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.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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