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.
© 1995-2023 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and