A to Z: Dyspnea
May also be called: Shortness of Breath; Breathing Difficulty; Breathlessness
Dyspnea (disp-NEE-uh) is difficult or labored breathing.
More to Know
Many things can trigger an episode of dyspnea, including respiratory tract infections, asthma, exercise, stress, allergic reactions, higher altitudes, obesity, and certain medications.
A small amount of breathing difficulty can be expected from time to time and usually is not a cause for concern.
Keep in Mind
Dyspnea is a common condition and most episodes of breathing difficulty are brief. If breathing difficulty is severe, persists, or flares up regularly, it could be a sign of a more serious medical condition and should be checked out by a doctor.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.