Few sensations are as frightening as not being able to get enough air. Shortness of breath — known medically as dyspnea — is often described as an intense tightening in the chest, air hunger or a feeling of suffocation.
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. Shortness of breath that comes on suddenly (called acute) has a limited number of causes, including: asthma, heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, sudden blood loss, carbon monoxide poisoning or low blood pressure.
In the case of shortness of breath that has lasted for weeks or longer (called chronic), the condition is most often due to: asthma, COPD, heart dysfunction, obesity, deconditioning or interstitial lung disease. If you have unexplained shortness of breath, especially if it comes on suddenly and is severe, see your doctor as soon as possible. Check out the possible reasons!