Dyspnea is a common medical condition that nearly everyone has experienced at some point in their life. Simply put, dyspnea is the feeling that one cannot breathe or is having difficulty breathing. It is a normal symptom when one exerts oneself too significantly; it only become a medical concern if it occurs in an unexpected situation or with only light exertion.
Many cases of dyspnea that demonstrate long-term symptoms are connected to other medical conditions, including asthma, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, panic attacks, or anxiety. However, whenever the body requires more oxygen than it is currently taking in, symptoms of dyspnea can occur. For example, traveling to locations of high elevation where the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere is lower can result in one feeling short of breath. Other causes of sudden cases of dyspnea can include a sudden loss of blood, low blood pressure, or carbon monoxide poisoning.
After a thorough medical examination is conducted, physicians can determine the cause of the symptoms and the appropriate treatment. When other symptoms occur alongside the shortness of breath, however, there can be great concern; these include chest pain, palpitations, decreased consciousness, or weight loss. These symptoms, coupled with dyspnea, are generally indicative of a more serious condition that requires extensive testing before a concrete diagnosis and treatment plan can be created.