Shortness of breath, also called dyspnea, occurs when the body cannot get enough oxygen. Either the lungs cannot take in enough air, or they cannot deliver enough oxygen to the blood stream. Shortness of breath has many causes, including illness, anxiety or pollution (including tobacco smoke).
Severe shortness of breath can be frightening for both the person experiencing it and anyone watching. Knowing what to expect may make it less disturbing.
Ask for help if:
Sometimes the doctor will recommend oxygen therapy to help ease shortness of breath.
Oxygen can be given in two ways:
A mask or cannula needs attention to be as comfortable as possible.
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.