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Are you worried about your Shortness of Breath?

What causes Shortness of Breath?

If you experience unexplained shortness of breath that has persisted or worsened over several weeks you may be experiencing symptoms of a chronic condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart dysfunction or a lung disease such as asthma, pneumonia, or pleural effusion, otherwise known as fluid around your lungs. It is important to note that if you have experienced shortness of breath that occurs suddenly and feels very acute it could be a more serious condition that requires immediate medical assistance, particularly if it is accompanied by chest pain or a numbness in your left arm.

What can you do at home?

If you have previously been diagnosed with a condition that causes chronic shortness of breath, the steps listed below will help you to prevent the symptoms from worsening.


  • Avoid smoking this will aggravate your condition
  • Try to avoid spending extended periods in environments which may expose you to environmental pollutants to chemicals that may irritate your lungs
  • If possible, activity, particularly strenuous, within very hot or cold weather conditions
  • Remember that climbing to higher altitudes or air travel could exacerbate your condition
  • Try to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy and balanced diet to boost your general health and wellbeing
  • Remember to take medication you have been prescribed
Shortness of breath (1)
You should also seek further medical attention if you experience any of the following:

Shortness of breath can be very scary and sometimes feels overwhelming, but it does not automatically mean that you are suffering a life-threatening attack. However, in some cases you may need to act very quickly to ensure you receive the medical care that you need, so if you experience any of the symptoms listed below you should seek immediate medical attention.


  • Swelling of the ankles or feet
  • Difficulty breathing when you lie down
  • You have additional symptoms like a high fever, chills, or a persistent, chesty cough
  • You are wheezing
  • The shortness of breath occurred suddenly and feels acute or is accompanied by a tightness in the chest and pain or numbness in your left arm
Are you worried about your Shortness of Breath?

Here at VIDA we have expert clinicians on hand to help diagnose and treat your condition. To find out more about these services, we recommend visiting the following pages:

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Or Call Us On

0333 300 2979

Possible Causes and Related Conditions
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Asthma
  • Broken ribs
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Cardiomyopathy (problem with the heart muscle)
  • Choking
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  • Croup (especially in young children)
  • Deconditioning
  • Epiglottitis
  • Foreign object inhaled
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Heart arrhythmia (heart rhythm problems)
  • Heart attack
  • Heart dysfunction
  • Heart failure
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Kyphoscoliosis (a chest wall deformity)
  • Lung cancer
  • Myasthenia gravis (a condition causing muscle weakness)
  • Obesity
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue around the heart)
  • Pleural effusion (accumulation of fluid around the lungs)
  • Pleurisy (inflammation of the membrane surrounding the lungs)
  • Pneumonia (and other pulmonary infections)
  • Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
  • Pulmonary edema (excess fluid in the lungs)
  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in an artery in the lung)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (scarred and damaged lungs)
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Sarcoidosis (collections of inflammatory cells in the body)
  • Sudden blood loss
  • Tuberculosis
  • Upper airway obstruction (blockage in the breathing passage)