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.
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