What causes shortness of breath

Shortness of breath is a common condition amongst many people. This condition is usually referred to as dyspnoea in the medical world. Accident and emergency departments usually prioritise patients who appear to suffer shortness of breath for the simple reason that it can be a matter of life or death.

Shortness of breath can be an extremely serious condition and it is recommended that you seek urgent medical attention if you develop a shortness of breath all of a sudden. You should also seek medical assistance should you start wheezing, experience shortness of breath after a period of exercising or physical activity or even while at rest. If you have high temperature, notice swelling in your ankles while lying down or develop a sudden cough always consults your Doctor. Below are some conditions that can cause shortness of breath.

Respiratory conditions

Any obstruction in the airways of the nose, mouth or throat can cause shortness of breath. Breathing can be a problem if you have conditions such as anaemia, asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, lung cancer, pneumonia and pleurisy.

Heart conditions

If you suffer from any heart condition such as coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack or any other heart related condition then shortness of breath will be one of the symptoms you suffer with. This can be critical if these symptoms are accompanied by severe chest pains, fainting, nausea and vomiting. Should any of these symptoms occur with shortness of breath always get urgent medical assistance.


Certain allergic reactions can cause shortness of breath. Some of these reactions include allergies to dust, certain foods, insect bites and stings. If you are stung by a bee or wasp and immediately begin to suffer shortness of breath then this could be critical and you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.


As well as fatigue, shortness of breath is also a symptom for people who are obese. This is because the body has to work much harder than normal for it to function properly.


There are many factors that can cause shortness of breath. As well as the aforementioned environmental factors such as pollution, pollen and humidity are also contributors to shortness of breath. If something in the environment causes you to have an allergic reaction then in some cases medication is available to help with the symptoms. Shortness of breath should be taken seriously especially if you are an athlete or are involved in fitness training systems. Always consult your doctor if you feel you are wheezing or suffering shortness of breath on a frequent basis.