Shortness of Breath

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Reviewed By:

Phillip Aguila

Phillip Aguila, MD, MBA (Respiratory medicine, Critical Care)

Eisaku Kamakura

Eisaku Kamakura, MD (Respiratory medicine)

From our team of 50+ doctors

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People with these symptoms also use Ubie's symptom checker to find possible causes

  • Have difficulty breathing

  • Breathing abnormally with skin getting "sucked in" above the collarbone and between the ribs

  • Breathing is difficult when lying down, breathing is easy when raising the upper body

  • Allergic reaction after eating/touching something I have a known allergy to

  • Having difficulty breathing, using shoulders and muscles to breathe

  • Breathlessness happens or gets worse when the air is cold

  • Air feels trapped in my lungs and I can't breathe it out

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Content updated on Sep 6, 2022

About the symptom

Also known as shortness of breath or dyspnea is often described as struggling to breathe, unable to take a deep breath, or, the feeling of suffocation.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Feel breathless

Possible causes

  • Diabetes mellitus (DM)

    A disease where blood sugar levels are abnormally high, due to problems with insulin production or resistance. There are often no symptoms until the condition has worsened, hence regular screening is important.

  • Cough variant asthma

    A type of asthma where the main symptom is a persistent dry cough. This is due to the airways being highly sensitive and overreacting to foreign substances. The underlying cause is unclear but involves genetics. There are many triggers for asthma flares, including smoke, pollen, dust mite droppings, cold weather, exercise and viral infections.

  • Benign arrhythmias such as extrasystoles

    Arrhythmias are problems with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat, where it might beat too slowly, too fast or with an irregular pattern. Benign arrhythmias are heartbeat irregularities which do not cause any symptoms. Causes include certain medications, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, inhaled aerosols, diet pills, stress, etc.

  • Anemia

Related serious diseases

Questions your doctor may ask about this symptom

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom

  • Are you breathless or having hard time breathing?

  • Do you have breathing difficulty when lying down which improves when you sit up?

  • Have you had contacted with anything that may cause or is known to cause allergic reactions?

  • Do you feel your heart is pounding?

  • Is your breathing noisy; e.g. wheezing, rattling?

Other Related Symptoms

Symptoms from the same body system / part

Symptoms treated by the same specialty

Reviewed By:

Phillip Aguila

Phillip Aguila, MD, MBA (Respiratory medicine, Critical Care)

Eisaku Kamakura

Eisaku Kamakura, MD (Respiratory medicine)

From our team of 50+ doctors

Just 3 minutes.
Developed by doctors.

Ubie is supervised by 50+ medical experts worldwide

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Shohei Harase, MD

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Sanshiro Kato

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Yoshinori Abe, MD

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Co-founder of Ubie, Inc.

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Obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN)

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