Pericarditis

Other problems

  • Acute kidney failure
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Anemia
  • Broken ribs
  • Epiglottitis
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Lack of exercise (deconditioning) or unusually strenuous exercise
  • Obesity
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Panic attacks and panic disorder
  • Pregnancy
  • Tonsillitis