Reviewed by Andrew M. Freeman, MD, FACC, FACP

Dyspnea, or shortness of breath, may indicate that your body is hungry for air. It tells you that something is not working right. There are many possible causes for dyspnea, including:

  • Obstruction of the air passages of the nose, mouth, throat from allergies, congestion, foreign objects, etc.
  • Strenuous exercise (especially when you don't exercise regularly)
  • Obesity
  • Acute pneumonia
  • Severe bronchospasm or asthma
  • Heart disease, coronary disease, and other heart conditions such as valvular disease
  • Chronic lung diseases
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Chest injuries
  • Emotional distress, anxiety
  • High altitude exposure
  • Extreme weather conditions (such as cold)

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